Between the Sheets with Romy Nordlinger
Romance Narrators: Let's talk about your critically acclaimed show PLACES. Where and when can we see it? What can we expect?
Romy: Thanks so much for asking about my show PLACES Erin! It’s a multimedia solo show based on the life of Alla Nazimova. You might be asking ‘Who the heck is she?’ and that’s fantastic as it’s the reason I wrote about her and the logline is – ‘Probably the greatest star you’ve never heard of’. Nazimova studied under the most famous acting teacher in history, Stanislavsky and in 1905 she fled Czarist Russia to become one of Broadway’s biggest stars. In fact, the Shubert’s named a Broadway theatre after her and she made them 4 million dollars (that’s 400 million dollars today) in sold out runs. She then went on to become one of the highest paid silent film stars in history and was under contract with Selznick for a five year 13, 000 dollar a week contract – 3000 more than Mary Pickford! That’s 300 thousand a week now. But it was her work as the first female director and producer in Hollywood that was really particularly revolutionary and way ahead of her time. Absolutely unheard of. She was also bisexual and had a mansion dubbed ‘The Garden Of Alla’ that hosted some of the wildest parties in Hollywood’s history – that went on for years – with the best of the dressed - and undressed in tinsel town. There the literati included legends like Valentino, Dietrich, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker and on and on. It was amazing! But her story was virtually erased from the history books. The Hays code and the boys club did her in and she was silenced for being ahead of her time in her sexuality and her visionary work as a director/writer. I am enjoying helping to put that right! One of the premises of the play is that we are our stories. Nazimova’s story was stolen from her. I’m going to be bringing PLACES to Dixon Place in NYC on February 26th followed by the beautiful and very historic Players Club. It’s a gorgeous show with sumptuous music by Nick T. Moore and blisteringly beautiful video by Adam Jesse Burns. I hope you can make it! www.placestheplay.com
Romance Narrators: Everybody get your tickets!! Last year you took this show to the Edinburgh Fringe Theater in Scotland. Was it a blast? Did you eat haggis?
Romy: I absolutely fell in love with the Scottish people – a heckuva lot more than the haggis for sure. Not that haggis was terrible but I’m glad I tried it and I probably won’t need to do that again. The Scottish folks (in general) are very open, funny, frank, feisty and down to earth. My kind of folks. I was really fortunate to share a dressing room with some of the greatest Scottish actors in film and theatre – and the kindest. We had such a blast as we were there for a month together in the dressing room in this gorgeous historical building in Newtown (The Newtown Theatre) and it was like walking back into the 19th century. Just gorgeous. I will really treasure that memory and we still keep in touch – in fact I hope they read this as they’ve been threatening to come visit NYC! Edinburgh itself is as charmingly beautiful as they all say – although it’s BUSY during the festival – like Times Square on steroids! Everyone should visit or perform in Edinburgh Fringe at least once.
Romance Narrators: Agreed. So… you juggle audiobook narration, stage acting and playwriting too. Talk to us about how the mediums inform each other.
Romy: Yep, I’ve got a big mouth that’s for sure! I truly feel that all acting, whether in audiobooks or on stage/film is the same. You inhabit the characters you are playing – and it’s all a joy! I also think that the different aspects of those varied mediums really help strengthen you as a performer in general. I find that when I need to ‘cold read’ for something in a script for stage or film (that’s when you haven’t seen the script prior to performing it – that my experience as an audiobook narrator makes me really have much keener skills to make quick choices in characterization and be able to handle the verbiage without tripping on my tongue. Likewise with narration. My work and training in theatre helps me understand how to inhabit a character’s mind and heart – but only with my voice. Although I must confess, oftentimes in the booth I find myself gesticulating or making faces like the character would make. It just happens. It’s all acting. And boy are we lucky folks that get to help bring characters to life!
Romance Narrators: Tell us about the HAUNTING DANIELLE Series by Bobbi Holmes and Anna J. McIntyre. FIFTEEN books and counting, huh??
