|photo: Christapher Gibson|
Name: Virginia Olivieri
Where you were born and or raised: I was born in Bordeaux, France and moved to the states when I was 3. Raised in Arizona
What your parents did/do for a living: My father owned a restaurant and wine company
Family/Children: 3 awesome kids (my ducks!) Dylan (14), Nick (8), and Gabrielle (6)
Day job/part time job (if not acting/directing full time): I work for an amazing magazine called Drive Guide here and in Dallas, TX. I am also the promotions coordinator for Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre.
First show you ever saw: The Nutcracker. I was 5.
|photo: Wade Moran|
The one performance you attended that you will never forget: Last season I saw 50 Shades of Felt. It was by far the funniest and craziest show I have ever seen! I laughed harder than I ever have I think!
First stage kiss: I honestly don’t remember! In high school I think…
Best stage experience you’ve had so far acting? I have been very blessed to have had some great moments on stage with some incredibly talented people. But I have to say that I got the opportunity to play my dream role (twice!) of The Wicked Witch of the West and it was just incredible. There is a moment where I go to choke Dorothy and I am completely lost in the moment. I felt myself completely go away and was consumed by this being who was so full of hate, jealousy, and vengeance. It was scary and exhilarating all at the same time!
Directing?: Diary of Anne Frank was a challenging and difficult show to put together to say the least. My co-director, Timothy Pittman, and I had a goal and a very direct vision when producing and directing this play. Stop that hate. Bring about awareness. Make people understand the pain and torture these people lived and died in. What Anne, her family, and those of Jewish faith at that time went through is something our generation will never truly comprehend or feel. It was an honor to have the opportunity to present something so powerful. Many of my friends brought their children to see the show. One of them told me months later that her 10 year old son was so moved by the production that he researched more about the holocaust and did his class report on it. For me the fact that one person was moved, a child no less, and will carry on the story is more success than I could ever ask for in a show.
|Ginger Muth and Rick Davis in Harvey at Desert Stages - 2014|
(photo: Wade Moran)
Most challenging role you have played onstage? Mollie Ralston from The Mousetrap. Her emotional arch from top of the show to curtain was one hell of a ride! I have always loved the play and I had a great director, Mark Clemente, who trusted me with her and gave me so many tools to explore every aspect of her psyche.
|From L-R: DeJean Brown, Olivieri, Tristin Wood, |
Katy Callie, J. Kevin Tallent, Keaton Honaker,
Clayton Marlowe, and Donna Kaufman
The Mousetrap - Desert Stages - 2013
(photo: Wade Moran)
Most challenging show you’ve directed?: Diary of Anne Frank
Leading role you've been dying to play: Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Leading role of the opposite sex you wish you could play: Fagan in Oliver. Such a great character!!
Show you are dying to direct: Glengarry Glen Ross (coming Spring of 2016!)
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I am very superstitious and I have to get dressed the same way in the same space every time. I tend to have a ritual come up organically before each show and I stick with it as well.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: During Dial M for Murder while on the phone my character gets strangled, turned around slammed on the desk, and then I stab the killer with scissors that are set on the desk. My fantastic fight director, Rick Davis, choreographed the scene to be fool proof so I nor the killer, played by Michael LeSueur, would get hurt. Well the idiot that I am- one night I threw the phone receiver the wrong way and it landed on the desk. I saw it but Michael couldn’t because you know he’s trying to strangle me and all, he turns me around and my back lands on top of the receiver. Horrific pain to say the least. The good news is I didn’t break character, or the phone, and just kept screaming and crying. We went to intermission right after that scene so at least that was a silver lining!
|Olivieri in The Wizard of Oz -|
Don Bluth Front Row Theatre
(photo: Lori Kunzelman)
Best costume ever: Wicked Witch of the West! It's an incredible black dress with green trim and a corset top over it that has green lining underneath. Corinne Hawkins, our costumer, has done a great job with it.
Worst audition experience: I was at auditions for a major theatre company. I was there for straight plays only. The artistic director asked me to sing. I politely declined and told him that I don’t have a strong singing voice and didn’t have a song prepared. He insisted and insisted. So I just randomly pulled a song out of my head and the accompanist shouts “Hey I know that one!” Yeah no he didn’t. I was off key. He was off key and I didn’t get called back. Shocker.
If you could go back in time and catch any performer or show, what would they/it be? Jimmy Stewart in anything he has done!
Famous past stage or screen star(s) you would have loved to have performed with: Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor, and of course Jimmy Stewart!
Actor/actress in the Phoenix area you'd love to perform with and/or direct: Heather Fallon, Heather Fallon, Heather Fallon, and oh did I mention Heather Fallon?!?!
Your personal acting idols: Cate Blanchett and Carol Burnett
Favorite play(s): Noises Off!, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Oleanna, The Mousetrap
Favorite musical(s): Young Frankenstein, Wizard of Oz, Rock of Ages
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: The entire Rock of Ages Broadway album!
Most listened song/music on your iPod/Phone? I’m a rock kind of girl (Megadeth, Metallica, Skillet) but I love some good house music, pop, and showtunes.
|Olivieri in Dial M for Murder -|
Desert Stages 2014
(photo: Heather Butcher)
Must-see TV show(s): Sons of Anarchy. Best show ever! And my boyfriend got me into Game of Thrones. I might breakup with him over it because it's so good yet so emotionally damaging!
Guilty pleasure binge watching tv show: Anything with Real Housewives in the title!
Favorite movie: Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz
Music/book/movie that makes you cry: I cry at commercials so this could be a long list….
Favorite restaurant in the Valley: White Chocolate Grill, Green, and Pita Jungle
Favorite cities: New York, Paris, San Francisco
Sports teams you root for: New York Rangers (hockey), New York Giants (football), New York Yankees (baseball), Phoenix Suns (basketball)
Something about you that might surprise people: I’m fluent in French and taught it for six years. And people are always shocked by my choice in music.
Career you would want if not a performer/director: Lawyer
Worst non-theatre job you've had: Serving at a college bar
Best non-theatre job you've had: Being a mom
Three things you can't live without: My children, coca cola, and Target stores
Words of advice for aspiring performers: You are your own competition and your own enemy. There will always be someone prettier, better looking, stronger singer, etc. Show the world the best of who you are, truthfully and honestly. It will make a complete difference in your presentation. And know your skill set. I’m never going to be Elphaba. And I’m cool with it.
|Olivieri in The Wizard of Oz - Don Bluth Front Row Theatre|
(Photo: Lori Kunzelman)
1. What is your favorite word? Yes!
2. What is your least favorite word? It’s a bad one….
3. What turns you on? Someone who is authentic and laughter
4. What turns you off? Pretentiousness and ignorance
5. What sound do you love? My children laughing
6. What sound do you hate? My children, or anyone else’s children, whining
7. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck and jackhole
8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Nurse
9. What profession would you not like to do? Being a clown (major coulrophobia here!)
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Just don't burn the place down ok?