Spotlight on Emma Meltzer: It feels like I’ve been dancing for four year straight and I never want to stop

We are thrilled to introduce you to yet another remarkable Playing Hot cast member, Emma Meltzer. Like much of the cast, Emma has been developing the show with us since the beginning, way back in 2015. Read more from Emma below and catch her in Playing Hot (April 18 – May 12). Grab your tickets today while you still can!

Pipeline Theatre Company: Why are you working on this project? What is most exciting to you about being part of Playing Hot? 

Emma Meltzer: Playing Hot asks a lot of questions I’m really interested in. Questions about success, about fame, about genius. About the experience of being ahead of your time. It asks about authenticity and what that word even means. It asks about love and ambition and how these can fuel us to do great things. And at its heart it asks how it’s possible for this great artist to be forgotten? What are the mechanisms we’re all wrapped inside that made that possible? And then, as theatrical piece- how do you tell a story if it’s been forgotten? 

PTC: When did you first start working on Playing Hot? Tell us about what this journey has been like for you. 

EM: I have been a part of Playing Hot from the very first workshop, which is pretty darn cool. I love working on new plays and this one has been a particular joy. Getting to learn about Buddy Bolden, about jazz, about New Orleans through working on this piece has been an extraordinary experience, and then putting together this piece to share it all, it feels like I’ve been dancing for four year straight and I never want to stop. 

PTC: Tell us about your characters in Playing Hot and where/if you see yourself in them. 

EM: I play a whole lot of characters in Playing Hot, one of whom is Ranger Karen. Ranger Karen is a very real ranger at the very real Jazz National Historical Park that exists and is dedicated to the preservation of jazz history in New Orleans. My character is inspired by her, by her love of New Orleans, her dedication to its history and to sharing it with those who visit the park. That love really resonates with me, at the heart of which I think is a belief in people. A belief in change. A belief that the world gets better when we look outside of ourselves and learn together. I definitely see myself in those beliefs. 

You can hear Emma’s voice in a new animated series for Cartuna called “Yard Sale” and she’ll soon be going on tour with Boomwaggle, a wild musical storytelling piece with Joseph White. You can follow her adventures at @emmameltzer on Instagram. And don’t forget to catch Emma in Playing Hot, April 18 – May 12. Grab your tickets now!

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Spotlight on Eric R. Williams: A harrowing story about one of America’s most enigmatic musicians

We’re keeping it rolling, introducing all of the brilliant artists who are building Playing Hot, our jazz concert-party-play hybrid. Today we’re featuring Eric R. Williams, the newest member of the Playing Hot cast. Learn more about Eric below, and grab your tickets to Playing Hot now!

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want the folks reading this to know about Playing Hot? What’s the most important element of this project to you?

Eric R. Williams: This is not your typical night out at the theatre! It’s a literal experience. We’re telling a harrowing story about one of America’s most enigmatic musicians of all time in a way that will stimulate and invigorate the senses in ways we don’t usually expect from the theatre.

PTC: When did you first start working on Playing Hot? Tell us about what this journey has been like for you.

ERW: This is my first tango with Playing Hot. My journey has encompassed all of five days right now and I am loving it! Its been insanely educational, eye-opening and has already stretched me as an actor. I can’t wait to further develop this story and bring it to NYC as the Spring begins to roll on in.

PTC: What is your relationship to Buddy Bolden’s story?

ERW: Right before I left Atlanta to go to college, there was buzz around town about a biopic being made about Buddy Bolden. Dancers were being sought to audition and participate in the film, to appear as patrons in various club scenes and dance sequences. The movie Idlewild was fresh in the minds of many and this new Buddy Bolden movie was slated to be in the same vein. That was the first time I heard about the legendary Buddy Bolden and I was so excited to see what was going to come of the project. Spoiler alert: It never got off the ground. For me to have the opportunity to be apart of telling his story these many years later feels full circle in a way that I can fully appreciate now.

PTC: Talk to us about jazz. What’s your relationship to the music?

ERW: My parents surrounded my little brother and I with jazz – car rides, around the house, birthday parties, you name it. I didn’t grow to appreciate it until I was a teen, but growing up with those sounds in my periphery informed my musical sensibilities in ways I wouldn’t discover until I began training for my BFA. As a singer, I was always partial to the vocal styles of the music, so hearing artists like Dianne Reeves, or those who were influenced by Jazz, like Anita Baker, Dionne Warrick or Luther Vandross only supplemented my musical tastes. Jazz, as a whole, has proven to be like acquiring a taste for wine & I am a sucker for a nice glass of wine.