Romy: I LOVE this series and if you haven’t heard it you’re going to fall in love with it! I’m actually recording #16 thru 20 now! It’s a beautifully written paranormal cozy mystery series that’s not a scary ghost story – but definitely a ghost story. It’s a love story and it’s charming and funny and always involves a wonderful murder twist. There’s something for everyone in these books and they are ALWAYS so varied in their plots. I often marvel at how the author Bobbi Holmes – also known as Anna J. McIntyre keeps coming up with such fresh and marvelous plots that are always so moving. You really get involved with the characters and they are so unique. It’s truly an amazing experience as I’ve lived them so long I feel very intimate with all of them – and there are always new characters introduced in each book too. I kind of think I too have fallen a little in love with the protagonist of the book Walt Marlow, much the way the heroine of the book Danielle has (I must confess). It’s an absolute joy to narrate. I hope it never ends!
Romance Narrators: You've narrated some books in the Self Help realm: INTELLECTUAL FOREPLAY, TRANSPARENCY, and THE END OF SEX, to name a few. Have you ever found that working on these titles has affected your approach to your own life?
Romy: Well hopefully the End of Sex will never happen to me but….yes they do enter your life. I always learn something from a book I narrate. I don’t always agree with every viewpoint but there’s always something to take away. I think we as audiobook narrators are really fortunate to read so many varied points of views because a lot of times we might be narrating something that we may have never read on our own accord. It’s helped me open my mind to a lot of things! I’ve narrated some really racy things under my pseudonym – and oh yeah, it opens your mind!
Romance Narrators: We noticed you've narrated some titles that combine love and mystery and... food! THE KENSINGTON PALACE CHEF MYSTERIES... SEDUCTION AND SNACKS... Do you happen to be a foodie? And while you’re at it, tell us, what is your idea of the perfect dinner date?
Romy: I’m a terrible cook so does that disqualify me as a foodie? Actually I might be a good cook if I really put my mind to it – or at least an ok one. I just find myself so busy with other things that by the time I get to the kitchen I’m just too darn hungry to commit to cooking something wonderful. I have often wished I was one of those folks that found that cooking helped them relax. I do LOVE to eat at restaurants though and if I could have my pick I’d always go to a French bistro. In fact I finally went to Paris two years ago and absolutely fell in love with it – and the food! Oh my God the food is SO good. And it is so charming – and the people were so friendly. Really unlike everything I’d sort of been warned about. But I do love those comfort foods like mac n cheese and anything pasta! My husband is British so I really did totally relate to the Kensington Palace Chef Mysteries. That is a fun series – but it makes me SO hungry! The description of the food – particularly the pies the lead character makes – is making my mouth water even now! My husband could live off of his fish n’ chips and baked beans on toast – and marmite. Now that’s something that you really need an acquired taste for. Oh my goodness, yuck! Please pardon me if you’re British and reading this and like marmite. It’s definitely a cultural thing I think.
Romance Narrators: You and your husband collaborate in the theater. What's it like working with the one you love?
Romy: My husband Adam Burns is the love of my life – and he’s also a great author in his own right. You’ll be hearing a lot more about him soon I’m sure as he’s got an amazing dystopian sci-fi book coming out. Working with him is great. It’s also kind of like….what we do. We started writing and collaborating shortly after we met and have been doing it ever since. So of course there are bumps and some days are easier than others in anything. If one of us is still into a project and the other person is like ‘I’m watching TV now we need to switch gears’ ya know, that happens. But it’s our mutual love of creating art that first brought us together and it’s kind of like our children. The projects we create are our kids. Sometimes they get on your nerves, but you always always love them.
Romance Narrators: You were in the film FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS with Meryl Streep! What was that experience like?
Romy: Stephen Frears has always been one of my favorite directors so it was a great honor to work with him – and he was such a wonderful gent. It was a lot of pressure but I knew I’d caught the emotion in my voice he wanted. The character was a war torn widow who starts to cry. I came up with the real emotion and he was happy. And so was I. It’s always great then it’s always kind of a relief too when it’s over and you see the whole set kind of breathe a sigh like... cool, she got that. Now we can move on to the next.
Romance Narrators: What exciting audiobook projects do you have on the horizon?
Romy: I’m continuing the wonderful Haunting Danielle Series and then starting another fun series ‘Antiques Ravin’’ A trash and treasure mystery series by Barbara Allen. I really love narrating fun mysteries as an actor – it gives you such juicy and sometimes deliciously villainous or over the top characters to dig into – as well as lots of sensitivity.
Romance Narrators: Where can people keep up with you online?
Links to people mentioned in interview: