You’re gearing up for a show that’s all about love.
It’s called “Matters of the Heart,” and it deals with several aspects of love. Mother’s love, love loss, desperate love, deluded love.
Is it liberating to do a concert like this and sing any songs you want?
Absolutely. Basically, you’re getting to sing stuff that you might never do in a show. . . . You’re never the boss unless you’re doing your own show.
Is it more nerve-racking knowing that you’re responsible for all the decisions that make the show?
I don’t know if nerve-racking is the right word, because everything is nerve-racking, even if I’m not responsible for the content. Even if I’m just the messenger. Audiences make up their minds on how they want to receive information, and all we can do is put it out there.
Do you still get nervous before you go onstage?
I still get nervous. I do something before every show and I’m very superstitious backstage, and if I forget to do something, I think about it onstage. And the other part is just trying to focus, to make sure I’m not going out there scattered.
I imagine it’s much harder to focus now than it was when you first started out, given the amount of available distractions nowadays.
It’s a sad state of affairs onstage. It’s not even just phones going off. It’s water bottles! I’ve had more experiences now with people squeezing the last drop out of a water bottle at a very intimate moment. That’s unbelievably distracting! In [“Sweeney Todd”], right before Tobias cuts Sweeney’s throat — probably the highest tension moment in the show — somebody threw ice back into a plastic cup. The entire audience bristled.
You’ve wanted to be in the theater since you were 4 years old, right?
Yes. I fell in love with the audience tap dancing downstage right. . . . I said in my head, “I can’t get in trouble up here. I can do whatever I want, and the audience will still smile at me.”
What performers did you admire when you were growing up?
Edith Piaf and Bette Davis are my two idols. To this day.
How about the up-and-comers? Any young actors out there who have something special?
There’s a lot of very good actors and actresses out there, [but] there’s less training and more crash and burns. It’s a much more intense public eye, and I don’t mean from an audience standpoint. I mean the media. Look at poor Lindsay Lohan! And Amanda Bynes! They’re both train wrecks. But why are they train wrecks? Were they not schooled in what it is to be in the public eye? Or is the public eye just too invasive? And Kate Middleton! [Four-letter-word-filled rant defending the duchess of Cambridge and deriding the paparazzi.]