Who: George Trahanis
What: Actor and director
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.
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 you’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: Nola Voice Talent Foundation is turning 10 on September 7. What do you think has kept the NVTF thriving?
GT: Nola Voice Talent Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit, and we provide performers with affordable education and opportunities as well as use our talents to support the community. We donate to a lot of charities, we have several productions every year — this last year it was It’s a Wonderful Life, which was incredibly successful — and we have so many ideas for the upcoming year. We want to reach out and support both the community and performers even more. In fact, we just signed a contract that will allow us to have our bimonthly workshops at NOCCA at a discounted price.
I am also a certified voice instructor for NVTF, so I help teach the workshops that take place at NOCCA, and I also have private students. On top of that, I’m also narrating my third audio book. We are always trying to connect with the community, and we are even combining our party with The Hollywood South Awards, which honor individual talent and commitment to the movie, theater, broadcasting, and voice-over industries in Louisiana and Mississippi.
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: What do you think makes New Orleans a perfect place for a Gala?
GT: I think that this is something that New Orleans really understands. I look at my calendar for September, and every single weekend is filled with an event or a party or a show. There are too many to choose from. Oddly enough, in New York I never had that issue. Everything was already spread out, but in New Orleans there are always events on top of events.
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.
NOLA Voice Talent Foundation is hosting the annual Hollywood South Awards at Café Istanbul on Saturday, September 7. There will be food, cash bar, entertainment, and Harry Shearer (you know, the voice of Homer Simpson) will be the emcee and recipient of the Major Award of the evening. The doors open at 6:00 PM with the event beginning at 7:00 PM. For more information and tickets, you can check out their website here.
Geroge Trahanis has over thirty years of acting experience, and he starred in I Wrote a Song (a musical by Trey Ming), which debuted at Cafe Istanbul. Learn more about George on his website: www.georgetrahanis.com