Over fifty ferociously imaginative emerging artists are working together to bring our world premiere of Folk Wandering roaring into reality. Throughout the run of the show (until March 25!), we’ll be sharing interviews with each of these artists. These conversations will bring you inside this show’s very unique process of creation, and bring you a bit closer to this brilliant and wild group of emerging artists. Today, we are pleased to bring you a spotlight on Nicole Weiss, who plays the dual roles of Norma and Sadie.
Read the full interview below and get your tickets to our final weekend of performances today!
Pipeline Theatre Company: What first attracted you to Folk Wandering? What made you want to work on this project?
Nicole Weiss: I started working on this project about 7 years ago, when it was being developed for a reading at Soho Rep. I had seen Neisler and Jaclyn’s work and been like HOW CAN I GET IN ON THAT. I had also worked with my dear friend and one of the composers, Mike Brun, before, and was anxious to do so again. I had been a lifelong fan of musical theatre, but always felt a little bit on the outside of it, like I was too weird or specific to participate in the majority of mainstream musical theatre, but I knew that something with folk music written by sing-songwriters like myself would be something I could feel at home in. Similar to the characters, I felt that I was searching for something outside of myself to make me feel at home, but I had all along the thing (the weirdness, the specificity) that was home – “All I need for my wandering soul are the things I’ve already found.” At the risk of sounding even more sentimental and cheesy, I feel that Folk Wandering is one of the great loves of my life, and she has been away for a while and I’ve been longing for her to return to me, and here she is, and my heart is bursting. I haven’t loved a project like this before and I’m not sure I will again <3
PTC: What aspect of the Folk Wandering story do you most relate to?
NW: I relate to the bigness of the dreams. These characters dream so big despite their circumstances, and I have always related to any story that captures that. As rude a comparison as this might be, all of the artists in New York City are big dreamers by nature, overcoming something or many things to survive here for the sake of their art, which is their great love – or mine at least. My grandparents survived the Holocaust and came here to give their children and grandchildren a better life, and here I am doing it, making art about survivors living the American Dream. It’s not perfect or romantic, but it’s possible. I think The American Dream is just that – to dream – and all of these characters are inhabiting that so fully.
PTC: Tell us about your character in Folk Wandering.
NW: I play Norma Pancakes and Sadie Fabrisio. I think Norma’s name says it all – Norma is the firey and, dare I say, SEXUAL “owner, proprietor, head waitress, and line cook” of Norma’s diner – THE diner in Sweetser, Indiana, 1955. She is famous for her Double Maple syrup that she invented – she essentially runs Sweetser. I imagine Norma to be a feminist pioneer of this small town – first woman owner of commercial property, first woman to become famous for her business. She is deeply invested in everyone and everything in Sweetser. Of the Fabricio daughters, Sadie is the eldest, and the one who Does Everything Right – she works at the factory, doesn’t complain, is ready to get married and start a family. Her big dream is to be a true American and have a big American-Italian family of her own. I love Sadie because she is unapologetic in her love for America and her family.
PTC: If you were to write a tagline for Folk Wandering, what would it be?
NW: REALLY GOOD FOLK MUSICAL. or SO MUCH CRYING. just kidding plz ignore these answers.
PTC: Two truths and a lie, go:
NW: I wore a tiara everyday to Kindergarten. Honestly that’s all I got.