You can catch Eric in the short film “Introvert’s Guide to Activism” which is currently making it’s festival run. You also might spot him in Mastercard’s Priceless Surprises commercial, opposite Camila Cabello. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @AllFreshAiric and see him in Playing Hot this April 18 – May 12! Grab you tickets here.

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Spotlight on Roi King: Thanx to my Dad, Mother, her brothers, Billie Holiday, and Tower Records

Throughout March and April we’re introducing you to all the remarkable artists who are working together to bring Playing Hot roaring into reality. Today we’re featuring Roi King, an entertainer in the truest sense of the word who has been developing Playing Hot with us since 2015. Read more about Roi below and grab your tickets to Playing Hot today!

Pipeline Theatre Company: Why are you working on this project? What drew you to Playing Hot?

Roi King: Other than the obvious reasons of it being a brilliant, beautifully written story that needs to told for jazz? History. It’s one of the most “woke” pieces of work I have had the pleasure and blessing to be a part of. 

PTC: Talk to use about jazz. What’s your relationship to the music?

RK: I was raised listening, learning about, and loving Jazz. Thanx to my Dad, Mother, her brothers, Billie Holiday, and Tower Records. It always been constant staple in my life. 

PTC: What’s the most important element of this project to you?

RK: Through Playing Hot, people will learn and come to understand the origins of Jazz. This is another part of black America’s history that needs to be told so we know who we are as a people here in these Americas. 

PTC: When did you first start working on Playing Hot?

RK: I think I started in a workshop reading in 2015. Boy!! Has it been a wonderful journey of growth for the work and myself as an actor. The many incarnations and characters I play, I believe I played or read almost every character.  It has been an amazing opportunity to experience as an actor. Thanks to Kevin and Jaki!

PTC: Tell us about your characters in Playing Hot and where you see yourself in them.

RK: OK! So there was:
WESTMORE: a fun loving, hard working family man. My likeness – the love for family and the need to leave something for the son he loves, like my Dad wanted for me. 
DOOKY: sidekick co-signer in da Barba shop. My likeness – I’m the co-signer for most of my friends. “Right Roi?”  Me: yup!
ROBICHAUX: a fly-Ass “success” that’s too kool for school. My likeness – I’m already fly I’m working on “success.”

Roi is currently in the writing stages of a one-man show based on his experience being a teenage Black Single father in NYC. He’s also working on a poetry-short film. To follow his progress on these projects you can visit his website, www.roiking.net and follow him on both Instagram and Twitter at @roiking. And don’t forget to catch him in Playing Hot, grab your tickets here!

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Spotlight on Cristina Pitter: Our body is rocked with the resilience and brilliance of black people and black music

With just over two weeks to go before our first performance of Playing Hot, we’re pleased to continue introducing you to all the incredible artists who are bringing you to life. Today we’re profiling Cristina Pitter, interdisciplinary artist and storyteller, Pipeline ensemble member, and Playing Hot cast member. Learn more about Cristina below and grab your tickets to Playing Hot today!

Pipeline Theatre Company: Why are you working on this project?

Cristina Pitter: Playing Hot is wild and ridiculous experience that I have been in love with since it’s first workshop in 2016, so naturally I had to make sure I was in the full production. To be in a space with a team that has so much joy, love, and boundless imagination is a beautiful gift.

PTC: Tell us about what this journey has been like for you.

CP: Playing Hot is a show that I will never be tired of doing. Until my knees give out of course. It has been a beautiful journey of hilarious antics, growing friendships, and an astounding drive to make the impossible happen. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with Playing Hot since its first showing and want all the glorious life for it’s future.

PTC: What is most exciting to you about being part of Playing Hot?

CP: I’m thrilled at the opportunity to bring to life such a unique piece of theatre that is both thrilling and heartbreaking, while honoring the spirit of New Orleans and jazz.

PTC: What do you want the folks reading this to know about Playing Hot?

CP: What strikes me most about Playing Hot is the passionate standard of authenticity that is upheld in every aspect of this production. Messy truths of history and modern day are reckoned with while our body is rocked with the resilience and brilliance of black people and black music.

PTC: Talk to us about jazz. What’s your relationship to the music?

