20Q: Catching up with actress Amanda Rodriguez
Editor's Note: Kicks presents 20Q, a feature that introduces readers to people involved in the area's arts and entertainment community. Compiled by kicks Editor Greg Little, each piece will include a short bio, photo and answers to questions that provide insight into not only that person's artistic interests but also his or her unique personality.
A proud Wisconsinite and Parker Viking alum, Rodriguez has performed professionally on stages throughout the state. Most recently, she was seen on the Children's Theater of Madison stage in its production of “Madagascar—A Musical Adventure.”
In addition, she has performed at the Armory in downtown Janesville and The Palace Theater in Wisconsin Dells. Last year, she earned a BroadwayWorld Madison nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her work in the title role of “Cinderella.”
Rodriguez says she is tickled pink to return to the Armory stage this month to reprise the title role in the popular children's musical “Pinkalicious: The Musical!” (see Page 5A for details). She also has announced she soon will be back in Madison starring as Fly in CTM's production of “Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly” in March.
When not onstage, Amanda enjoys spending time with her family, her friends, her cats and her ukulele. To learn more about her, visit TheOtherAmandaRodriguez.com.
1. Do you look good in pink? I actually think I look all right in pink. I have a complexion that looks OK with most colors. Hunter orange on the other hand ... blegh. Not a good look for me.
2. Which actor/actress would you say you most try to model your acting style after? I don't think I ever consciously try to model my acting style after anyone, but someone who I really admire is Meryl Streep. She's a true chameleon, and she does everything so genuinely. From dramas to comedies to movie musicals, I aspire to be as adaptable and as honest as she is.
3. Speaking in front of large groups is a point of much anxiety for most people. Actors seem to thrive on it. What's the deal with you people? I still get a little anxiety over it, if I'm being honest. My nerves used to be much worse, but doing productions with longer runs has helped combat that, I think. It's just not healthy to be nervous seven times a week. You just kind of relax. It's like when you're nervous for the first day of school. You're super nervous that first day, but then the rest of the year, you're fine.
4. Aside from Pikachu, can you name at least one more Pokemon? Jigglypuff, Squirtle, Charizard, Mew, Eevee ... Mudkip? I think Mudkip is one.
5. You've appeared in both “Pinkalicious” and “Avenue Q.” Do you prefer performing for kids or adults? Both are honestly so rewarding in their own ways. Adult content can give you the opportunity to dig into really emotional storytelling that has the power to transform both you—as an actor and as human—and the audience. Children's theater is completely magical to me. A lot of the time, you're performing for children who have never experienced live theater before. Seeing these children light up with such immense joy and laughter is so touching. It never fails to get me a little misty-eyed. You get to be a part of that memory. It's amazing.
6. When flipping through TV channels, I always stop when I find: A romantic comedy ... usually starring Kate Hudson. They are always on! I don't care if I've seen the movie a million times, I'm still going to watch it. Also, I've come to realize that Kate Hudson movies are kind of like pizza; even if it's bad, it's still pretty good.
7. People would be surprised to know that I: Love horror movies. I'm a fairly girly, sensitive person, so that doesn't typically go hand-in-hand with monsters and ghouls, but I just love it. I'm completely terrified after, and there have been many nights where I've fallen asleep with the lights on—but I think that's why I enjoy them so much. A good scare to keep me on my toes. I'd love to act in something horror-related one day.
8. Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit or Cards Against Humanity? Definitely Trivial Pursuit. I am full of otherwise useless knowledge, and I'm very competitive, so it's kind of perfect for me. I mean, not to brag or anything, but I've been the MVP for a trivia team or two in my time. Pop culture and anything entertainment-related are in my wheelhouse. But please, don't ask me about sports.
9. My dream role would be: I've been fortunate enough to play a lot of roles on my theater bucket list already, but one that I am itching to cross off is Wednesday Addams in “The Addams Family.” I've always loved the movies, and I think the musical adaptation is fun. Plus, I've always been really drawn to spookier things. Once they make a musical version of “Beetlejuice,” I will most definitely be one of the girls clamoring to be Lydia Deetz.
10. If I could work with any writer/director, living or dead, it would be: Nora Ephron. You always hear that she was brilliant, but also very warm and kind. I like to work with people like that.
11. When you're not on stage, what do you do as a profession? I'm a service and training lead in retail (shout out to store 5118!) I've been very lucky because my job has always been so accommodating to my theater schedule.
12. Do you have any pre-performance rituals? Before I go onstage, I'll say out loud to myself, “I am (insert character's name here).” I started doing it after I had a blank-out moment onstage that really shook me up. I don't use it for every show I'm in or for every performance of that show, but if it's a show that's more strenuous, or if I'm feeling a little off, I do it. It's weird, I know, but surprisingly effective.
13. What theatrical character best parallels you as a person? Of the characters I've played, I see my bubbly, optimistic side in Kate Monster (“Avenue Q”), and I see some of my own insecurities in Cathy Hiatt (“The Last Five Years”).
14. Among your “special skills” are knitting and chicken calling? What's that all about? The “special skills” section of your resume gives you the opportunity to list things you can do that could be utilized in a production. Knitting and chicken calling are some of the things I would confidently do onstage for you. Wow, I am wild! I have yet to knit onstage, but the chicken call I have used TWICE! I can sound just like a chicken. Really ... ask me about it.
15. When did you first become interested in acting? I've always wanted to put on a show for other people. I would entertain my family and friends growing up by making up silly characters. It was actually my mother who encouraged me to audition for my first show. “Let's just see what happens,” she said. It was for a local production of “Annie.” I was obsessed with my VHS copy of the movie. We went, and I ended up nabbing the lead role. It changed my life. Always listen to your mother!
16. Without looking it up, what would you think kakorrhaphiophobia is? Umm...fear of some kind of bird? The 'kakorr' kind of looks like a sound a bird would make...maybe? Ka-korr! Ka-korr! See? Definitely bird-like. (Note: kakorrhaphiophobia is an abnormal fear of failure.)
17. What is your worst habit? I am a terrible procrastinator. I tend to leave things go to the last minute or put things off because I feel overwhelmed when, really, I would feel less overwhelmed if I just did it right away. I'm getting better though.
18. What is the image on your phone's lock screen right now? I would love to say that my lock screen right now is something inspirational or motivating, but it's not. It's my cat. My cat is my lock screen right now. She's just so darn cute and plump.
19. When I go out to eat, my preference tends to be: I'm typically craving chicken strips or burgers with a side of fries. They are my go-to menu picks because they are usually on every menu. They are safe, and I'm a picky eater. I'll try anything once, but I usually won't like it.
20. Why would anyone ever want to “break a leg”? I know, it's so odd! I've heard just “break legs,” which always makes me laugh. There is a lot of debate surrounding exactly why we say it or where it originated from. The term “good luck” is allegedly bad luck in theater, so instead it's “break a leg.” It honestly doesn't make a difference to me. I'll take any well wishes because it's the thought that counts, right?