Between the Gigs News - February 14, 2018
* Call back for “Mrs. Higgins” Understudy, My Fair Lady, Lincoln Center.
* Call back for standby of “Joanne” and “Muriel” in B’way hopeful Half Time at Papermill Playhouse. (Formerly Gotta Dance.)
* Call back for “Dorothy Brock” in 42nd Street, Fireside Theatre.
* Call back for “Louise” in Holiday Inn, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival.
* Call back for “Blanche” in Brighton Beach Memoirs, Human Race Theatre.
* Call back for “Miss Shields” in A Christmas Story, Human Race Theatre.
* Call back for “Vera” in Smoke on the Mountain, Mountain Playhouse.
* Call back for “Delia” in One Slight Hitch, Mountain Playhouse.
* New headshots on the way! Here’s a fun shot we did at the end of the day, during the first snowfall of the season.
Photo by Bjorn Bolinder
I Love a Piano (Again!) - August 1, 2017
It is always nice to be requested to do a show, rather than auditioning, and that is what happened when I was asked to play “Sadie” in I Love a Piano this summer at Totem Pole Playhouse. This is the first time I have ever done two productions of the same show, in two different places, with all new people, and played a different role, in the same year!
“Jane Labanz’s voice ranged from hypersonic to champagne glass shattering as she aptly demonstrated that she could “do anything better than you.” —-Gettysburg Times
Jonathan Rayson and Jane Labanz.
Photo by Andy Smetzer. (more…)
I Love a Piano - January 1, 2017
The run of I Love a Piano, at Milwaukee Rep, was a sold out success of 64 Irving Berlin songs. I played the role of “Eileen.”
Singing “Suppertime” as “Eileen” in I Love a Piano at Milwaukee Rep.
“Labanz, delivers a moving interpretation of “Suppertime,” sung to the memory of a spouse who went to war and never returned.” –Showbiz Chicago.
Photo by Michael Brosilow.
All four cast members sang, danced, and played the piano in the production of I Love a Piano at Milwaukee Rep. Photo by Michael Brosilow. Eric Shorey, Jane Labanz, and Steve Watkins performing Pack Up Your Sins.
Upcoming Performance - July 1, 2016
I am pleased to announce that I will be performing the role of “Eileen” in I Love a Piano at Milwaukee Rep beginning late October, 2016. It should be grand and wild fun, because 3 of the 4 actors will be the petite orchestra and will be playing piano as well as acting. I am one of those actors! I have a piano degree that gets utilized, when playing for voice lessons and learning my own music, but I have always wanted to play piano as part of a character. Dream coming true this autumn!
Between the Gigs News - April 1, 2016
* Booked solos concert for Book in the Hollow book club in Dallas, TX.
* Callback for Jack’s Mother in Into the Woods at Forestburg Playhouse, NY.
* Callback for “Vi” in Buddy Holly Story, Theatre by the Sea, RI.
* Callback for “Mrs. MacAfee” u/s and Featured Ensemble in Bye, Bye, Birdie, Goodspeed Opera House, CT.
* Callback for “Lily” in the play, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, Totem Pole Playhouse, PA.
* Callback for “Pick a Little Lady” in Music Man, Cape Playhouse, Dennis, MA.
* Callback for “Mrs. Bennett” in Pride and Prejudice, Finger Lakes Theatre, NY.
*2 Callbacks for “Mrs. Lovett” in Sweeney Todd at Human Race Theatre, OH.
*Booked without callback “Eileen” in I Love a Piano at Milwaukee Rep, WI.
The Nerd - July 1, 2015
There is something about an actor’s personality, be it A or B type, that must like the unknown. Always acclimating to a new cast, a new town, a new theatre, a new director, keeps you on your toes. But something about familiarity has its own comfort, too. When you know where the stage door is for a particular theatre, that in itself is soothing. So when you are asked to return to a theatre you have played before, and you know you will like the housing, that there is a state park steps away with a roaring stream that you can frequent after a long day of rehearsal, and that there are dozens of adorable little towns nearby for day off exploration, you say, “Yes!”
Such is the case in my playing the wildly neurotic Clelia in The Nerd. There is nothing like doing an old fashioned comedy for the summer at a theatre begun by Jean Stapleton and her husband. Lucky for all of us, Willum was played by the ever so talented, and ever so organized, Eric Szmanda (if that sounds familiar, think CSI Original).
