Who: George Trahanis
What: Actor, playing in I wrote a Song at Cafe Istanbul October 12-14
Where: In the Bywater
Notable quote: “This is my New Orleans stage debut”
Q: How do you prepare to play someone else?
GT: The first thing I do is read the script over and over again, and I ask myself, ‘What does this character want?’ I find the driving force behind the character. I couple that with the lines and the lyrics of the songs, and it all gels together.
I’m particularly having fun with the character Mrs. Tremble, who is one of the characters I play in I Wrote a Song. She is a baptist Sunday school teacher. On the written page she looks like she could be a big caricature, but there’s so much more to her than that. She firmly believes in what she’s preaching — being a good Christian. She sings one song called “Five Steps to a Masturbation-Free life.” She tells her students that masturbation is a filthy filthy habit, and since God doesn’t want you to abuse yourself, I’ve given you these five steps to a masturbation-free life. Then we take it from there.
It’s been a real pleasure for me because this is my New Orleans stage debut, and for the last couple of years I’ve been doing voice-over work and some directing. This play allows me to come home to what I love, which is the theater.
Q: What’s a nickname I’ve always loved?
GT: Well, I love when Robert calls me Georgie. I am still very much a kid at heart, and if it weren’t for that inner magical child, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today.
Q: What would be on your five-song playlist?
GT: Number one would be the Barbra Striesand song, “Don’t Lie to Me,” which is off of her new album Walls. It’s a fabulous song that’s very political. On the surface it looks like it’s a song about a broken love affair, but it’s really about Donald Trump. It’s a fabulous song.
Number two would be, “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl. When I was a student at Indiana University, before any performance I would put that song on and sing along with it in order to get me inspired.
Third would have to be, “Everything’s Coming up Roses” from Gypsy. I think that’s one of the ultimate positive thinking songs.
Lately, one of the song from I wrote a Song has been in my head. It’s the song, “In My Own Little World.” It’s a beautiful song, and we do it as a backup for Trey in the show.
Fifth would have to be “Hello Dolly” because I do a mean impression of Carol Channing, and I love that show.
Q: Where would you love to perform I Wrote a Song in New Orleans?
GT: I wish that we could do it at Mahalia Jackson Theater with a full orchestra. That would help promote the message of the show that Trey wrote — about accepting yourself, loving yourself, and putting love out there. Having it at Mahalia Jackson would allow even more people to come, and that would allow that message to spread even more.
Q: When do you light candles?
GT: Not very often. Although, funny you should ask about this because I had a dream about candles the other night. I was somewhere and there were all these candles.
So besides dreams, I light candles for family celebrations, family get togethers, and for meditation purposes as well. I’m definitely a type-A personality, so I need all the help I can get with relaxing, so I light those candles with meditation.
Being type-A helps me keep busy, and I am so happy about how my life has been going since we moved to New Orleans. I love this show, and I’ll also be directing another project in December at Cafe Istanbul. It’s going to be a radio broadcast with a live studio audience of It’s a Wonderful Life with the NOLA Voice Talent Foundation. That’s on December 21 at Cafe Istanbul.
The year before we moved here we came down for a visit, and I remember people telling me, ‘You’re either going to hate it or love it.’ Well, we fell in love. We had no intention of going house-hunting, but we decided to check out a house, and that’s the one we live in. I really feel like I am supposed to be here.
Geroge Trahanis has over thirty years of acting experience, and he will be starring in I Wrote a Song (a musical by Trey Ming), which is at Cafe Istanbul from October 12-14. The shows begin at 7:30 PM each night, and you can find out more details here as well as purchase tickets, which cost $25, here. Learn more about George on his website: www.georgetrahanis.com