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I am so excited to announce my new partnership with NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival)! "Call Me Adam" will be providing NYMFerviews (exclusive interviews with some of the cast and creatives from the various productions in this year's NYMF festival).

  

 

Entries in NYMF 2017 (1)

Saturday
Jul082017

Call Redialed: Brian Charles Rooney: NYMFerview: Miss Blanche Tells It All at NYMF

Brian Charles RooneyI just love Brian Charles Rooney! I'm so so excited that once again he answered my call. Brian's voice and talent are unreal and whenever I get to see him in a show or concert, it's a treat!

This summer he is starring in one of the most talked about NYMF shows, Miss Blanche Tells It All. It's 1969 New Orleans: standing room only. The band starts the opening number for "Miss Blanche," the hottest act in the Quarter – but "Miss Blanche" is missing in action. Instead, a fiery young man takes the stage. Relaying tales from his brutal childhood, he reveals a mysterious trunk, filled with clues about his past and the key to his future. Inspired by the imagination of Tennessee Williams, this intimate and seductive show takes us on one man’s journey of desire, self-expression, and liberation.

Miss Blanche Tells It All will play The New York Musical Festival (NYMF) from July 12-16 at Peter Jay Sharp Theatre (416 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

Be sure to check out a sneak peak video of Brian performing one of the songs from Miss Blanche Tells It All at the bottom of this interview!

For more on Brian visit https://www.briancharlesrooney.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. This July, you'll be starring in the premiere of Miss Blanche Tells It All, a solo musical. What attracted you to this show? Why should people come see this production? People should come see the show because it is a wonderful, new show. I always feel there is not much better than seeing a new musical in development. The festival does such a wonderful job of giving composers, lyricists, and writers a chance to promote their work, and to see it performed on stage. You could be seeing the next big thing!

On a more personal level, I think people should come to see the show for the same reasons I was attracted to doing it. It's the story of a passionate man who may overcome his demons and come to terms with the fact that not everyone grows up with advantages or guidance. "Lee," the character I play, is someone to admire. We could all use someone like that right now.

2. What do you identify most with "Miss Blanche"? What is one characteristic of hers you are glad you don't have? As I mentioned, I play "Lee," who also plays "Miss Blanche" (among others), but I also play "Blanche," the woman who inspires "Lee's" character "Miss Blanche." That woman is an incredibly complex character, so there are a lot of characteristics I could choose! Aside from gender differences, I think "Blanche" has a very heightened sense of romance. She speaks in a poetic way, and there is an underlying thread of sensuality through all of that. I think I'm a sensual person, but she takes it to such a high level. It's rather lovely.

Brian Charles Rooney in "Miss Blanche Tells It All"3. The byline for "Miss Blanche," is "You never know a person 'til you walk in her heels." What have you learned about yourself from walking in "Miss Blanche's" heels? It's not the first time I've worn heels in a musical, or a play. I've played women a few times, and people have asked me if that is a niche I have created for myself. I suppose it is, but the real reason I have played these characters is because they were written so well, and I loved their stories. I am lucky that that is the case with this show. I think I've learned a lot about myself as an actor through our rehearsal process. I learned something with every show, but this one has demanded so much energy, thought, attention to detail, and emotional stamina. I've never so regularly walked out of rehearsal as drained as I have been with this show! That's a good thing! I've learned that I have developed the ability to meet the demands of a show where I'm out there, largely, all by myself. 

4. In Miss Blanche, you play a guy who takes the stage as "Miss Blanche," in place of the real "Miss Blanche," who has gone missing. When has there been a time you had to go on stage last minute? What was that moment like for you? Well, I will leave it to the audience to discover whether or not what you suggest is true! Is "Miss Blanche" missing? Is "Lee" taking her place? Or are they one and the same?

I cannot think of a time where I've had to go onstage unprepared, though I do a lot of workshops and readings of new work, and the challenge in those scenarios has always been to learn an immense amount of material in a very short time. I've never had to understudy someone, but I have friends who do it regularly, and I hear stories about how someone will get sick, unexpectedly. In some of those cases, the understudy has to go on before they had a chance to really rehearse the role! That's the stuff some nightmares could be made of!!

Brian Charles Rooney in "Miss Blanche Tells It All"Brian Charles Rooney in "Miss Blanche Tells It All"5. Looking back at your life, what is something in your past that you are now like, "Oh this was a clue that was ultimately leading me to where I am now"? My whole life, or at least my life growing up as a child, I always assumed I would be a doctor. I double majored in college, in order to prepare myself for medical school, but also for a career in the arts. I would say that prior to college, my work in high school drama club was probably a large clue, to anyone paying attention, that I was not going to dress up in scrubs taking care of kids (I'd wanted to be a pediatrician)! 

6. Miss Blanche Tells It All is an intimate and seductive show takes us on one man’s journey of desire, self-expression, and liberation. What's the most intimate detail about Brian Charles Rooney you are willing to share in this interview? I have a lot of insecurity about my looks. Thrilling answer, I know! Ha!

7. What do you still desire on your life's journey? What do you think is your strongest form of self-expression? What is one secret you want to liberate? I still desire the chance to work on a new Broadway show. I have worked on a revival, which was a wonderful experience. But I think my strengths are best exploited in new work.

As far as my strongest form of self-expression, I think it is my voice, both as a singer and an actor… I don't really like separating those skills, because, for me, speaking and singing are just different skills using the same instrument. I have worked hard to develop the unique talents I have (people who are aware of my body of work will know what I mean... and so will people who come to see this show).

Liberating a secret destroys the secret, does it not?  If I had to admit something, I'd want it to be something fun.

Brian Charles Rooney in "Bedbugs!!! It's A Musical"Brian Charles Rooney performing at the "Madonnathon"8. You have done a lot of drag throughout your career. What do you like about losing yourself in the world of drag as opposed to non-drag roles? I have only done full drag in plays and musicals, on and off Broadway, so I suppose I have actually carved out a specific niche for myself in that world. I have learned from some of the best about the art of applying make-up to create the illusion of a female face. It doesn't end with the face though, The skills required to perform as a drag artist include not only a steady hand with a brush, but also keen instincts with regard to creating a new physicality and a new vocal tone. I think, for me, losing myself in a drag role is no different than losing myself in a non-drag role. It really has always been about the character, and his or her story.

9. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? The ability to be less critical of myself. Sometimes I think I can be so hard on myself that I don't enjoy moments I should. I'm working on that though! I have been for a long time! I'll take 1% better for sure!

More on Brian:

Brian Charles Rooney made his Broadway debut as "Lucy Brown" in The Threepenny Opera (Roundabout Theatre Co.); & won the CT Critics Circle Award for Best Actor in a Musical as "Candy Darling" in POP! (Yale Repertory). He was recently lauded by The New York Times for his performance as "Dionne Salon" in the hit Off-Broadway musical, Bedbugs!!! & has won two NYMF Outstanding Performance Awards: Bedbugs!!! (2008) & Bayonets of Angst (2014). He appeared with Kristin Chenoweth at Lincoln Center in Andrew Lippa's I Am Harvey Milk, & in the Carnegie Hall Concert Production of Guys & Dolls, starring Nathan Lane & Megan Mullally. In 2007, Brian won The Kurt Weill Foundation's Lys Symonette Award for Dramatic Excellence.