Sherri Edelen is the latest victim in the "Strong Woman" interview series, On The Heels Of...
An actress of many strengths, she has been seen at many of our regional theatres, from Rep Stage to Theatre of the First Amendment, and everywhere in between. She won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress in a Resident Musical for her work as Violet Hilton in Side Show, at Signature Theatre.
She also is obsessed with the movie, Grey Gardens.
She is currently playing two different and hilarious characters in Urinetown...here's what she had to say...
SGS:Tell me about Little Becky Two Shoes and Mrs. Millennium.
Sherri:They are still evolving. Right now, Mrs. Millennium is a lesbian in lust with Hope. And Little Becky just wants revenge. She was raped in amenity no. 9 and she is pissed off about it. Big huge choices, huh? The great thing about being in the ensemble is you can make these changes and nobody really sees it but you. It's my own little game I play to keep things fresh.
SGS: Name some, if any influences in building their characters.
Sherri:Becky is completely physical. She is 9 months pregnant, eye patch and brace on her leg.
That's a big play ground. And all her lines are defiant and angry. Mrs. Millennium is tougher. There is nothing physical to grab onto, only the little amount of text she has which probably evolved from the NY workshops and rehearsals. But Joe Calarco works a great deal in Viewpoints, which he learned from Anne Bogart. So you play with shapes and relationships within the shapes. It's a blast.
SGS: When is the last time you have watched-A) Grey Gardens B) It's a
Sherri:Wonderful Life is an annual event during the holidays. I put it on when I am wrapping gifts. Plus, whenever it's on TV, I always tune in. Grey Gardens was over a year ago. It's time for another viewing. my friend. We should also watch Mommie Dearest. Eleasha and I have been quoting that movie for some dressing room fun. "Figures you know where to get the boys and the booze."
SGS: Name something that makes you happy.
Sherri:I love this time of year. Cooler weather. Plus, I love going to places like Eastern Market and looking at all the food possibilities. Weird as it sounds, I like cleaning my house. It feels
good when things are clean. I like baking.
SGS: What is your dream role?
Sherri: It was Peter Pan, now it's Edwin Drood. I want to play something I am not. I am not a man, or a lesbian or a mother or a wife. I want to discover what those lives are like. I want to be Judas in JC Superstar. Shave my head, scream musical theatre rock n roll.
SGS: What is your favorite story involving a production you have been in?
Sherri: I don't have a favorite, although I like the one connected with Question 7 below.
You tell it, Steve. There are many stories wrapped up in that production.
SGS: OK...Sherri's skirt broke and fell off during "Come Spirit Come Charm" in The Secret Garden at Olney. She finished the number in her bloomers. We were in tears by the end...Aye-yai-yai...Which brings me to my 7th question... When is the last time you have taken your skirt off and used it as a cape?
Sherri:The last time my skirt came off was in The Secret Garden with you.
I'll let you fill in those details. I didn't use it as a cape. Maybe it would have helped.
SGS: What is the last good film you watched?
SGS: When is the last time you found yourself speechless?
Sherri:When the president of Jefferson Parish gave his testimony and plea last week on Meet the Press.
Stopped me in my tracks.
SGS: How do you approach building a character?
Sherri: Inside out most of the time. Usually look for the physical, how she walks, moves in spaces, talks, what the text says about her.
SGS: Any favorite shows/roles?
Sherri: Annie Get Your Gun is at the top of my list. Sunday in the Park with George. She Loves Me. I could do those shows for a long time. Did two different roles in Sunday and it's nice to get a change of view. Annie Oakley fits me to a tea.
SGS: What is up next for you?
Sherri:A Year with Frog and Toad at Round House.
SGS:What is the secret to being a happy actress?
Sherri: Learning the business of the business early on so that you have money or having a second income that will support you that you enjoy. All the artistic stuff comes with education and experience.
SGS: What is in your CD player right now?
Sherri: I was listening to James Taylor's Greatest Hits on the way home last night.
SGS: Any advice you would pass on to up and coming actors?
Sherri: Don't be afraid to ask for more money. Remember, it's show business. No one is going to take care of you but YOU.
Thanks, Sherri. You definitely are a S-T-A-U-N-C-H character. :) You can try to catch her at Urinetown, but probably have a better shot catching her in A Year with Frog and Toad at Round House this fall.