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Q&A with Dale & Amy on Returning to Dorian Gray

Left: Dale Sandlin. Right: Amy Tolsky.

By A Noise Within
September 21, 2018

After experiencing enormous success with audiences and critics at its 2006 premier at Boston Court Pasadena, A Picture of Dorian Gray has now come to ANW’s stage to sensationalize and seduce audiences once again. ANW’s production also brings back a few familiar faces from the original ensemble – Dale Sandlin and Amy Tolsky. The two of them talk about their past experience with Dorian Gray and what they most look forward to as they bring it back to the stage.

What has it been like revisiting your roles in this production of A Picture of Dorian Gray?

Dale Sandlin: Great fun! Like seeing an old friend and rekindling that friendship from a new perspective. And being able to work on this with Michael, JP, and Amy once was a thrill, twice just makes me feel like the degenerate voluptuary I am.

Amy Tolsky: It’s a rare opportunity to revisit a show you’ve done before. I have fond memories of the first production and am thrilled to get a chance to recreate and discover new things. For instance, I have a clearer understanding of my character Mrs. Vane’s relationship to her children, since my own child was a baby when we did the show 12 years ago and is now 13. I’m already thinking ahead to what it will feel like when he is ready to leave the nest. What a treat to work with Michael, JP, and Dale again. The energy is always different with a new cast, so it feels somewhat familiar but refreshingly new.

Have you given any advice to the actors that are new to the production?

D: Not really. They’re all so talented.

A: No advice per se since they are all so phenomenal, but happy to answer any questions they might have about how we did things before. Some cast members are curious about the unusual staging and transitions where all the actors are incorporated.

How will audiences feel while/after watching this production?

D: I think they will feel surprised and a little disturbed that this play is remarkably relevant to today’s self-absorbed society.

A: I think the audience will have some preconceptions coming into the theater based on the story they remember. They will be surprised at the extraordinary design of the piece and hopefully get swept up in the story. Since most people perceive the story as a gothic horror tale, I think they will be surprised at how much humor is interwoven in the dialogue. This is Oscar Wilde, after all! I hope they will be blown away by this production and think about the parallels and excesses in our society today!

What is your favorite scene in the play?

D: I love the first scene. Wilde’s dialogue sizzles and draws you in like a whirlpool of wit and language.

A: I love the scene with Lady Henry, Dorian, and Lord Henry. We get to see Wilde’s wit, flirtation, vulnerability, love, sarcasm, and hurt. I also love the Vane scene intercut with The Bristol. I think it will be very effective when we perfect the timing.

Any fun behind-the-scenes happenings you’d like to share?

D: When we started to work on the dance sequence and they started up the music, Amy and I just looked at each other. We were immediately taken back 12 years to the first production. Gives you the chills.

A: I’m really enjoying the cohesiveness of this cast and crew. We feel like we’re all one, whether we’re feeling overwhelmed learning the choreography or intricate scene changes, or sharing a meal during an all day rehearsal during our meal break. It’s such a great group!

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