I’ll drink to that! With Rachel Sussman

29 Oct

Welcome to “I’ll Drink To That” Ruby’s conversations with the future leaders of Broadway and beyond! Showbiz is in good hands with these brilliant and inspiring professionals.

Ruby sits down for a drink with the fabulous Rachel Sussman!

Rachel Sussman

Ruby: Where are we and what are we drinking?

Rachel: Oh we’re sharing a half carafe of pinot grigio at Chelsea Grille post-show.

What is your current job title?

I am a personal assistant to a philanthropist by day and a freelance producer at night. I also co-run the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) Student Leader Program and work with Dress Circle Publishing.

Whose career do you aspire to have?

Goodness, this is so difficult. Right now I really admire Maria Goyanes’ career–not only is she the Associate Producer at the Public, but she was also the Executive Director of 13P (before it imploded, that is). She has a keen eye and is committed to nurturing new work by emerging artists (she is a co-founder of the Public LAB) which I think is profoundly important. She’s a smart lady. One day I’d like to create a developmental lab in much the same vein.

What’s one of your most embarrassing theater memories?

One time I offered to hold Kelli O’Hara’s gum for her backstage right before she performed. She looked at me like I was crazy (which I probably was).

What’s one of your best theater memories?
Gosh, there are so many! Definitely the closing night of Joe Iconis’s Bloodsong of Love at Ars Nova where I had somehow finagled my way into being a production intern. After the final show, there was champagne and a cake decorated with the poster design. Everyone was chit-chatting and toasting until Joe sat down at the piano and began to play his song, “The Goodbye Song.” We all fell silent and just listened to him sing. Slowly, the entire theatre joined in and soon we were all rocking out. It was pure and organic magic. I live for moments like this in the theatre.
What book are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading this book called The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall about this woman named Stephen who falls in love with another woman (god forbid!). When it came out in 1928, it was immediately banned and, fun fact, brought about the most famous legal trial for obscenity in the history of British law. Seriously. The funny thing is, today we would hardly consider the story obscene for the plot is so subtle; everything is implied, but never declared. Still, it’s seen as one of the most influential contributions to gay and lesbian literature. Kudos, Radclyffe.

What book would you like to see made into a musical?

I think Mrs. Dalloway would be an intriguing project.

What is your current theatrical project?

I’m working on developing a benefit reading for early next year and an album release concert for my friend Rob Rokicki next month.

What show are you currently recommending?
PigPen Theatre Co’s The Old Man and the Old Moon because it is so innovative–they incorporate shadow puppets, found objects, and folk music to tell this beautiful tall tale about an old man on a journey to find his love.
What is one of your most prized theater possessions?
I have an original Follies LP on display in my bedroom.
Where do you keep your playbills?

In binders filed alphabetically, of course!

Thanks for the chat, Rachel. Cheers!

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