Full given name: Jeanne T. Arrigo. It was Jeanne Louise Arrigo before I got married, but I took "Thornsberry" as my middle name rather than changing my last name, and so my professional name is now Jeanne T. Arrigo. Don't ever forget the "T" or you'll hear about it :-)
Song: "By My Side"
Where you were born/where you were raised: Born near St. Louis, MO and grew up about an hour from there. My family (mom, dad, two brothers) moved to a small, 7 acre farm in Moscow Mills, MO when I was 12. Dad still lives there, and both brothers live closer to him than I do. Mom just died March 10 - less than 6 months ago - and I can't yet think about home, Dad, my family - without thinking she is still there, too.
Special skills: Guitar, hand-percussion, baking (I make a killer banana-nut-dark chocolate chip bread, and a phenomenal cherry-pie, crust and all!), crochet.
Something you're REALLY bad at: This list could be oh, so long. Maybe I'll do just the top 10:
1 - being patient. 2 - tolerating frustration gracefully. 3 - whistling a tune (I can't whistle unless it involves my fingers in my mouth and is a "wolf whistle"). 4 - driving when late to an appointment. 5 - withholding tears during a confrontation. 6 - cleaning any portion of the house regularly (just ask my husband, who unfortunately ends up doing most of it). 7 - recognizing that my mom is no longer on this planet. 8 - staying off Facebook when I should be doing something else. 9 - practicing monologues regularly. 10 - Warrior III and Chair poses in Yoga.
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations as a young actor? My high school drama teacher (David Surber), college acting professors (Michael & Candace Pufall), Meryl Streep. That was all so long ago, you know; I am realistically no longer a "young actor," though in my mind I still am!
Current Chicago show you have been recommending to friends: Boss; okay, I know that's tv, but it's shooting locally. I'd say Eastland since I was in it for two months, but it's closed. Unfortunately, I haven't seen many shows due to having been in that show full time and now in rehearsals. But, in the near future I plan to see Steep's Moment, Timeline's 33 Variations, and Lookingglass's Metamorphosis.
Favorite Chicago neighborhood: I lived in Andersonville for so long so I still have a soft spot for it and go there to shop and eat.
You personal acting idols: Robin Wright; Julia Louis Dreyfus; Kate Winslet; Cate Blanchett; Diane Lane; Julianne Moore; Holly Hunter; Frances McDormand; Colin Firth; Tom Hanks; Edward Norton; Sean Penn; Daniel Day-Lewis; Philip Seymour-Hoffman; Laurence Fishburne; and of course Robert DeNiro and Meryl Streep.
MAC or PC? MAC; don't be silly.
Most played song on your iPod: I don't have an iPod, actually! On my iPhone, I am most often listening to books, as that is the only way I get to "read." But when I do listen to music, it is most often standards or singer/songwriters (both those who are famous, and those who are not but are personal friends). I do have a couple Pandora channels which might give you some insight: Bruce Springsteen; Jackson Browne & Bonnie Raitt; Frank Sinatra/Tony Bennett/Tommy Dorsey swing; Jonatha Brooke; and Ellis Paul.
Performer you would drop everything to go see: That's hard, because I've never done this. Maybe those who would come closest would be Jonatha Brooke and Ellis Paul.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Do you mean, like, wasting hours on Facebook?
Three favorite cities: New York! CHICAGO! Boston!
First stage kiss: High school, during Annie Get Your Gun. I was terribly nervous about it, and it hasn't gotten much better since then.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: Although I always loved acting/singing/performing through high school and college, I dropped out of pursuing performing after grad school, when I got a full time "real" job. However, in the winter of 1997/98, I saw Rent and then shortly thereafter, Les Miserables (both Broadway in Chicago), and I realized I could not continue to work a day job full time, which drained me, did nothing to fulfill me, and disallowed the more full-time pursuit of my dream.
Most challenging role you have played onstage: "Chloe" in Lips Together, Teeth Apart because there was sooooo much dialogue, it was so fast-paced, and I barely ever left the stage, plus the costume changes were very fast and there was a plethora of props which were mainly handled by my character.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: Wish I could have played, "Puck" in Midsummer ... but I'm too tall and now, too old. Would still like to play the Emcee in Cabaret.
Leading lady role you wish you could play: Wish I could have played "Ophelia" in Hamlet, but I'm too old!
Three things you can't live without: Family. Friends. Music. (and I have to say two more - Chocolate and Sushi)
"I'll never understand why…": It usually takes huge mistakes to learn and change.
See Jeanne in The Brown Paper Box Co.'s production of GODSPELL September 20 - October 7, 2012 at Collaboraction Studio 300 in the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 North Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. For tickets and additional information, visit brownpaperbox.org.
Reefer Madness! The Musical is becoming something of a tradition for The Brown Paper Box Co. After last year's thrillingly successful 4/20 remount at Studio BE, the exec staff decided to take this subversive holiday and make this show an annual event. The second annual production will be a late-night staged reading at the newly renovated Stage 773 following Street Tempo's production of Little Shop of Horrors. See both and make it an evening of cult classics.
But Reefer's not the main purpose of today's entry ... though tickets can be purchased here lickity split. Snag 'em while you can: there are only 150 seats!
The Brown Paper Box Co. is proud to announce Patrick J. Butterfield and Charlie Sheets as new Artistic Associates to our ever-growing troupe. Charlie first designed the show poster for To Tree's world premiere this past winter and recently designed this year's Reefer Madness! poster. His skills and talent is a warm addition to help unify our company's 'look.' Patrick was the Production Assistant for And Then They Came for Me in 2010, in our ensemble for all Reefer Madness! incarnations, and helped in the casting process of To Tree. A jack of all trades if there ever was one.
The executive staff is thrilled to have these two passionate, talented, and giving gentleman join Katie and Ian as Artistic Associates.
Up next ... photos and thoughts from Reefer's first rehearsal. Stay tuned!
Yep, you read that correctly. We are thrilled to announce three bouncing new additions to our theatre company - the incomparable Ian Anthony, Katie Colby, and David Lipschutz! (Disclaimer: incumbents may not actually be bouncing.) These brilliant and talented people have contributed fantastic things to our productions, helped us form our "identity" as a company, and gave (and continue to give) us loads of support. and it seemed like it was about time to make our relationship "official." (Yes, even Facebook-official!) Ian, Katie, and David are The Brown Paper Box Co.'s first Artistic Associates, and we feel so honored to have them on our team!
Thanks to the University of Illinois's hands-on Theatre program, The Brown Paper Box Co. was formed with a do-it-yourself mindset - a notion of starting from scratch, building theatre from the ground up, and keeping onstage moments simple and honest.
During our first production, James Still's And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, the simple but important task of transporting the props, costumes, and set pieces became a key inspiration in developing our company's concept. Little things like scripts, hats, candles, and flashlights found themselves being stored and transported in cardboard boxes and plastic milk crates. This rough-and-tumble, bare-essentials feeling bled into The Brown Paper Box Co.'s mission statement: to create thought-provoking and accessible theatrical experiences without the glitz of overproduction.
I always wanted the "Co." in The Brown Paper Box Co.'s name to conjure up an image of a place, a building, a factory, churning out and distributing a product. A product that is sturdy, functional, original, and, if anything else, easy to transport.
Starting a theatre company from the ground up with Anna, Michelle, and Zev has taken time, patience, and gumption (are the kids still saying that, '"gumption?"), but it's been worth it. Working with a small team of people you know, love, and trust fosters the tightest of collaborations.
--M. William Panek
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