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Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the tag “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”

Melba LaRose

Melba Larose, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenArtistic & Administrative Director of NY Artists Unlimited,
Playwright-Director-Actress

New York, New York USA

A relic of the Warhol days, ex-“Queen of off-off-Broadway,” and a legend in her own mind, Melba LaRose (yes, that’s her real name) escaped to the West Coast in the ’70s in a full-length black velvet coat, hot pants, floppy hat, and ripped fishnets — the strangest thing that ever got off the bus. After shaking off the glitter, it turned out that, contrary to popular dish, she wasn’t a drag queen after all. She was accepted into Lonny Chapman’s Group Theatre, where she explored more traditional roles than those written for her in NYC by Jackie Curtis, assisted by the inimitable Candy Darling. Lulled into a lobotomy by the ocean waves and insistently repetitive sunny days, she began writing and directing plays about the underground in NY and soon was on a plane back to Gotham. Now, ensconced in the world of providing professional theatre to under-served audiences (for 30 years), she writes, directs and sometimes acts in touring productions of the nonprofit company, NY Artists Unlimited. Not completely forgetting the wild theatre history of her youth, she created the International CringeFest, an annual escapade of irreverent, naughty, politically incorrect, politically satirical plays and musicals by up & coming and already arrived playwrights.

Favorite book: Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past;
Favorite movie: Death in Venice;
Favorite line from a play: “What the fuck for, dial one?!” (Lanford Wilson’s 4th of July)
Favorite pop-culture guilty pleasure: “Family Guy”;
Life-altering play: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (original production);
Favorite cocktails: poured them out 40 years ago after drinking a fleet of sailors under the table (I was a child prodigy);
still dream of: getting a MacArthur Genius Grant… or going to Hinckley, Ohio, to wait for the buzzards to return;
feel most like myself when I am at the ietm International Theatre Conference in a different country every six months;
best escape: obviously, travel (Travelers Anonymous is calling);
one thing nobody knows about me: I’m shy.

These days, I spend my life contemplating existential angst over the current crisis throughout the world, but especially as it affects the arts. The meds are not working.

Melba LaRose. Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in Executives & Professionals. Formerly with the NY Street Theatre Caravan. She has been married 25 years to Brazilian sculptor Elson de Faria

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Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy

Shaun Bennet Wilson, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenActress, Producer
New York, New York USA

I often say that if I couldn’t be an actress I’d be a private investigator or a historian. Researching different lives, times and places is a delicious pastime and the more I dig into the history of the world, the more fascinating it becomes. I often seek inspiration in the rooms of museums, the crooked, story-heavy streets of Lower Manhattan, or buried in the pages of historical tomes. The lines that connect humanity through the ages are the lines in which I find my bearings.

My favorite book is “Les Miserables,” and my favorite line from a play is Martha’s from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, “(Your wife’s) never wunk at you; what a shame…” My favorite cocktail is a Manhattan or Rob Roy, perfect, with a twist.

There are several productions that changed my life. When I was 14, my drama class went to see the Kansas City Repertory Theatre perform King Lear. I was bored and nodding off for most of it until Edgar stepped onstage to begin his Bastard’s Speech. He stood in silence and clung to a tree as if in shock.  In a low, terrible voice he began to speak. My blood ran cold as his trembling hands peeled off every stitch of clothing and covered his nude body with mud and dirt. It was and remains the most terrifying and beautiful thing I’ve ever seen on stage, paralleled only by Mark Rylance in the last 20 minutes of Jerusalem. I also have to add Clybourne Park to the list as it reaffirmed my love for theatre. It gave me hope.

Future dream: I would love to run a theatre company that produces transformative work, mentors young artists and feeds them home-cooked meals every now and then.

Something no one knows about me? I am deathly afraid of clowns.

Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy has worked with Resonance Ensemble, The WorkShop Theater Company, Gideon Productions, The Drilling Company, Abingdon Theatre, Emerging Artists Theatre, HB Playwrights Foundation, Midtown International Theatre Festival, the Estrogenius Festival, and more. Member DGA. www.shaunbfauntleroy.com

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