Theresa Kloos has made the drive from New York to New Hampshire once again! She’s no stranger to the route considering she previously starred in Dry Powder and The How and the Why at Shaker Bridge Theatre. You may have also seen her around the twin states while she was here to perform at the New London Barn and Weston Playhouses. Since she’s back to act in SBT’s production of Every Brilliant Thing, we took the opportunity to ask Theresa a few questions about her interesting and unique resume…
SBT: How did your acting career start? Did you have an “aha moment” when you realized it was something you’d like to pursue, or did it begin differently?
Theresa: I started performing in high school and quickly realized it was something I was passionate about. I decided to pursue an intense undergraduate program at a highly ranked college for musical theater (Baldwin Wallace College). Each class only had about 13 students so I knew it would be tough to get in, but I was accepted. Once I graduated, I moved straight to New York and have been living there since.
SBT: What inspired you to write your autobiographical shows, Reasons to Be Unpretty and Reasons to Be Unsuccessful?
Theresa: I made a New Year’s resolution one year that I wanted to do stand up in NYC. As I started writing (and because of my background in music and theater), I decided to create a one-woman show instead (with a script, music, and rock band to help tell the story). I collaborated on both shows with my good friends Michael Hicks, as my music director, and David Bonanno, as my director. Both understood my sense of humor and helped shape the show - and are just simply the best people to work with. There is nothing better than collaborating with friends.
SBT: You performed these works as one-woman shows, correct? How is the experience of being the only actor on stage different from being part of a cast?
Theresa: Yes, I performed both of my one-woman shows in New York City and in Cleveland, as well (my hometown). Since my band was onstage with me, they were like my cast. I used them throughout the shows for funny bits and nothing made me happier than to make them laugh. Doing a play like Every Brilliant Thing, though, is definitely very different as there truly is no one else onstage with you. However, the audience is so important in this show and there is a constant flow of energy between us. The rehearsal process is a bit lonelier than when you are rehearsing and working with a cast, but I very much enjoy the focus and intensity of work.
SBT: Are there one or two stage roles out of your impressive resume that are the most memorable for you?
Theresa: I loved getting to work with Tony winner and composer William Finn on his show Romance in Hard Times - that was a real dream come true. I also loved getting to play Mayella in To Kill a Mockingbird at the Weston Playhouse. With this being my third season at Shaker Bridge, I have been honored to work with Bill Coons on the brilliant shows he produces. The plays he chooses, especially with their roles for women, are simply wonderful to sink your teeth into!
SBT: What inspired you to bring your comedy to the podcast scene?
Theresa: I started listening to podcasts a few years back and so enjoyed listening during my commute or long drives. I wanted to produce my own and began tinkering with what it might be about. Initially, I thought about discussing how people use comedy to overcome trauma, but I feared every episode might be a bit dark and heavy, so my idea evolved into having conversations with really funny people on how comedy has affected their lives. My guests didn't always have to be actual comedians but had to have used comedy to get through something. My brother Randy, for example, is an incredibly funny person and used his humor when serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
[You can listen to Theresa’s podcast Survival of the Wittiest on iTunes and Soundcloud.]
SBT: What has been your favorite part of returning to the Upper Valley to act at Shaker Bridge Theatre this time around?
Theresa: I love New Hampshire and the Upper Valley. Driving back always feels like a homecoming of sorts, since I've been performing in this area since 2009. Doing this play, though, feels different than almost any other I've performed. It's VITALLY important for us to talk about the things this play discusses and the kindness and generosity from the audience touches me in a way that I haven't felt before. I am deeply honored to tell this story.
Catch Every Brilliant Thing at least once before the end of the month (the shows vary from night to night). Plus, the way Theresa performs this play is sure to warm you to the core, even on a chilly February night. Click here to get your tickets: https://www.shakerbridgetheatre.org/buy-tickets