Friday, April 12, 2013

faces // meet satomi

GlassesI don't know about you, but I love hearing understudy stories. Last minute saves, covering multiple roles, wide ranges of talent - what a job. I love it. I'm sure y'all remember the lovely Elizabeth, understudy for Christine on Broadway. Today, it's my pleasure to introduce you to her cast mate, understudy for both Carlotta and Madame Giry. Pretty wild.

Ladies and gentlemen….

meet: satomi hofmann
actress. carlotta and madame giry u/s, 
wardrobe mistress, confidante in phantom of the opera 
on broadway.

To start, introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do?
Hiya!  I'm Satomi Hofmann and I understudy Carlotta Giudicelli and Madame Giry in Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera.  When I'm not performing my understudy duties, I appear as the Wardrobe Mistress and Confidante.  Let me explain who those characters are.  The Wardrobe Mistress chases Carlotta and Christine around, dressing them whenever they have a costume change onstage (mostly in the first act).  No, I am not part of the wardrobe staff- it's a real role and I'm singing and acting with everyone else ;-)  The Confidante appears in Il Muto, the opera that is performed during the show.  I wear white make up, a huge dress, a very tall wig and I am blessed to have the only singing solo of the ensemble women.  Oh- and I giggle a lot and point and scream at the chandelier.

ConfidanteWhat was the first musical you ever saw?
Oh my goodness.... I honestly don't remember!  I grew up around music, going to theater, symphony, opera...  I was so fortunate!  But the musical that drew me to pursue theater as a career was Sunday in the Park with George, by Stephen Sondheim.

How long have you been with Phantom?
I started out in the Broadway company four(!) years ago.  I then left to join the Music Box Tour (of Phantom) and spent 15 months with them.  I then returned to the Broadway company and have been here ever since!

What are is something you enjoy about being an understudy?
Ooh, I love saving the day!!  I've gone on many times mid-show and it's just so thrilling to be thrust into the role unexpectedly.  Big fun.

As Carlotta, how does it feel to sing the first note at the opening of the show? 
Hmm….when I first started covering the role, well, terrifying.  You are completely exposed, there is no orchestra under you, and you are responsible for this tremendous change in energy.  But now, I just ADORE it!! It feels like I'm some wild animal biting into some juicy prey I've just run down:  triumphant!

Your career has been quite a ride, and you've done lots of different gigs.
Yes it has!

I have to ask: what was it like working with Michael Crawford and David Cassidy on EFX?
I adored them both, though for very different reasons.  I LOVED Michael's professionalism and attention to detail.  He demanded the same level of focus in every performance from himself as much as he did from those around him.  David was SO much fun- we spent a lot of time laughing!

You play a lot of instruments - which is you favorite?
Well, I started out on piano, so I can't help but favor it.  We don't have room for one in our current apartment and I miss it so much- it's always been a part of my life!  But it's a requirement for our next place, for SURE.

GiryOut of curiosity, how long did it take for you to learn to play spoons? (I'm wildly jealous)
Ha!  Well, I do love playing them too!!!  I learned from one of my dearest friends, the wildly talented Beth Mullaney, when we were playing in the all-female Celtic Rock band, Killian's Angels (they're still going strong in Las Vegas- check them out!).  Learning the basics was a cinch.  Gaining dexterity took some time and practice... of course;-)

What's your favorite thing about living in NYC?
I love that you ask this because I JUST had this conversation with some friends!  We were walking through Herald Square and saw that the Macy's Flower Show was going on; we immediately popped on the line and, within minutes, were surrounded by sheer beauty!  What I love about New York is that any given day, you can simply stumble on the most amazing source of unexpected joy:-)

What have been some of the challenges you've overcome as you've worked in this industry?
Trusting myself.  One hundred percent of the time, if something doesn't feel like it goes well- an audition, a note, a performance, a rehearsal- it's because I wasn't trusting myself.  Every time I have a wild success- I trusted myself and followed through with that trust.  It's kind of a hard thing to explain- you just have to feel it.

Who are your role models/heroes?
I have so many and for so many different reasons!  Interestingly enough, one of my favorite things I've learned about my role models and heroes is that they are flawed.  Sound odd?  Lemme 'splain:  all those people that I have idolized or admired at some point in my life- they are just as flawed as I am; they've messed up royally, they've made mistakes, blown auditions, put their foot in their mouth, questioned their judgement, disappointed other people...  Oh my stars, THEY'RE JUST LIKE ME!!!!  So maybe I'm not so bad after all ;-)

What do you enjoy doing on your days off?
As I'm writing this, I'm relaxing after the Cherry Blossom 10k race.  Sounds like a good time to me!

Anything else you'd like to share with us?
Nope!  This has been fun:)  Thanks!

Thank *you*! I loved getting to know you through this interview! Time for another trip to NYC so I can meet your in person. :) And now I have this irrepressible desire to learn the spoons. Family, watch out! Haha.

Thanks again for your time, and break a leg next Saturday when you go on as Carlotta (!!!!)

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