CP: Growing up, I was blessed to always have all kinds of music around me so jazz was as much of a mainstay as salsa, house, hip hop, rock, and classical music. Jazz has always moved me on a soul level, but not that Kenny G shit. I’m talking Ella, Miles, Duke, Billie, Sarah Vaugh. And to see the influence of jazz in so many other musical genres is incredible.

Following a residency with Mabou Mines SUITE/Space, Cristina Pitter is currently working with The Ashè Collective on her solo show “decolonizing my vagina.” You can follow her on Instagram at @lavidbrujeria and on Twitter at @lavidagypsy. And you can catch her in Playing Hot, April 18 – May 12. Grad you tickets today!

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Spotlight on Dante Jeanfelix: All of your favorite things about live performance in a single night

Playing Hot will perform April 18 through May 12 at Theater 511. In advance of the start of performances, we’re introducing you to all the remarkable artists involved. Today, we’re pleased to feature cast member Danté Jeanfelix, who has been with the project since we first started developing it in 2015. Hear from Danté below and grab your tickets today!

Pipeline Theatre Company: Why are you working on this project? What is most exciting to you about being part of Playing Hot?

Danté Jeanfelix: From the first time I read this script, I knew there was something magical and truly special about this show, that I just had to be a part of. It tells an important story about one of the most important contributions to American culture and examines how time has treated it. I am honored to be helping to tell this story.  What I am most excited about, in doing this show, is the way in which we are telling this story. This play works like a great piece of jazz, it will excite you every moment with its twists and turns, but it will also hit you in ways you may not expect.

PTC: When did you first start working on Playing Hot? Tell us about what this journey has been like for you.

DJ: Playing Hot has meant so much to me over the years. I have been working on this play, since the beginning, so over three years.  I am thrilled to finally bring this show to a whole new level. It is the most fun I’ve ever had doing a show and this team has truly been like a family to me, so to do this show is a dream! 

PTC: Tell us about you characters in Playing Hot and where/if you see yourself in them.

DJ: I play multiple characters in the show, which has been an absolute blast. There is nothing like playing a full scene as one character and then completely transforming, two minutes later, into a totally different character. It may sound crazy, but it actually gives you so much freedom as an actor, because you can’t think about your character, you just have to dive head-first into every character you portray.  One of my favorite characters, would have to be Manuel Hall, the man who introduced Buddy to the cornet.  Manuel is a neighbor of Buddy’s and a cook, who has such passion for what he does. He is someone that could have only come out of New Orleans, in his manner and approach to life. It is that enjoyment of life, as well as passion for what you do, that I aspire to achieve.

PTC: What do you want folks reading this to know about Playing Hot? What’s the most important element of this project to you?

DJ: This is not going to be your typical night of theatre. We are bringing all of your favorite things about live performance and putting them into a single night. You are never going to know where the story is going to go or how we are going to tell it, so prepare for everything and anything. The most important element of this whole experience is that we are bringing you, the audience, along for the ride. We are inviting you to join us for a night in our little slice of the Big Easy, so be ready to party!

PTC: If you were to write a tagline for Playing Hot, what would it be?

DJ: In our little slice of New Orleans, we play it fast, we play it loose and we play it HOT!

In addition to Playing Hot, Danté is currently writing and developing a new play based on the early life of Sammy Davis Jr. You can follow him on instagram at @dantejeanfelix. And don’t forget to catch him in Playing Hot, April 18 – May 12. Grab your tickets here!

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Spotlight on Fernando: Come ready to dance!

As we inch ever closer to the first performance of Playing Hot, we’re thrilled to introduce you to all the remarkable artists who are working together to bring Buddy’s story to life. Today we’re pleased to feature Fernando Contreras, actor, dancer, singer, life enthusiast, Pipeline founding ensemble member, and Playing Hot cast member. Read more from Fernando below, and grab you tickets to Playing Hot today!

Pipeline Theatre Company: Why are you working on this project? 

Fernando Contreras: As a founding member of Pipeline, I believe this is one of the most important pieces we’ve done. It’s super diverse and non-traditional, and as we grow as a company, we’ve seen the importance of diverse stories and casts. It’s beautiful. 

PTC: When did you first start working on Playing Hot?

FC: I began with the first iteration as part of a one night experience Pipeline produced as a mystery show. People didn’t know what was coming and it was so exciting.

PTC: Tell us about what this journey has been like for you.

FC: It has been amazing and heart wrenching being able to work on this through the last 3 years exploring how this story has changed with the times and with different political climates than when we started.

PTC: Tell us about your characters in Playing Hot and where/if you see yourself in them.

FC: I play several characters and they are all bits of me but very extreme versions of those bits. I get to do 5/6 different accents/voice types, sometimes within 5 minutes of each other. An actor’s dream! 

PTC: What do you want the folks reading this to know about Playing Hot?

FC: Come ready to dance!

PTC: What’s the most important element of this project to you?

FC: The cultural commentary and how the story of Buddy Bolden is a recurring story throughout history, it is cyclical in nature, we see it every coupla’ years.

PTC: If you there were to be an “untold true story” about your own life, what would be the subject?

FC: It’d be about how I truly never stop dancing. What would it be called? Fernando: Dancing at a Street Light.

In addition to Playing Hot, you can also catch Fernando in SHIZ: Broadway Meet Sketch Comedy, which happens monthly at UCB Hell’s Kitchen (Next ones : 3/25, 4/15 @ 10:30pm). You can also follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @omgitzfern. And don’t forget to snag that Playing Hot tickets early! Prices will go up on April 1 and again on April 18! Why pay more when you don’t have to?

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Spotlight on Jaki Bradley: Never play it the same way twice

All March and April we’ll be introducing you to the remarkable artists who will be bringing our singular and explosive theatrical event, Playing Hot, to Midtown starting April 18. Today we are pleased to introduce you to Jaki Bradley, co-creator and director, who has been part of the creation of this show from day one. Learn all about Jaki below, and if you’re hungry for even more keep reading with our interviews with co-creator and co-writer Kevin Armento, co-writer C.A. Johnson, and music supervisor Marcus Miller.

Pipeline Theatre Company: Why are you working on this project? What is most exciting to you about being part of Playing Hot?

Jaki Bradley: This show contains everything I’m interested in as an artist – a formally inventive piece, an important untold story, a different way of looking at theater and its audience – but at this point, the show is mostly about the people who have brought it to life. The company is like family, and I’m mostly honored to be bringing the show to life alongside them.

PTC: What do you want the folks reading this to know about Playing Hot? What’s the most important element of this project to you?

JB: When we starting developing Playing Hot, we wanted to honor Buddy Bolden’s story and legacy, and to create a play written in the style of the art form he invented, jazz. The show riffs on the narrative the same way Buddy riffed with notes on the page, which allows us to interrogate aspects of the story as we’re telling it. AND it’s a party!

PTC: If you were to write a tagline for Playing Hot, what would it be?

JB: There’s a note at the beginning of the script that says “Never play it the same way twice,” and that really sums it up for me.

PTC: Talk to us about the very beginning of you work on this? How did it start?

JB: In a way, I started working on this show 15 years ago when I read Michael Oondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter, a novel loosely based on the story of Buddy Bolden. The story of this man who invented jazz but left no recordings and only one photograph behind captivated and haunted me, and I wanted to find a way to share that story theatrically. But officially, we wrote Pipeline an email with a crazy idea for a brass band-concert-party play in 2015, and have been hard at work on the show since then.

PTC: What drew you to this story in particular? What makes this urgent for you?

JB: I want more people to know about Buddy Bolden because his contribution is in every song we listen to today, and through a combination of bad timing (he played about 15 years before radios were in every household) and white supremacy, most people don’t know his name. I also think Buddy’s story allows us to ask broader questions about the cost of genius and the cycles of appropriation in art and popular culture.

Jaki and Playing Hot co-creator and co-writer Kevin Armento just finished writing a feature film, a horror movie titled Detox. She’s also got a slate of plays and short films on the horizon, you can keep up with all of it on her website, www.jakibradley.com. Follow her on Instagram at @jakibradley. And don’t forget to grab those Playing Hot tickets today!

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Spotlight on Marcus Miller: Paying respects to an ancestor of the music that has given me so much in life

Playing Hot is all about jazz: it’s creation, it’s enduring legacy, and the way it’s woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. So today, we’re honored to introduce you to Marcus Miller, the Music Supervisor on Playing Hot, who has been a lead voice weaving music into our show for the past three years of development. Learn more about Marcus below, and catch him on stage in Playing Hot, April 18 – May 12. Grab your tickets now!

Pipeline Theatre Company: Why are you working on this project? What is most exciting to you about being part of Playing Hot?

Marcus Miller: This is my first play and I’m excited to expand my musical horizons doing something a little different than my usual musical life. I have been involved in the project for 3 previous iterations and I really love the team.

PTC: What do you want the folks reading this to know about Playing Hot? What’s the most important element of this project to you?

MM: Jazz music is a deeply Black American creation. The social realities under which it developed, the distinctive rhythmic approach, the view taken of it by the elite all speak deeply to the black American experience. We don’t have much history about our subject, Buddy Bolden, but we can see him through the lens of the times and through some of the fundamental constructs of American culture, some of which  continue to be true today.

PTC: Talk to us about jazz. What’s your relationship to the music?

MM: I have been playing the saxophone all of my adult life. Honored to participate in paying respects an ancestor of the music that has given me so much in life.

PTC: What instrument do you play? When did you first start and what initially drew you to jazz?

MM: I started playing saxophone at 9 years old and got into jazz because my father had a vast jazz record collection. He bought a fake book full of jazz standards and I loved playing the melodies and hearing recording of great musicians playing the songs.

Catch Marcus at his event, Math Plus Music, on April 12 and in Playing Hot April 18 – May 12. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @marcustheartyst.

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Spotlight on Kevin Armento: A biopic that is spectral in both meanings of the word

Throughout all March and April we’re getting up close and personal with all the incredible artists who are currently building our jazz concert-party-play hybrid, Playing Hot. Today, we’re bringing you an interview with Playing Hot co-creator and co-writer, Kevin Armento. To learn more about the writing of Playing Hot, check out our interview with Kevin’s writing partner on the show, C.A. Johnson, which was posted last week. And don’t forget to snatch up those tickets for performances April 18 – May 12.

Pipeline Theatre Company: What is most exciting to you about being part of Playing Hot?

Kevin Armento: The most exciting part is feeling like we’ve created a family together, and that our family is really just putting on a New Orleans party for folks. It’s exciting because that’s exactly what we set out to do: bring a sweaty swinging vibe to Midtown, so everyone can ease their troubles for a night and engage with a compelling story.

PTC: What do you want the folks reading this to know about Playing Hot? What’s the most important element of this project to you?

KA: The show has like 45 characters and a six person brass band, and it took an even bigger army of artists and practitioners over the past four years to bring that shit to life. Three of our collaborators are from New Orleans, our Music Supervisor and band are all jazz musicians by trade, and we hope this lends an authenticity to both the sound and storytelling.

PTC: Talk to us about jazz. What’s your relationship to the music?

KA: I HATED jazz as a kid because I only knew it to be Kenny G. Then as a teenager I got into 60’s free jazz, which I liked but mostly pretended to understand because it seemed like smart music to listen to. Then I was exposed to New Orleans trad and it’s like my whole body woke up. It slows you down and speeds you up all at once, and you can think about it or numb your mind entirely, and enjoy it just the same. Part of the show is trying to create those dualities in a piece of theater.

PTC: Talk to us about the very beginning of you work on this? How did it start?

KA: It started when Jaki was like, “There should be a theater piece about New Orleans jazz.” And I was like, “Yeah.” We’re both obsessed with all things NOLA, and had been into the lore surrounding Buddy Bolden, so that felt like a good place to start. We did a bunch of research trips to the jazz archive at Tulane, and befriended Buddy’s biographer, who’s now a character in the show. And then we set out to find the collaborators who could make something like this possible…which led us to the magic makers at Pipeline.

PTC: What drew you to this story in particular? What makes this urgent for you?

KA: Half the urgency lies in my yearning for a night of theater in which we just laugh together and drink together and move together, and our cerebrums can take a fucking night off. I mean there’s plenty to chew on in this show, but any time we’ve tried to intellectualize it too much, joy wins out. Soul wins out, and the meditations on theme happen more by osmosis. That said, this is a show about the pioneer of jazz, America’s Art Form, who got zero credit or money for it and died alone in an asylum. So on a personal level, I feel an urgency to help correct that. And C.A. and I are trying to do that by telling his story in the very style he created, a biopic that is spectral in both meanings of the word, because history has left us so little of this man, and also because it’s more fun that way.

Check out Kevin’s short films at Boston Film Festival, Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Aspen this spring! He’s also currently working on commissions from Ars Nova and Manhattan Theatre Club. Follow him on Twitter at @kephen and on Instagram at @kevinarmento. And don’t forget to snag those SUPER EARLY BIRD tickets to Playing Hot, before they’re gone.

