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"Call Me Adam" chats with...




Rue McClanahan

Updated: Rue McClanahan passed away today, June 3, 2010 at the age of 76 after suffering a stroke. The interview below is from 2009 and a special Thank You to Michael J. La Rue who sat down with Rue to answer these questions and send them on to me. I am forever grateful!

Rue McClanahan is an icon. An OBIE and Emmy Award winning actress, not a decade has passed by without Rue being in the spotlight since making her stage debut in 1957 at the Erie Playhouse in "Inherit The Wind." She studied with theatre legend Uta Hagen and made her Broadway debut in 1969 in "Jimmy Shine" starring Dustin Hoffman and in 1970 won the OBIE Award for her role in "Who's Happy Now?" Rue joined the soap opera "Another World" from 1970-1971. It was her guest starring role in 1972 on  "All In The Family," created by Norman Lear, that lead Lear to cast Rue in "Maude" (alongside Bea Arthur), where she stayed until the show ended in 1978. In the 80s, Rue was on the hit show "Mamma's Family" starring Vicki Lawrence (and Betty White for a time) and then came "The Golden Girls" from 1985-1992, reuniting Rue with Bea Arthur and Betty White along with Estelle Getty. After the "The Golden Girls," Rue continued on as "Blanche Devereaux" in "The Golden Palace." The late '90s & new millennium has brought Rue back to the stage, starring in such hits as "The Vagina Monologues," Roundabout Theatre's revival of "The Women" and the Broadway production of "Wicked." She also released her autobiography, "My First Five Husbands and The Ones Who Got Away" and came back to  series TV in "Sordid Lives: The Series." You can catch Rue September 19 at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, TX as part of "A Sordid Comedy Affair" tour with creator Del Shores along with cast members Leslie Jordan, Jason Dottley, and Caroline Rhea. Like the characters Rue has played, she is strong, funny, and always making fans smile. So watch out, 'cause Rue is still rising!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My Mother, Rheua-Nell McClanahan.

2. When did you realize you wanted to become a performer? I realized I wanted to be a performer when I was five and cast as the Mother Cat in my Kindergarten’s performance of “Three Little Kittens.”  I realized I actually could do it as a profession when I was 12; I figured out that the people I saw in movies were not from Hollywood, they were actually from other towns, even small ones, just like me.

3. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Harrison Ford.

4. Is there ever a time you thought about quitting? Heavens no!

5. What is the best advice a teacher ever gave you? Barney Brown, a man who directed me at The Pasadena Playhouse – and directors are often teachers, at least the good ones –  he told me: “You’ll never become great until you’re willing to go out on a limb, much further than you feel comfortable, so far out it is dangerous, and then you learn to pull it back and refine it.

6. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? It would be me actually, but only because there is a particular dream I want to experience again. In it, I was floating in the air, conducting a symphony that I had created; and I knew I was in a dream and wouldn't be able to bring the wonderful music from my subconscious out with me. I would love to have that dream again!

7. Favorite kind of shoes? Anything that is really comfortable.

8. Favorite holiday? Christmas.

9. Favorite color? Blue.

10. Favorite kind of sundae (ice cream flavor & topping)? A classic: vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.


11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can write backwards, upside down, and even upside down AND backwards.

12. What is the weirdest thing you've read about yourself and where did you read it? There was an article filled with lies about the “Golden Girls” actors in the “National Enquirer.”  Someone gave it to me on the way to the airport and I read that I had narcolepsy; that condition where you just fall asleep out of the blue.  It also said that Betty White ate six cheeseburgers a day!  Whoever leaked to the press got it wrong.  I have the ability to take naps anywhere, and often did, even behind the couch on the set of “Golden Girls,” but I do not suffer from narcolepsy.  And Betty White did not eat six cheeseburgers every day, she ate one.


Daphne Rubin-Vega

Best known as the original "Mimi" in Jonathan Larson's "Rent", Daphne has had an incredible career between theatre, music, film, and motherhood. "Rent" brought Daphne, not only an allegiance of fans, but a Theatre World Award and a Tony and Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress. 2001 brought Daphne back to Broadway in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" as "Magenta" while in 2004 Nilo Cruz' "Anna in the Tropics" brought Daphne her second Tony Award nomination. Off-Broadway, Daphne has starred in Karen Hartman's "Gum", Nilo Cruz' "Two Sisters and a Piano", Douglas Carter Beane's "Free to be You and Me", Bob Glaudini's "Jack Goes Boating" (of which she will reprise her role in the upcoming film due out in 2011), and Susan Lori Parks' "Fucking A" at the Public Theatre (bringing Daphne a Lucille Lortel nomination for Best Featured Actress).

Musically Daphne has recorded and created ground-breaking music starting in the early '90s with the girl group "Pajama Party" in which they recorded 2 albums "Up All Night" & "Can't Live Without It", yielding the hits "Yo No Se", "Over and Over", & "Can't Live Without It". 1997 marked Daphne's debut solo album "Souveniers", while 2006 brought her second album "Redemption Songs". She has played gigs at many of New York's legendary venues such as Joe's Pub, The Cutting Room, The Zipper Factory, and Makor.

Daphne has also starred in such films as "Wild Things" (for which she won a Blockbuster Award for Best Supporting Actress/Suspense), "Flawless", and "Sex and the City".

Her biggest production has been the birth of her son, who inspired many of the songs on "Redemption Songs".

You can catch Daphne on September 18 at 9:30pm at Joe's Pub performing in the Lance Horne & the Smart Set and for everything Daphne visit:

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Josephine Baker, Marilyn, Madonna, Bowie, Chaka, Jagger Gene Hackman BjorkNeneh Cherry everyone I liked growing up (and I'm still growing) inspires me.

2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? I think its Adam Rothenberg.

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? No...everyone knows everything about me.

4. Favorite way to stay in shape? Gardening in a very fancy bikini and not getting it dirty.

5. Favorite kind of shoes? That's fashion and you changes. I like sexy and comfy shoes.

6. Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? What do you order? Starfux.

7. Animal Crackers or Oreos? Stoned wheat thins.

8. Superman or Wonder Woman? Hate em both. I like Cato from the Green Hornet.

9. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My mom.

10. Favorite website? I stay away from the computer..don't know too much about web sites...sorry maybe buttons and

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Paul Downs Colaizzo

Paul Downs Colaizzo is a versitile actor. With impeccable comedic timing and a way to reach your soul, whether it's comedy or drama, Paul pulls out all the moves. TV audiences will recognize him from "As The World Turns" on CBS, playing the recurring role of "Van" while theatre audiences know him from the Cubby Bernstein Web Series as Cubby's assistant "Dyllun Von Ritter". In addition to television and the web, Paul has been seen on the New York stage in "Twilight in Manchego", "The Brain From Planet X", "Mabou Mines' The Spider Operas", "Snakebit", "The Spickner Spin", & a workshop of "The Yellow Wood". Regionally, Paul has delighted audiences in "Fiddler on the Roof", "Great Expectations", "Merrily We Roll Along", "Disney's High School Musical 2".  You can catch Paul on the new mini-tour of "Disney's High School Musical" playing the role of "Jack Scott" through August 30 in Grand Rapids, MI & then onto Wolftrap Center For Performing Arts in Wolftrap, VA from September 2-6. For more of the genius that is Paul Downs Colaizzo, visit:

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Heather Mazur - babysitter extrordinairre - she was Annie on the national tour when I was 3 - now she's on the showtime series CRASH.

2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Raul Esparza. Or Kristen Wiig. Or both.

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can melt like Alex Mac.

4. Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? What do you order? I've been off of caffeine for about 7 years. So I'd say Dunkin' Donuts - 1 glazed donut.
5. Animal Crackers or Oreos? Oreos. Double Stuffed.  a sleeve a night. with 2% milk.

6. Favorite kind of sundae (ice cream flavor and toppings)? Ben and Jerry's Karmel Sutra.

7. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs but transitioning to briefs.  Except they hurt to sleep in them. 
8. Favorite ride at an amusement park? Roller coasters with lots of ups and then downs.
9. Books or Magazines? Books. Usually from the self-improvement section. or new non fiction.
10. What website do you get your news from?


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Jason Mitchell

"Serving Up the Bubbliest Comedy of the Summer"Jason Mitchell is a playwright who knows how to make an audience pay attention. Whether it's exploring the persecution of homosexuals during the Holocaust in "The Red Box" or entertaining audiences with his newest play "The Boys Upstairs", a comedy about sex, dating, friendship, and the blurry lines in between. Fresh, smart, and sexy, are just three words to not only describe Jason, but his work! Catch the final two performances of "The Boys Upstairs" this Thursday (8/27) at 5pm & Friday (8/28) at 7pm. For more on Jason Mitchell visit:

1. Who inspired you to become a playwright? Martin Sherman.

2. Who do you consider to be your hero? Anyone really skinny.

3. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Bette Midler.

4. What is the best advice you've given someone, but not taken for yourself? Don't eat.

5. Summer Resort or Winter Retreat? Summer Resort.

6. Favorite website? of course!

7. "He-Man" or "She-Ra"? I'm versatile.

8. Favorite way to stay in shape? Yoga, Running by the Hudson.

9. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer Briefs.

10. Most unusual place you've ever had sex? Come see THE BOYS UPSTAIRS and you'll learn about some of them :)


Erik Sisco

Erik Sisco is a versatile singer/actor with stage and cabaret credits throughout the city and across the country. Originally from Flint, Michigan, Erik is the winner of Stonewall Sensation, a vocal competition at the historic Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, where he recently premiered his new show, “Sing What I Wanna Sing.”  A growing presence in the New York cabaret/nightlife scene, Erik has been invited to perform in some of the city’s best venues and showcases, including “Monday Nights, New Voices” at The Duplex, “Brandon Cutrell and Cohorts” at the Laurie Beechman, “Scott Nevins’ Curtain Call” at Splash and “Broadway Sessions” at Therapy, as well as appearances at the New York Gay Life Expo, Birdland, The Reprise Room, and The D-Lounge, to name a few.  Erik frequently participates in workshops, readings, concerts and recordings of new works, and he can be heard on the acclaimed album, keys, the music of Scott Alan. Erik’s recent stage credits include the Host in the new musical dating game show, “Nab-a-Date”, the first national tour of Theatreworks/USA’s new musical version of the beloved “Anne of Green Gables,” and the New York and Los Angeles premieres of “R.R.R.E.D.” with singer/songwriter Katie Thompson. Erik holds a BFA in Music Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University. Be sure to catch Erik this Wednesday, August 26 LIVE at 9:30pm at the Duplex in NYC. For everything Erik, visit:

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? The first singer to inspire me was Whitney Houston.  Her first album was the very first cassette tape I ever owned and I played it until it wore out! I think she was probably the most dynamic singer modern music has ever known, and I've always thought of her as my first voice teacher.  I always tried to emulate her sound when I was singing.

2. When did you realize you wanted to become a performer? I think I always knew, in a way. I was the kid who ran around using anything I could as a brushes, curling irons, spoons. It was always my passion.  I didn't decide to pursue performance as a career until the end of high school, however.  I was valedictorian of my graduating class and was contemplating taking the path of medical or law school...I thought I might pursue education for a moment.  Then I auditioned for a music theatre performance program (sort of on a whim) and got in.  That was when I realized that I could actually make a life out of being a performer...much to the chagrin of my mother!

3. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? Well, it depends on the day really, but my low register reaches down to about a low E (I sing bass in a choir) and at the top, full voice, around A.  I guess I'm what you would call a baritenor.  I have some more tenor notes on good days, but on a consistent basis, A is about my limit.

4. What is the best advice a teacher ever gave you? The best advice I was given was actually not advice so much...I had gained quite a bit of weight in school and I had a teacher who told me that I probably was not going to make it professionally and should think about taking another path. That was one of the biggest motivators of my made me get my act together and work even harder to prove that I could do it, no matter what size I was.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Nothing really that out of the ordinary...I'm a pretty good whistler.  And I do a lot of silly voices that no one except my partner and close friends hear.

6. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? This may be the gayest thing I've ever said, but it would be Judy Garland.  She has been one of the biggest artistic influences in my life, and I've always wondered what it would have been like to hear her be in the same room with her while she was pouring her soul out onstage.  I suppose dreaming it is the closest I'll ever get!

7. Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? What do you order? I prefer Starbucks coffee (iced venti coffee with half and half and 2 splenda) but I can't resist a Dunkin Doughnuts Sausage Supreme Omelet on a whole wheat bagel.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs!

9. Favorite website? I'm slightly ashamed to admit it, but I spend a ridiculous amount of time on Facebook.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Oh my God!  Wonder Woman, for sure!  She was my hero when I was a little kid.  I've heard some great stories from my family about me running around in my Wonder Woman underoos and cowboy boots, with a golden lasso and wrist deflectors...I'm told I would run into a room and yell, "WONDER WOMAN!" Nope, wait, now THAT's the gayest thing I've ever said.

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