Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Moonie Moving On: Lisa Peers

Moonie Lisa Peers, here with David Curley

Long-time Moonie Lisa Peers is moving, and we thought we'd get a little Lisa Peers retrospective before she went. Lisa kindly answered my questions about her tenure as a Moonie and her future plans:

How did you come upon 42nd St. Moon?
Juliette Morgan and I were in the same year in the American Conservatory Theater training program back in the early 1990s, and Dan Johnson was a year ahead of us. Juliette told me about this great musical theater company that specialized in old musicals; Dan had just done one or two shows with them, and Juliette was getting ready to do her first. I went to my first audition there and fully expected to be anointed the next Ethel Merman. Instead, Greg corrected my lyrics when I sang "Bewitched." Thankfully, he forgave me, cast me in "Goodtime Charley" as Bill Fahrner's mother ... and soon enough, I performed Ethel's role in "Girl Crazy," with Bill playing my husband. (If I stick it long enough, I assume Bill will some day play my father ...)

What turned you into a Moonie regular?
The easy answer is, I just kept showing up! 42nd Street Moon specializes in the shows that suit my vocal range, performing style, and sense of humor, so I was bound to worm my way into at least one show each season. I've done a dozen productions, at least six fundraisers, a cabaret and two CD projects with the company. I got my Equity card thanks to Greg giving me a chorus contract for "On a Clear Day." I was the organization's first office manager and helped with the move to Moon Space. Hell, I even did three shows and a CD while pregnant with my daughter, Davis. How could I not be a Moonie after all that?

What was your favorite show and favorite role?
I gotta say, "Out of This World" was just that. It had a stellar script,
nifty score, and a professionally hysterical cast. Everyone in it got his or her moment to shine. The audience ate it up; it never got old. I got to wear a great hat. I got to jitterbug with David "Mars" Miailovich. Getting drunk and propositioning Darlene Popovic every night was a dream come true. And, having Isadora written with me in mind was an honor and a gift.

Which former Moonies do you miss?
Are Moonies every truly gone? It seems like we all come back into orbit at some point. I'd love to work with Lesley Hamilton again, if for no other reason that to let people see us both in the same room together to prove that we're two different people. And Richard Pardini - whether playing a befuddled Topekan in Russia or Tallulah Bankhead - always makes me laugh to the point of embarrassment.

What sends you to Michigan?
The move is for a lot of grown-up reasons. My partner's parents and sisters live within five minutes of our new house. My family is on the East Coast, and I wanted to be less than a day's travel away now that Mom is 80. My kids need a back yard and a good school within walking distance. We sold our house in a seller's market and bought in a buyer's market. All the pieces fit together.

What are your theater plans?
Actually, what may be next is a fundraiser concert in Toledo with ...
Juliette! (See, I told you we all come back into orbit!) Juliette's husband Bill Quinlan started a professional theater company, so this will likely be my introduction into the Midwestern theater scene. After that, if I don't find a friendly theater company specializing in musicals from the Golden Era, I will likely go back to doing cabaret. I will certainly have plenty of material.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane, Lisa...we'll miss you and best of luck in Michigan, Toledo, and all the Midwestern cabarets you can find! :)

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