A Hint of Dominatrix: ROCKY HORROR's Julie Johnson - Dallas Theater Center
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A Hint of Dominatrix: ROCKY HORROR’s Julie Johnson

Julie Johnson, a North Texas stage favorite who last appeared at DTC in Cabaret (2010-2011 season) and It’s A Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman (2008-2009 season), makes her triumphant return to the Wyly stage as Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show. She’s taken a few minutes from her very busy rehearsal process to chat with us.

Last time you were on the DTC stage was director Joel Ferrell’s critically-acclaimed production of Cabaret. What’s it like being back and working with Joel again?

I love being back at DTC. I saw my first play when I was six, and it was a DTC production of You Can’t Take It With You. It was the first time I had heard the word “damn” spoken aloud! I feel like I am home and working with Joel is more fun than anyone should be allowed in their work environment! This production is wild and wonderful!

You’ve been very busy since Cabaret. Tell us a little bit about joining the first national tour of the Tony Award®-winning Best Musical, Memphis.

It was an experience of a lifetime! I was in tech rehearsals for Cabaret when I was called to audition for Memphis. Since I couldn’t leave, the whole staff pulled together and helped make an audition tape to send to NYC and I booked the job! My son went with me and we played 55 cities in 38 states.

You recently did a new musical at La Jolla Playhouse called Chasing the Song, from the creative team behind Memphis. Can you tell us a little bit about that? 

That was an incredibly exciting process! The creative team, Joe DiPietro and David Bryan were writing and re-writing daily, so we would often put in brand new scenes or parts of scenes in the evening performance that we had first been handed that afternoon! The story is fictional, centered around a woman who owns her own song writing shop in the Brill Building in NYC, circa 1961-63. It follows her navigating in a male dominated field, trying to heal a broken relationship with her daughter and, eventually, facing the unbelievable change that The Beatles brought to her side of the music business. I loved every note and every word of it!

Now let’s switch gears to The Rocky Horror Show, where you’re playing the role of Magenta.  What can audiences expect from Julie Johnson’s Magenta and what can audiences expect from this production of The Rocky Horror Show (without giving any surprises away, of course)?

This Rocky Horror is so exciting because, while we are conscious of staying true to the original for many of the iconic moments we all love and expect, it is re-imagined by Joel and the amazing design team to have a new “glisten and gleam!” My Magenta is not a maid, but the hyper-controlling chief of the household staff… with a hint of dominatrix! She is a very different character from Freulein Schneider (Cabaret), but there are some correlations between the club scenes in Cabaret and Frank-N-Furter’s Castle. Both are dark havens for total disregard of inhibitions where you can “give yourself over to absolute pleasure…”

After Time Warping with DTC, what do you have lined up? I know we’d love to see you back at the Wyly!

I will be back in this year’s production of A Christmas Carol and I am very excited about being home for Christmas!


Pictured in slides above: Cabaret, 2010-2011 season, photos by Karen Almond;  It’s A Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman, 2008-2009 season, photos by Brandon Thibodeaux.

 

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