Sunday, December 14, 2014

PHX STAGES Q/A with Joseph Cannon

Presenting our next Q/A with actor Joseph Cannon...
(for our previous Q/A with Andy Cahoon click here)

Joseph Cannon has wracked up some impressive acting credits in several major productions in the Valley and in California in just the past few years including receiving three ariZoni nominations for lead roles.  Most recently Cannon was seen in Southwest Shakespeare Company's acclaimed production of Equivocation, where he played the playwright "Shagspeare" and received an ariZoni nom.  He also starred in Phoenix Theatre's production of White Christmas last December as well as played King Arthur in their production of Spamalot in 2012 (ariZoni nominations for both roles)  Prior to those roles in Phoenix, he appeared at Spotlight Theatre in California as Roger in Rent and Billy Bigelow in Carousel (a role he will be reprising next Spring in Mesa Encore Theatre's production of that classic musical.)  Cannon was a member of the US Marine Corps for five years, had a role on the tv show JAG, appeared as a soloist with the Phoenix Symphony and has a BS in Psychology.

Name:  Joseph Lawrence Cannon

Where you were born and or raised: I was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. which is on the Eastern side of the state, about 30 mins from Coeur D' Alene, Idaho.  It's the most beautiful place I have ever lived and long to move back their again someday.

What brought you to Arizona? well, after the Marine Corps, the first time I came here was in 2005 when I was hired as a Correctional Officer for the AZ Department of Corrections.  I spent 9 weeks in Tucson for the academy and then was sent to Lewis Prison where I worked for three years as a COII.  I had also joined the Army National Guard at this time with 855 Military Police, and in August of 2006 was ordered to active duty and sent to Yuma as the E-5 Sergeant in charge of Class V Ammunitions.  My job there was simple,  Once a week, I issued out ammunition to the incoming National Guard units coming in from across the country to help the Border Patrol.  Mind you, not one shot was fired, and they had specific orders that the ammunition was strictly there for the sole purpose of their own protection in case drug cartels tried to fire upon them.  This never happened.  So after the one day of getting up at the ass-crack of dawn to issue ammo, the rest of the time I played Basketball with my subordinates.  It was a good time.  I then volunteered to go with the 1/158th Infantry Battalion to go to Afghanistan, was sent to a crash course in Army Infantry training in Florida for two weeks, but when I returned I ended up staying stateside.  I went back to California in 2008 and started working on my undergrad degree in Psychology and in 2011 moved back to Phoenix after my father had an accident and nearly died.  I came back to help my family.  So I finished out my degree program here and decided to start acting again.

Equivocation, Southwest Shakespeare Company, 2014
(photo by Marc Gluckman) 
What your parents did/do for a living:   My father worked for Albertsons as a Bakery Sales Supervisor in the Northwest chain and my mother had the hardest job of all, raising me.  God bless her for the hell I put her through.  And God bless my father for providing for us.  He worked a lot in order to make sure we were happy.  They both sacrificed so much.

Siblings:   one older sister

Family/Children:  I have two BEAUTIFUL children.  Jack and Katharyn.  Kat is 8 and Jack just turned 10 on Dec 3rd of this year.  I love and adore them both, very much...they both have wonderful personalities and really give me a run for my money.  Jack loves football and (against my wishes) loves the Patriots....but he still enjoys the Cardinals as well.  Katharyn loves dancing and we are going to be getting her into dance very soon.
White Christmas, Phoenix Theatre
2013 (Photo courtesy of Phoenix Theatre)
First show you ever saw:  Original Broadway Tour of Les Miserables.  I was a child and my parents took me and we sat front row!  What I remember most about it, was the barricade,  Enjolras, and Gavroche.  Gavroche was who made me interested in theatre.

Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: Jury is still out on that one.

The one performance you attended that you will never forget:  Jon Sampson as Hamlet in Bakersfield, CA.  The most prolific performance I have ever witnessed.  Directed by Brian Sivisend, Jon Sampson embodied Hamlet, and in a 99 seat, intimate stage, blew all of us away.  It was an incredible thing to witness, one I will never forget.
First stage kiss:  hmmm.... Onstage or Backstage?  ha! Just kidding, well I would have to say that my first stage kiss was The Pajama Game at my high school U-High in Spokane.  I played Sid Sorokin.

Andy Cahoon, Beau Heckman, Joseph Cannon and Randy Messersmith in Southwest Shakespeare Company's
Equivocation, 2014 (photo by Devon Christopher Adams) 
Best stage experience you’ve had so far:  Equivocation, hands down the best experience to date.  The cast Allison Sell,  Jesse Kamps, Randy Messersmith, Beau Heckman, Andy CAHOON! with the wonderful and brilliant David Barker at the Helm and our amazing Christy Lindsay backstage running the deck.  Plus, we had the pleasure of meeting and talking with and performing for the writer of the piece, Bill Cain which was terrifying, but when we met him and talked with him, he was the most inspiring and beautiful man I have ever met!  we all got to hang out after the show at a brewery and just chat with the man.. Brilliant and funny, sweet and sincere.  An experience I will never forget.

