S m a l l t a l k
SCOTT DREIER heralds a fresh contemporary voice in the interpretation of the Great American songbook. Born and raised in Southern California, Scott’s early artistic influences stemmed primarily from his grandmother—the most ardent supporter of following his dream. Unlike the rest of Scott’s family to whom rhythm and pitch played no part of their everyday lives, music and art were integral to Marie Dreier, and she made sure Scott got a good dose of that ethic as well.
I had a chance to catch up with him as he takes his show "Doris & Me" into 54 Below in NY after a successful run in LA at the NOHO Arts Center.
ROBYN: How Did Long Have You Been In The "The Biz"?
SCOTT: I was a very shy kid--in 5th grade I had a choir teacher that made every student audition with vocal scales. She said "You have a beautiful voice, Scott" I replied "Thanks" and ran out of the room. She encouraged me at an early age to be in plays and I found it was easier for me to feel fearless when I was playing a character and not being Scott.
My first professional job--I was hired by a director who I had worked for in a community theatre production the summer before--to jump in an learn a production in 3 days (they had lost one of their actors). He believed in me and wanted me to get payed to perform. I had to learn an ensemble track in the musical "Oklahoma" and I covered the role of Will Parker. A month into our run--the actor playing the role of Will dislocated his leg during a dance sequence and had to be replaced. They were going to bring someone in outside of the production since they would need to replace me if I was moved up. And the director said "Nope--Scott can do it--he will be terrific" I remember two things about that first scary and surreal performance (with only a quick hour rehearsal before)--Alice Ripley (then McMasters) was playing Laurie and she was sensational. I also remember seconds before I made my first entrance at 21 years old--my Ado Annie (in her 40s at the time)--grabbed my arm and said "Don't jump around out there--you will make me look old!" and out on stage I went. Ha! A wonderful beginning indeed!
R: Who were your greatest inspirations?
S: Doris Day continues to be such an inspiration to me. My TV, music, and movies were monitored as a kid--but somehow I was able to watch the Saturday Afternoon Film Festival (hosted by the great Tom Hatten). That is where my love affair began with Doris. I loved that she could do everything--act, sing, dance, comedy, drama-- and made it all look deceptively easy. I love all the work she continues to do for animal welfare. She continues to inspire me to be the best person I can be and the best performer I can be.
Also--my grandparents--particularly my paternal grandma--she was a painter and always encouraged me to be a performer.
I am also constantly inspired by each artist that creates their own work--making their dreams come true. I am loving Kurtis Simmons' new debut CD "Fraction of a Thread" knowing all the time, love, care, talent, and artistry that went into making that happen. So inspiring!
R: Worst audition experience?
S: Ha! I had an audition several years ago for a director that was known for precasting roles but still holding auditions for them (rather than posting the role had been cast). They were running about an hour behind from my scheduled appointment. When I finally got in the room--I was their last appointment before lunch--they were talking about what they were getting for lunch during my entire audition (that I had prepared hours and hours for). I found out later the role had already been cast. That was a rouch moment at the time! :)
R: What song is your "guilty pleasure" song?
S: I listen to Doris Day music everyday. I have been performing my "Doris and Me" show now for about 2 and half years--so always listening to that to get ready--altho I listened almost exclusively to her anyway. :) I always prefer the concept albums she did--but--I would have to say--since I have her catalogue on shuffle--some the fluffy movie themes (I love them!)--Pillow Talk, Teacher's Pet, etc--they make me happy. I can't stop listening to them when they come up.
R: What is your anthem song?
S: Probably Que Sera Sera--it is a wonderful way to try and live life. Trusting that our destiny is born to us and "Whatever Will Be--will Be." I guess that song would be a guilty pleasure too! I love the new piano version that Doris sings that was just released.
R: "Must haves" backstage?
S: A jug of water--I drink a ton of water when I perform. And a power bar or two--in case I get low blood sugar level--which has happened a time or two!
R: What one sentence of advice can you give to industry beginners?
S: Be prepared--training is SO important--so that you are ready when your big break comes, be kind and easy to work with (life is too short to work with high maintenance people)--make sure to thank people who are helping you and be grateful, and create your own work--it is more important than ever these days!
R: What has been your favorite moment on stage?
S: I have been so lucky to have some wonderful favorite stage moments. Most recently--last week----having our opening night of the LA run of "Doris and Me"-it was a benefit for the Doris Day Animal Foundation. They allowed me to help with some of our red carpet celebrity folks and I wanted to have co-stars in the house who had worked with Doris. My friend--the lovely and gracious Jackie Joseph (from the Doris Day Show) introduced me that night. Miriam Nelsen (Gene Nelson's wife) choreographed Doris in Tea for Two and Lullaby of Broadway--and 4 of Doris's film "kids" were there that night--Kym Karath (The Thrill of It All--and--of course--also Gretl in The Sound of Music), Brain Nash (The Thrill of It All), Teddy Quinn (The Ballad of Josie), and Christopher Olsen (who played Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart's kidnapped son in The Man Who Knew Too Much--and sings Que Sera when it had its debut in that film). Getting that performance was one of the most magical and special moments for me--celebrating someone I admire so much, having all the proceeds go to the animals, and having that history of people in the room--just amazing. And singing Que Sera with Christopher Olsen in that room--surreal and incredible..a moment I will never forget...