"Call Me Adam" chats with playwright, actor, and director Anthony Inneo about his new show All Her Faces: A Portrait of Dusty Springfield, an homage to Dusty’s talent and vocal versatility. It is a fast-paced rock concert that presents not only her famous hits but introduces many of her unknown songs. All Her Faces plays at Workshop Theatre Company's Main Stage (312 West 36th Street, 4th Floor, between 8th & 9th Avenue) in NYC from October 14-26. Click here for tickets!
For more on Anthony be sure to visit http://www.anthonyinneo.com!
1. From October 15-26, your show, All Her Faces: A Portrait of Dusty Springfield is being presented at Workshop Theater Company's Main Stage Theater in NYC. What are you looking forward to most about having this show, in it's current form, on it's feet? That it will work exactly as my blood, sweat 'n tears (to coin a phrase) and imagination predicted. The original version (to see if it had "legs") was 50 minutes with 16 songs and a very slim narrative; this version is 90 minutes with 32 songs which has been fleshed out, considerably, and is ready to be moved into a 299 seat Off-Broadway house.
2. What made you want to write a show celebrating Dusty Springfield's voice/music? Why did you want to write this show more as a concert as opposed to a bioptic piece? Short answer: I’m not interested in anyone’s dirty laundry; never was. I make that perfectly clear on the website and in press releases: I wasn’t interested in presenting her life. Anybody could write that today, especially with all the information available to us. I purposely decided to leave the troubled yet gifted singer to the voyeurs of Hollywood and create All Her Faces to celebrate a vocal instrument and its versatility which CANNOT be duplicated. The confidence Dusty exuded on vinyl was a facade that masked severe insecurities and addictions to drugs and bouts with self-mutilation and fear of losing her career if she was exposed as a Lesbian. Personally I think Lesbians should be very proud of Dusty and what she's done and the musical legacy she left all of us. Lesbians and Gays alike - particularly the young ones - should unite and come running to see this show, if only to found out how Dusty, by sheer talent and tenacity, raised the bar for people (like them and all of us) with an extraordinary talent way back in the 60’s and 70’s when it was not in vogue or fashionable.
3. Aside from All Her Faces: A Portrait of Dusty Springfield, being more of a concert piece, what made now the right time to present this show, considering the Off-Broadway show Forever Dusty just finished it's run in 2013? TIMING. I’m going to say this a lot, I guess. All Her Faces is not unlike any musical being presented on Broadway or Off. It is scripted and has a "book" with a plot that tells a story. To make that interesting, I placed it within the conceit of a rock concert. The other show was a prime example how the so-called "creatives" can fall into the trap of making all the mistakes a bio musical could make. Since 2005, I made it a point to know my competition; I knew every show and film that was being considered, written or performed about Dusty. So when the other show appeared at the New World Stages (which I saw three times), I had to put All Her Faces on hold and wait until the "dust" settled. Pun intended. Now is the perfect time to resurrect Dusty and show the world what she was really made of. I am constantly saying and will continue to say: All Her Faces is the only way you want to remember Dusty Springfield.
4. Since you are the writer and director of All Her Faces, how do you separate yourself from writer/director during the rehearsal process? Do you ever have trouble letting go of something as the writer, but as the director you know should be cut?
No. I’ve never had that problem. I’m one of the lucky ones, I guess. I know exactly what "hat" I’m wearing and when I’m wearing it. I’m constantly aware of what’s best for my babies and will adjust accordingly. Actually I’ve learned to rely totally on the creative process within ME - and it has served me well. I have just finished the final draft of a full-length dramedy that explores that very topic: "Orange Juice and Bagels." Of course, there are always tradeoffs that have to be made, but the project - no matter what it may be - will always (in my hands) come out the winner.
5. What excites you about having this cast help bring this show to life? They're new, they’re young, they’re talented, and by being present and working on the material, they’re helping me see beyond what I may have been thinking.
6. What do you relate to most about Dusty Springfield's music? How has it influenced your life? Her choice of material - the songs she chose to sing. Dusty didn’t compose; in fact I think she only penned one or two songs. During my research, I discovered that the songs she’d perform and record actually helped her tell her story - which BTW is how I found the "hook" that the lead singer guitarist, JESSE, uses her hit songs in the show to conjure her back to life.
7. What do you get from writing that you do not get from acting? As Writer - control over what’s being said, literally and figuratively, and being afforded the opportunity to add my personal take on a subject. As Actor - free to apply and express my most intimate FEELINGS through what the writer has written. When you think about it, both processes are the same and very liberating in their own way!
8. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright? I wasn’t "inspired," not in the true sense of the word. Well maybe I was in a way. 40 years ago, as an actor I became acutely aware of how I was being treated and rejected for the most inane reasons that one can imagine. This topic, in and of itself, is one of the MAJOR injustices I’ve written about in my screenplay trilogy: Thank You, Thank You, Too, and You’re Welcome. Anyway, I needed to find a way to express the pain I was harboring before I’d go completely bonkers, so I took to writing. I was in therapy at the time and showed some of the stuff to my doctor. The following week I anxiously returned to my session hoping to hear him say I had the makings of a Miller or Albee…instead all he said was, "Don’t stop writing." I knew exactly what he meant, so I continued and developed an absolute love for the craft, learning more about my strengths and weakness and my particular writing "style."
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? On what? Life? Writing? Acting? Relationships? What to eat? How to dress? I’ll assume you mean advice on writing. I was doing an awards ceremony show (as an actor) and the writer was well-known in TV & film & theater. So on our lunch break, I asked his forgiveness for interrupting and told him I was seriously thinking about writing and if he had any advice. He slowly (and I mean SLOWLY) lifted his pad in the air with one hand, then (just as SLOWLY) lifted his pencil in the air with the other hand and brought them together as in a very romantic "kiss." Then he said don’t go to any writing classes, just write. Find your own style and maybe then take a class or two on structure. Needless to say, that’s exactly what I did.
10. What have you learned about yourself from being a playwright/actor/director? That no matter what I’m doing in theater, being alive and creative is (as in life) a learning curve. And that as much as I think I’ve learned everything there is to learn - I know NOTHING compared to what lies ahead.
11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The power to heal.
12. If you could be any original Life Saver Flavor, which one would you be? I was never into Life Savers - except people who did it for a living. My favorite flavor, however, is Cherry. I can fall madly in love with a good homemade Cherry pie.
13. How do you want to be remembered? That I was kind - despite my faults.
Blessed with the best training, Anthony Inneo was a student of Sandy Meisner, Bob Modica, Uta Hagen, Mira Rostova, Lehman Engle, Terry Schreiber and Philip Burton (Richard’s father) for the classics.
He starred on Broadway as "Zach" in A Chorus Line, as well as London, Hawaii and on tour with Donna McKechnie. Off-Broadway roles range from "Polo" in A Hatful Of Rain, to "Lucky" in the original production of Dames At Sea. Anthony was prominently featured in roles on As The World Turns, All My Children, Guiding Light, One Life To Live, and Law and Order - SVU. He also starred in a never-be-released independent film, Ingrid.
As Playwright, The Center Ring was successfully produced in LA and is being adapted into a musical and looking for a composer/lyricist. His Evaluating Woody was produced at the Mint Theatre - Jack Nicholson is on his "Bucket List" to play the lead.
Whether he’s producing, directing, performing or writing, Anthony’s bio is…"to be continued."