What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of your current/ most recent show?   I was able to perform with the Valley's best.  I learned so much from everyone in Equivocation.  Obviously Equivocation is top of my list as is everyone involved.  Going Toe-to-toe with Randy Messersmith and Beau Heckman every night in fits of rage and sadness was very exciting.  they all were so great....I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

Most challenging role you have played onstage: William Shagspeare. Equivocation.  See a pattern here?
Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about?  well, actually I had been planning on taking time off from theatre, got a job just recently at APS while I wait to iron out a few bumps in my plan to be an elementary school teacher.  But I was just offered the role of Billy Bigelow in Carousel at MET, directed by Phillip Fazio. That's a role I have done before and I simply could not pass it up.  Carousel is considered Rogers and Hammerstein's masterpiece, and I have been wanting to sink my teeth into again.  So I said yes, and I believe it opens in March.

Leading role you've been dying to play:  there are a few.  Jamie in Last 5 Years,  Robert in Bridges of Madison County,  Sweeney Todd, King Lear, Hamlet,  Robert in Company... there are so

Leading role of the opposite sex you wish you could play: oh my....hmmm.....Fantine in Les Miserables I suppose

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: ummm....don't really have any of those, to be honest.  I warm up my voice, but that's about it.

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:  Good Lord....SO MANY of those.   The WORST was when I was in a production of Kismet in Spokane, WA.  I was the Caliph Understudy.  Cheyenne Jackson played the role of the magician, and I was told I would go on the morning of a Sunday matinee.  I completely went up and forgot ALL of my lines at that point.  I was only 17.  I got so angry I just yelled and stomped off the stage ending the scene prematurely.  I sat in the corner and cried during intermission...I told myself I would never understudy another role again.  and I didn't until this past spring when I understudied Javert in Les Miserables, but that was under certain circumstances.
Joseph Canon and David Arrigo in Phoenix Theatre's Spamalot, 2012
(Photo courtesy of Phoenix Theatre)
Worst costume ever:  Jed, if you are reading this I'm sorry.....My costume as Caliban in The Tempest at Southwest Shakespeare.  the mask I was given literally right before we opened did not fit my face and kept moving throughout the performance.  It would constantly shift over my eyes and mouth so I had to keep fiddling with it throughout the performance so that I could see and speak.  I heard a rumor that the mask disappeared after closing so that no one would ever have to endure the same torture....

Best costume ever: Phoenix Theatre's production of Spamalot where I played King Arthur.  They rented the costumes and in my costume, Tim Curry's  name was embroidered on the inside...coolest, costume, ever.

Your go to audition monologue/song: My favorite audition piece is "What is it About Her" from Wild Party.  The last 16 bars of the song.  It's In-your-face belt music.  it commands the attention of everyone in the room.  As an audition piece should be.

Worst audition experience:  American Idol.  F@$! those people

If you could go back in time and catch any performer or show, what would they/it be?  Len Cariou and Angela Landsbury in Sweeney Todd, Brent Carver as Leo in Parade!, and Colm Wilkinson, Michael Ball, and Patti Lapone in Les Miserables.

Famous past stage or screen star(s) you would have loved to have performed with: Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. Dean Martin.  and those listed above and Brian D'Arcy James

Rent Spotlight Theatre 2010
(photo credit: Megan Swanson photography)
Actor/actress in the Phoenix area you'd love to perform with: There are so many talented and wonderful actors here in the valley I certainly cannot narrow it down. I hope that one day I will have a chance to perform with all of them at one point or another.

Your personal acting idols: Michael Ball and Daniel Day Lewis and Shia Lebouf.  I consider Daniel Day Lewis one of, if not the greatest actor of our generation.  I must say though, after watching Fury, Shia Lebouf is a force to be reckoned with, his performance in Fury was gut-wrenching and captivating at every single moment of the film and is one of the best performances I have ever seen.  Oscar-worthy.

Performer you would drop everything to go see:  Brian D'Arcy James in a heartbeat

Current/recent show other than one of your own you have been recommending to friends:   I LOVED Seminar at Actors Theatre.  The whole cast was superb with the incomparable David Barker commanding the stage with every breath and every line he gave.  Ron May did a terrific job with the play...truly outstanding show.  Bravo to them.

Favorite play(s):  Equivocation, hands down my favorite play,  though I just recently read another of Bill Cain's works 9 Circles and I could not stop reading it.

