Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tío Louie Reporta: "Jane The Virgin" Star ANDREA NAVEDO Plays With OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY

HOLA is proud to present Tío Louie Reporta, where filmmaker and Executive Producer of Prime Latino Media, Louis Perego Moreno (affectionately known as Tío Louie) interviews actors and multimedia-makers in the business of show.

In this edition, Tío Louie interviews actress, producer, HOLA member (and HOLA Awards honoree) Andrea Navedo, where she talks of her role on The CW's "Jane The Virgin", winning an HOLA Award, and her role as actress and producer of the stage play Other People's Money, playing in New York this summer.

Can a proud Puerto Rican from the Bronx play an Irish woman in a small New England town? When I asked actor and acting coach Rosie Berrido to describe working on stage with Andrea Navedo– who not only plays the lead actor in this revival of Other People’s Money (directed by John Grabowski) but is also the co-producer of the theatrical production– she said, "I have only two words [to describe] Andrea– Wonder Woman".

With Gina Rodríguez on
The CW's "Jane The Virgin".
For a career that has stretched 20 years, she is most recently known for playing Xiomara Villanueva, mother of the title character (played by Gina Rodríguez) in The CW's "Jane The Virgin". Now she takes it up a notch making the jump from television to theater and turning the spotlight on a particular plotline resonating with so many today. Jerry Sterner, who wrote Other People’s Money in the 1980s, wove a tale of the infamous financial industry’s wheeling-and-dealings through a play about a Rhode Island wire and cable factory’s attempts to fend off a hostile takeover by a Wall Street financier. The play originally premiered in the West Village’s Minetta Lane Theatre in 1989 and in 1991 was made into a feature film starring Danny DeVito and Gregory Peck. Now, its revival is being co-produced by the production company Navedo owns, Nicava Entertainment, along with the Chelsea Repertory Company. Funny how life has a way of making a full circle as Andrea returns to the Chelsea Repertory Company where she trained as an actor at The Acting Studio. Here is my interview with her about her role as Kate Sullivan in this theatrical production and the journey that got her there.

Tío Louie: I can’t imagine that it wasn’t slightly intimidating to do a theatrical production of a project that was previously a 1991 film with Danny DeVito and Gregory Peck, directed by award-winner Norman Jewison that generated $25 million at the box office. How do you compete with that kind of pressure?

Andrea Navedo: I still have these moments where I’m like, "S---, what have I gotten myself into?" The playwright is deceased, but his two daughters are coming with their children. They are coming to see the play! You want to talk pressure? The lead character for which this project is scripted is Irish and I’m going against that as a Latina. Plus, my peers are coming to see the play.
TL: It’s challenging enough that you are producing for the first time, but on top of that you are acting in this play. Are you a glutton for punishment or embracing a new challenge at this stage in your professional life?

AN: I’m embracing a new challenge. There are several mornings when lying in bed, I’m wondering, Why am I not just chilling during hiatus from the TV series? Why not just lie around and get my nails done? Why not take my kids to camp? Am I paying enough attention to my kids… my husband? And there are times that I feel self-empowered. Doing a play was an idea in my head in January/February and here I am doing it. No one is 100% satisfied with all their choices.

TL: For a change the tables have turned on you. Rather than auditioning for a role, you actually cast the actors for this theatrical production? How was that experience?

AN: It was a great learning experience as an actor to learn what casting directors go through. It’s not about being the best actor necessarily. It’s about having the right sensibility, look and even height that came into play. My director wanted certain dynamics between two actors in conveying a power play with one being taller than the other. Sometimes it even came down to aesthetics and as an actor, I hated that. But these were important elements in delivering the story for the audience. In the future I will not be insulted when I don’t get a role. I was also shocked to see people come in who were not prepared– after years of beating myself for not being good enough. It even boils down to what they wore to the audition that sometimes impressed me or not. The roles are around Wall Street people and some actors came in suits and others came wearing jeans. It helps me envision you in the role depending on what you wore. One of the actors had read the entire play and it made a difference in what they delivered. You got to see who had training and who didn’t. That’s why my mantra is, Train, train, train. I am training myself by being part of this play.

With A.B. Lugo at the
2016 HOLA Awards.
TL: What did it mean for you to receive the 2015 HOLA Elizabeth Peña Breakthrough Artist Award?

AN: It meant a lot being recognized for "Jane the Virgin". But it took 20 years and all the work I have accomplished. Because of HOLA, I got one of my first, professional SAG jobs and it just came full circle. If someone had fast-forwarded years ago and said this was to happen, I would not have believed it.
TL: What $0.10-worth of advice [originally 2¢ for your thoughts, but increased by Tío Louie for inflation] do you have for a young person who yearns for fame and fortune and assumes that you have it all?

AN: Not to put value on numbers. The most important thing for a creative person is their training– that is nothing that can be taken away. You can be hot one day and not the other. Who knows what will happen to me after "Jane"? This could be my last gig. I have heard Dustin Hoffman wonders if he will ever work again. Study and train. The numbers on Twitter will not feed your soul. Doing this play feeds my soul and they are stepping stones. Your last step is when you die. Rita Moreno is still working.

Other People's Money starts performances on Friday, July 29, 2016 and runs until Sunday, August 14, 2016 at the Chelsea Repertory Theatre at Shetler Theatre 54, located at 244 West 54th Street (between Broadway and Eighth Avenue) in the theater district of midtown Manhattan. For more information, click here.

Louis E. Perego Moreno (Tío Louie)
Founder & Executive Producer of PRIME LATINO MEDIA, the largest network of Latino multimedia-makers and actors on the East Coast that hosts the PRIME LATINO MEDIA Salón, New York metropolitan area's only network gathering in which over 60 narrative & documentary filmmakers, programmers, casting agents, TV & digital media producers and actors have been interviewed. PRIME LATINO MEDIA is happy to partner with the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) on events that serve the Latino/Hispanic artistic community. An interactive content producer and educator who for the past 34 years has owned Skyline Features, a bilingual (English- and Spanish-language) multimedia and educational production company developing documentaries, television programming and advertising commercials featuring Latinos, Blacks, Women, Urban Youth and LGBT, he has produced 70 documentary shorts with 1,500 Latino and Black Youth. Producer/Director/Writer of documentary feature, Latina Confessions (2010) and airing on PBS nationally was co-producer on American Dreams Deferred (2012-2014).

Check out Louis E. Perego Moreno (Tío Louie) on Facebook (here and here), TwitterInstagramVimeo, and LinkedIn. To follow PRIME LATINO MEDIA on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram, click on the links in this paragraph.

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