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Spotlight on Monique St. Cyr: It asks the audience to create this experience with us

We’re bringing you the world premiere of Playing Hot, an explosive theatrical event in the style of jazz, April 18 – May 12. In advance of that, we’ve sat down with all the artists involved to get a deeper look into the process of building this jazz concert-party-play hybrid. We’re kicking things off with profiles on the members of our team who were born and raised in Louisiana, and are lending their vital voice and expertise to Playing Hot.

Earlier this week we featured co-writer C.A. Johnson and musician/actor/producer Linton Smith II. Today, we’re getting you up close and personal with actor, Monique St. Cyr, who has been with the project since our workshop presentation back in 2016. Learn all about Monique in the interview below, and snag your tickets now at the highly limited Super Early Bird rate.

Pipeline Theatre Company: Why are you working on this project? What is most exciting to you about being part of Playing Hot?

Monique St. Cyr: I’m working on this project because of the music.  I love feeling the vibration of the music in my body, and this play gets at the way this music wants to be experienced – in the form of a party.

It’s bigger than any one person.  The show is a true ensemble piece, and it goes further and asks the audience to create this experience with us, because it doesn’t exist in isolation.  That’s pretty special.

PTC: What is your relationship to Buddy Bolden’s story?

MSC: I see this as a story about community, but also about the ways women take care of their families.  So much of Buddy’s story depends on other people, particularly the women he lived with – his mother, his sister, and, for a time, Nora. 

PTC: Talk to us about jazz. What’s your relationship to the music?

MSC: I grew up listening to jazz because my dad plays trumpet.  Some of my favorite teenaged memories are of listening to old jazz songs with my dad on the way to New Orleans and then listening to him play with a band, either in hotels or on the streets of the French Quarter.

A kind of roundabout way of trying to explain it: there’s this old picture of my grandfather that I love.  He’s in college on the G.I. Bill, and he wears a thin mustache, a fresh haircut, and a purple jacket.  He’s holding a cane tilted to the side, and he knows he looks good.  You can basically see the spring in his step.  This is a man that speaks so softly you could barely hear him across the dinner table.  To me, that picture is proof of what music can do.

PTC: If you were to write a tagline for Playing Hot, what would it be?

MSC: brass FUNKY.

PTC: When did you first start working on Playing Hot? Tell us about what this journey has been like for you.

MSC: I joined for the one-night-only production at Gym at Judson three years ago now.  It’s been really great to come back to it and see how different aspects of the show have marinated and become more fully realized.  And there are new collaborators!  Fresh eyes (and ears) are always welcome because I’ve been finding that that lets you fall in love with the project all over again.

PTC: Tell us about your character(s) in Playing Hot and where/if you see yourself in them.

MSC: I play Nora, who’s the love of Buddy’s life.  She’s got quite an independent streak to her.  She’s fiery. she’s not easily jealous, but you definitely can’t ignore her.

I think she believes she’s found her family in Buddy, but I think she struggles with what it means to not only support her partner but also to support his music.  I think people underestimate the amount of sacrifice required for something like art, especially if you are still working a day job.

PTC: Will you share a bit of your personal history with us? Where in Louisiana did you grow up and what brought you to New York?

MSC: So I recently found out (when I was doing research for this play) that I’m distantly related to a jazz guitarist named Johnny St. Cyr, who talks about seeing Buddy Bolden when he was young and who went on to play with Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bichet.  I thought that was pretty cool.

Anyway. 

I’m from Lafayette, which is a couple hours west of new Orleans, but I have a lot of memories of holidays in New Orleans, because everyone would gather at my grandparents’ house for gumbo and pound cake, and the Saints’ game would be on in the living room and music would be on in the front room.

I came to New York after college because I love theater and I wanted to see and do more of it.

PTC: What has it been like for you to bring New Orleans to New York through Playing Hot?

MSC: It’s been really satisfying that Playing Hot chases the feeling that people associate with New Orleans.  The show is a party.  It’s a feeling that comes from a culture with thick, sticky air and where time moves a little more slowly. 

PTC: What parts of New Orleans do you feel it’s most important to represent through this story?

MSC: There’s a certain amount of laissez-faire – that feeling of “do what you wanna,” which is literally a song and anthem for Mardi Gras. But it applies to the rest of the year too! 

Monique has developmental work coming up with the Santa Fe Opera, and also has several films at festivals including Ask for Jane (about abortion activists in the late sixties) and Nevermind Goodbye (a modern coming of age story). Keep up with Monique on Instagram at @moniquestcyr and on Facebook at /moniqueystcyr. And catch her in Playing Hot, April 18 – May 12. Grab your tickets here!

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