Artist Interview: Alison Burns

Alison Burns has been an actress at TBPAC since 2005, performing in shows such as, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Cigar City Chronicles, Christmas Cabaret, Jewtopia, Boston Marriage, Waist Watchers (in which she wrote an original score) and Respect. She serves as a musical theater teacher at the Patel Conservatory and has written and directed eight original musicals with the school. Alison is also the resident choreographer for the Jaeb Theater and her work has been seen in HATS! The Musical, Christmas Cabaret, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Key.Pin It Real and Respect. Her favorite role to date: Maureen in the national tour of the Broadway musical RENT. Burns is a graduate from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

This is the first time I’ve had the chance to work with Alison for a real show in any capacity. We did however have a lot of fun reading opposite one another as Alice and Jack/White Knight in the Wonderland staged readings earlier this year. 🙂 I sent her a few questions via email the other day …

For those not yet in the know, tell us a little bit about the character(s) you play.

I play Anna. A young lesbian woman who is pregnant with her best gay friend’s baby. She lives with both the “baby’s daddy” and her partner, Ruth, and together they have 3 imaginary children as well. One of whom she has created; Cecil. (I’ll leave it there for now… get the minds goin’)

Has this been your first experience working on a Paula Vogel play?

Yes. It has been challenging, yet very fun! Her characters have such extreme personalities.

I know for sure that this isn’t your first experience being directed by Karla Hartley. How many is this for you now and what’s your favorite thing about being directed by Karla?

Let’s see… This will be show number … Seven!

I cannot say enough good stuff about Karla Hartley. She is by far, one of the most talented and driven directors I’ve ever worked with. I love the clear vision she brings to a process, the way she communicates that vision so that the entire ensemble is on board, and all the while she keeps the creative process alive by being open to the actor’s ideas!

Over the years I’ve seen you do literally just about everything – you’ve killed it in musicals like Rocky Horror and stolen the show in straight plays like Boston Marriage. I’ve seen you teach children, choreograph, write songs. Did you always aspire to be such an all-around theater artist? Has anything really helped prepare you for that kind of diversity in your work or do you just take things as they come to you?

It’s funny, I never really think about all the different things I do. I do just kind of take it as it comes.

I come from a family of performers, so It’s always been there. I’ve been singing, acting, writing, and dancing my whole life!

I’m lucky to be in a place where I can develop all of those disciplines.

You have a beautiful daughter. Has motherhood helped you in preparing for this role at all?

YES! I used to laugh when I heard people say, “You’ll understand when you have one of your own.” But it’s soooo true! I can now really pull from real life experiences.

What’s your favorite moment in the show and why?

Ooooh. That’s tough. I have to say, I love the whole “Cecil death scene”. The intensity and raw emotion behind it all is very cool! But, I also love the “Henri death scene” … for those same reasons!

What do you think it is about this show that people want to/need to see?

It’s super entertaining and yet it still has some very touching and poignant moments in it.

Everyone can relate to some part of this… because everybody has a little crazy in them.



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