Favorite musical(s):  Parade! and bringing up a close second is Bridges of Madison County...the music is beautiful....

Some favorite modern plays/musicals: Last 5 years, True West...well I guess True West isn't all that modern...

Favorite showtune(s) of all time: Epiphany (Sweeney Todd), Empty Chairs at Empty Tables (Les Miserables), Old Red Hills of Home (Parade!), Soliloquy (Carousel), It All Fades Away (Bridges of Madison County)

Most listened song/music on your iPod/Phone? It All Fades Away (Bridges of Madison County)  

First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Primus; Sailing the Seas of  

Last good book you read: I haven't read many books lately.  the closest thing to a book that I have read lately was 9 Circles by Bill Cain....frightening and beautiful....loved every word


Guilty pleasure binge watching tv show:  Don't Trust the Bitch in Apt 23....James Van Der Beek plays an outrageous version of himself.....hilarious.

Last good movie you saw: Fury......absolutely incredible.  

Favorite movie: I have too many to list.  Fury is top of my list.  Along with We Were Soldiers and There Will Be Blood.... and of course, St. Elmo's Fire.

Peter Marinaro and Joseph Cannon in White Christmas, Phoenix Theatre 2013
(Photo courtesy of Phoenix Theatre)
Music/book/movie that makes you cry:  I'm a baby when it comes to emotion.  As a very dear friend said once about himself in a talkback, I will steal.. I'm emotionally incontinent.  The one that made me sob lately was Fury...but I cried at the beginning of the new Star Trek movie when James T Kirk's father sacrificed himself to save everyone on board...including his unborn child.  A father's ultimate sacrifice.  I'm tearing up right now just thinking who

Favorite restaurant in the Valley: The Vig

Favorite cities: I love Phoenix.  I love New Bern, NC and Seattle, WA and of course my hometown of Spokane, WA.

Sports teams you root for: GO STEELERS!!!!! and I also love the Cardinals because I live here and like to support the local team as much as possible UNLESS they play against the Steelers...Then I'm all BLACK AND YELLOW BLACK AND YELLOW

Something about you that might surprise people: I'm  an ordained Dudeist Priest.  I got it online because I am a HUGE fan of The Big Lebowski.

Special skills: I know how to clear a room full of people very quickly and with little's a gift...and a curse
Career you would want if not a performer:  I've done all sorts of things in my life...being an actor is by far the most fun, but the most rewarding of all the jobs I have had, was working in a Steel Yard as a forklift operator and steel slinger.  Talk about hard work...really good for the soul.  I came home every day filthy, exhausted, cuts on my arms from the sharp edges of steel sheets, sore from lifting hundreds of pounds of steel all day long...I never had a problem sleeping back then...

Best non-theatre job you've had: United States Marine.

Three things you can't live without: they know who they are..... :)

Words of advice for aspiring performers: Continue to be yourself. Strive to be the best at what you do.  Don't fall into cliques because theatre is supposed to be a place where everyone is welcomed with open arms...alas, I hate to say that there are a lot of cliques now....and not everyone is welcome anymore.  but new blood and young performers can change that.  Be OUTGOING, and LOVING to EVERYONE!!!! NOT just to those who like you...but to those who feels like outcasts...because for many of us, myself included, Theatre was/is our refuge from those who thought of us as strange because we think differently or are more emotional than others, or don't follow the mindless sheep.  WE THINK FOR kind and loving and never lose sight of where you came from, or how hard you worked to get to where you are.

What you love most about theatre in Phoenix:  Phoenix loves the arts and is supported by the community.  Theatre here has a deep rooted history of which you can see on every stage...

What you think needs to be changed/improved/different about theatre in Phoenix: I plead the fifth on this one..I hope you understand

And, the “Inside the Actors Studio” 10 questions:
1. What is your favorite word?   PLACES!

2. What is your least favorite word?  TRY
3. What turns you on?  Green eyes... a great butt and I LOVE a nice pair of breasts on a woman...  

4. What turns you off?  arrogance when there is no call for it.  and people who think they are smarter than me.

Sam Wiseman as Mercutio, Phillip Herrington as Romeo
 and Joseph Cannon as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet
at Theater Works, 2011 (Photo by Bo Allen)
5. What sound do you love?   I love hearing my children's laughter....always brings a smile to my face

6. What sound do you hate?   a leaf blower at 8AM on a Sunday Mornining...WORST...SOUND... EVER

7. What is your favorite curse word?   F**K...with C*nt coming in a close second.  

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?  Talent Agent  

9. What profession would you not like to do?  there isn't much.. I feel as though I could do anything if I put my mind to it...but I guess if I had to choose, it would be something that had to do with Spiders....I have an unnatural fear of spiders...

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?  What the f*ck are you doing here?? GO BACK! You aren't finished yet!

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