Michael LaMasa makes his off-Broadway debut as everyone's favorite glaring, pussycat Dorothy Zbornak in off-Broadway's LoL comedy That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody. A modern day renaissance man, LaMasa also writes, directs, performs as alter ego Dottie Maraschino, and toured the country with Bye Bye Birdie & 42nd Street. BroadwayBox caught up with LaMasa to talk about taking on the iconic Bea Arthur role, his dream of playing Mrs. Peacock in Clue, and how fitness changed his life.
1. My desert island Golden Girls episode would have to be:
If I had to pick only ONE episode, I would get the most bang for my buck and go for a sensible montage episode (Duh!). I'd maybe give you Season Three's "Golden Memories" Part one or two... But if I had to choose a regular episode, it would probably be "Journey to the Center of Attention" where Dorothy infiltrates Blanche's home turf at The Rusty Anchor. Any opportunity to see Bea Arthur sing "What'll I Do?" is one I jump at.
2. The first thing I did when I found out I would be playing Dorothy full-time in That Golden Girls Show!:
I asked the production team if they were serious and whether or not this was actually happening, then leapt out of my chair and hugged everyone in the room. Then I called my mom.
3. My Golden Girl & Muppet spirit animals are:
My Golden Girl spirit animal changes... I spent a long while as Dorothy, then drifted into a Blanche place for a while (I mean, who hasn't...?), and currently I'm back to feeling Dorothy as my true spirit animal. Now, my Muppet spirit animal is much harder to pin down... I'd have to say one of my favorites is Sam Eagle. And I'm only now realizing how similar he is to Bea Arthur...
4. The thing I love most about my Dorothy puppet:
I love this puppet's ability to be so expressive without having to do ANYTHING. I walk onto the stage with her, point her eyes in the direction of another puppet, and it gets a laugh because of how phenomenally expressive she is and what an incredible job Joel Gennari did with designing and building her. Bea Arthur had such a talent for those dry, scathing looks and this puppet captures that so perfectly.
5. One thing assistant directing Bullets Over Broadway on tour taught me about myself:
Working with Susan Stroman and Jeff Whiting (two of Broadway's best) really showed me the power of positivity and what that does when displayed by those at the top of the food chain. No matter what was going wrong or what technical issues were happening behind the table, whenever Stro or Jeff would get on the mic or stand up in front of that cast, there was nothing but clear and positive energy coming from them. No one would ever see them upset or angry or projecting any kind of negativity towards the cast in any way and that example they set trickled down from the top into every single member of that company. It's something that will stay with me forever.
6. Movie I love so much I know every single word:
Clue. I'm looking forward to playing Mrs. Peacock in "That Clue Show - A Puppet Parody" (hint hint).
7. Two things I am most passionate about outside of performing:
I am incredibly passionate about diet and fitness, which is a new thing for me. Changing my life to incorporate a healthy diet and regular exercise routine completely altered the way I feel and see myself every day and it's been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I'm also incredibly passionate about my family. They all live in California, but there's not a day that goes by that I'm not catching up with my dad or texting with my sister, or helping my mom navigate her iPhone...
8. Play or musical that completely rocked my world the first time I saw it:
The Scottsboro Boys blew my brain right out of my head. I have never in my life seen a story of that severity and grit told in such a way. Between the music and the direction (and that incredible choreography), I was hooked from the start. It's not a show I could ever be in, but it's a show I could watch again and again.
9. Some divas I am serving you as Dottie Maraschino:
As Dottie Maraschino, I'm serving you a little Carol Burnett, a little Beth Leavel, thrown in a dash of Keely Smith, and topped it off with generous helping of Bette Midler.
10. Cheesecake: yay or nay?
Get to off-Broadway's DR2 Theatre before January 1 to see Michael LaMasa and his fantastic Dorothy Zbornak in 'That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody'.