Paris Peet, Shane Donovan, Jane Labanz and Eric Szmanda in The Nerd.
Tuck Everlasting Final Performance - March 1, 2015
Tuck Everlasting is a show I adore and I was so happy to be a part of its history, whether or not life takes me on the ride with it to New York, or whether it doesn’t, because of all the reasons we all know so well – understudy tracks, other people’s prior with history with the show, efforts with diversity in casting. I will treasure the experience of the World Premiere always. I will never open a music box again, without recalling the stage of the Alliance Theatre and a certain gal named Winnie Foster.
“Older Winnie” in the final scene of Tuck Everlasting, the World Premiere, the Alliance Theatre.
Photo by Greg Mooney.
Tuck Everlasting Photo Release - February 1, 2015
What a thrill to work with Casey Nicholaw, and the rest of the creative team, on the World Premiere of Tuck Everlasting in Atlanta. Rewrites, new songs, an extremely talented cast, gorgeous costumes – the actor experience doesn’t get much better than this. But wait… indeed it does. The professional photos get released on Playbill.com and you see the show you are working on, from the eyes of the audience, for the very first time!
It is electrifying to be onstage during the opening number, and breathe in all the energy from those whirling dervish dancers and the undulating earthiness of this score, but there is a completely different kind of rush to see that moment captured on film, not unlike a moment in a Degas painting. I had no idea the backdrop, which changes colors for each scene, was such beautiful blue for this scene.
Jane Labanz and the company of Tuck Everlasting
Tent Theatre - July 1, 2014
I have always enjoyed settling into a long run of a show, with new audiences every night, swings and understudies going in and out creating a new dynamic onstage, and always something to improve in my own performance. But those itty-bitty runs-they are just as exciting and fulfilling!
There is a little theatre deep in the midwest, in Springfield, Missouri, the Tent Theatre. When I was hired to work there, as a “guest artist”, to play Violet in 9 to 5, (the “Lily Tomlin role”), many people I told, scrunched their noses, cocked their heads and queried, “What theatre? What town?” Well, in this theatre, that is truly in a tent, you will find the most splendidly talented, enthusiastic fellow thespians, mostly students of Missouri State University. Midwestern friendliness-oh, they have that too. I wouldn’t have exchanged playing “The Tent” for two weeks for any length of any long run. Did I mention the band of 14, made up of mostly professors of music? The band rivaled anything you hear in a Broadway pit.
In case you are wondering how many years this theatre has been around…about 50! I was so very honored to be asked back to perform One of the Boys for the finale of the 50th Anniversary Gala attended by the state’s Governor and alumnus John Goodman. So as the temperatures begin to heat up this summer, I know the energy is heating up as well on the stage of this historic tent. I am so lucky to have been a part of that history.
Performing One of the Boys with Evan Robison (left) and Colin Denniston (right)
at the 50th Anniversary Gala of the Tent Theatre.
Tagged with: Tent Theatre
Posted in Journal
Dames at Sea - June 26, 2013
One of my own favorite thrills is opening the show. Since I am playing “Mona Kent”, the tap dancing, movie star diva in Dames at Sea, at the Totem Pole Playhouse, I get to do just that! I adore the opening song and dance number, Wall Street! I learned from the lovely Stefanie Powers, who I stood by for in the national tour of King and I, to be early if you are commencing the show, solo. No one should have to wait on you. Not one day, not one minute. Not every star/non-star I have worked with feels that way, believe me! Stefanie was always dressed, and ready and waiting on the stage, when 15 minutes was called. So, at 15 minutes, here at the Totem Pole, I am already dressed and I grab my top hat and cane, buckle up my well broken in silver tap shoes and make my way to the wings. I actually revere those few minutes of calm solitude, listening to the audience chatter, musing with the stage managers and hearing the orchestra take their places. Thank you, Stefanie! Cherished moments I don’t intend to miss, thanks to you!
“Every show has a star, and the show Dames at Sea, the show-within-the-show of Dames at Sea, stars Mona Kent, played hysterically by Broadway veteran Jane Labanz.” (BroadwayWorld.com)
Photo by Chris Shatzer