Tuesday, April 5, 2011

INTERVIEW: J. Elaine Marcos from Priscilla Queen of the Desert

1. From Flower Drum Song to The Wedding Singer to A Chorus Line, you have had many hits on the Great White Way. What is it like moving from one success to the next?
What is it like? It a roller coaster of emotions that’s for sure. Each Broadway show is a journey from the audition to the callback, to being offered the show, to first day of rehearsal, opening night to closing night to waiting for another audition so I can work again. Ups and downs, but the UPs are a blast! It’s nothing less than amazing being part of different shows and “show families”. You also never know how long a show will last so I am grateful every time I walk in my theatre. I usually like to say I am heading to the “theatre” as opposed to “work”, it’s just more fun that way.

2. You are currently starring in Priscilla, the new Broadway smash. What is it like starring in this glitz and glam show?
Priscilla is just the opposite of my last show A Chorus Line in term of the glitz and glam. As Connie Wong in A Chorus Line, I wore flats, a woven - wool pant-suit-unitard with minimal make-up. But as Cynthia I wear lingerie, thigh highs, lashes and glitter in my lips. It’s Connie Wong gone wild!! I am having an amazing time playing this role.

3. You are playing the iconic role of Cynthia. How did you go about making this role your own?
Honestly, this role is really me impersonating my own Mother. My Mom (Esther) is lovable and charming most of the time...but other times (sorry Mom) she can be a little over the top, so I just channeled her energy. In addition to adding a bit of a cartoon aspect to Cynthia because I love cartoons!

4. This role has you going crazy and taking over a bar with a very special talent that involves ping pongs. How did you go about playing this role?
Playing” is the key word when it comes this role. I really love being in the moment and trying out different things during my number, just so I don’t get stuck in a rut. Most of the movements are choreographed but in certain spots I like to just see what happens. If I don’t feel like I am playing and having fun then I am not doing my job. My” job” is to “have fun”, now who wouldn’t want that job?

5. You have a strong background in stand-up comedy. Did those past experiences help you prepare for this role?
ABSOLUTELY! It’s mainly the ability to take risks that helped me land any job I’ve had so far. Standup comedy is one of the hardest things to do and so is auditioning so the more times you can practice that skill of putting yourself out there and risking it all...I think the better and stronger you become as a performer.

6. What is it like working with the big star of the show, Priscilla, the bus herself?
Oh Priscilla......(sigh) She doesn’t talk to me much. She’s a bit of a diva. I actually think she’s gained weight since the first production in Australia, but I don’t tell her that. I do appreciate her work ethics though; she hasn’t missed one show yet.

7. Along with many successes on the stage, you have had a great career in movies and television. How is it different transferring from in front of a camera to in front of an audience?
The environment is totally different that is for sure. Being in front of one thousand people and feeling their energy and laughs is totally different when you are in front of just a camera/director and the crew on a set. But I think I have to remember that just because I might only be filmed from the waist up, doesn’t mean I only “act” from the waist up. As a dancer first, I’ve always felt comfortable with “being in my body” meaning my body has to be as energized as it would be on stage even if I am not dancing. I used to think that stage equals big and TV/film equals small. In a sense that is true, but small doesn’t have to mean “shut off”, you still need to have energy or else you just look boring.

8. You recently starred in the hit movie Morning Glory. What was it like working with that extremely talented cast?
Working with Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams?? It was amazing and I tried to just soak up it all up. They are all such talented, kind, and sweet people, it’s not a wonder they are stars that we look up to. I think we like watching them on the screen because their own personal charm comes thru in their acting. They are wonderful human beings first and foremost....then talented. I think that’s what I learned from them the most.

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