Lois Robbins is what truly can be defined as the “actresses actress”. From roles in Sex in the City and Younger to roles in Kingfish on the big screen and her new play L.O.V.E.R. on the New York City stage, this “Native New Yorker” has gotten the chance to dive into the kinds of roles that so many actors only dream of. As she premieres her Off-Broadway play L.O.V.E.R, at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre in New York City this weekend (running through November) I caught up with Lois to talk about her storied career, what its like bringing L.O.V.E.R. to life, & how the LGBT community has somehow always been a part of so much of her career.
Michael Cook: Lois, you are one of those unique type of actresses where everyone has loved from you from some particular project that you were in. Tell me about the new play L.O.V.E.R. that you both wrote and star in?
Lois Robbins: It has been a three year process in the making. There have been several incarnations of the play with many drafts, but I really think this last one is the right one. I am very excited, Karen Carpenter and I are having a ball, she is my director and amazing to work with. I have wanted to work with her since 2011, when I was doing Cactus Flower at the West Side Theater and Karen was doing Love Loss and What I Wore at the theater downstairs and we connected briefly then, and have always had a connection of sorts. This was so exciting when (producer) Daryl Roth finally put us together and I am just so excited about the project.
MC: What is your character’s role in L.O.V.E.R. and how do you fit into the cast and the story as a whole?
LR: Well, I call myself “Woman” because ideally, while it is somewhat autobiographical, I like to call it “historical fiction”. I think it is every woman’s story to a degree. I think that there is something in there that both men and women can relate to. I did not want to identify myself as “self”, because I felt it was much more relatable to say that this was a woman’s journey, but there is something in here for everyone. I hope that it really plays that way also.
MC:You have worked with so many established people both on screen and on television, then also worked with so many people that are just starting out on stage. Where do you think your creativity really thrives the most?
LR: That’s a tough one, because I am an actor, and I really love working. I love acting, I love reading scripts, I love creating, I love the rehearsal process, all of it. The medium fo me is not really the issue, it’s more the project. When I am woking with people that I am really excited about or directors that I am really excited about, I am happy.
MC: You have done the kinds of projects that so many other actors dream about. Now that you are working on stage with L.O.V.E.R.;do you think you may find yourself gravitating to theater a little bit more?
LR: Yes and no I think. With this play, my dream would be to do it for this three month period and then see another actress step into it. I think that would be really fun for me to see someone else speak the words. I would also love to see it turned into a television series, I think it would be an amazing series, told in a series of decades and having five different women from five years old to fifty years old playing these roles, that would be fantastic. Right now I booked a pilot that I can’t say too much about, but the role is spectacular. It’s a very strong and hilarious woman who is a forty five alcoholic who drinks martinis at two o clock in the afternoon! I am open to a strong female character, and really great stories around women.
MC: For the LGBT community, you are one of those performers who have always been on our screens and a part of a variety of so many projects. From you work on soap operas to your work on the revolutionary series Younger, they are projects that the LGBT community ends up falling in love with. Has that community always been a bit of a specter around you?
LR: You know, I actually have not really thought about it in that way. I am so appreciative and I do love that. I have always been one of those people who is sort of between two worlds in a way. l have always been pretty fortunate in my life; I live a pretty charmed life. I spend my days in sweaty rehearsal rooms and I am happiest when I am working. Obviously in the business that I am in, I work with all different kinds of people. I feel like I am very open and very accepting of all people; I am a people person and just love people, whoever they are. I hope that comes across and that could be the reason…
MC: On Younger, you are working on a show that has characters that are constantly playing with gender and truly is the kind of show for the twenty first century. Do you think that is fair to say?
LR: Totally. I keep hoping that they are going to bring me back. I told Darren Starr (creator) that he needs to bring me back and Debi Mazar (who plays Maggie) and I need to fall in love. I would leave my husband and I end up going off with her! (laughs).
MC: One thing that you recently got to do that many actors would truly dream of is to act with the iconic actress Meg Ryan in her directorial debut. Do you think you were more nervous or was she?
LR: You know, Meg is amazing. I love the way that she works with all of the actors also. She was very quiet about it, she would just whisper a little kernel of something in your ear so that no one else could hear it, right before we do a take. Maybe she wanted you to do something a little different, and she was always spot on. She did not seem nervous at all, she seemed very in control of what she was doing. I was just so excited I remember when I met her at the Soho House; I was going to be sitting and having lunch with Meg Ryan! She was so down to earth and put me at ease right away. Working with her was an absolute dream.
MC: You have accomplished so much in so many mediums, is there anything that you have not done that you really want to do, what box is left to check?
LR: What I have not done is a series regular role and that is what I would love to see happen. That is one of the reasons that I would love to see L.O.V.E.R. turned into a TV series. The pilot that I just booked, if that gets sold and turned into a full series, that would be amazing. I feel that what I have written for myself, because it is a comic turn and has a lot of buoyancy as well, that will open up a lot of doors. Fingers crossed on that one, we take it one day at a time. This business is quite fickle and we will see how it is perceived. I am so proud of the work that I have done and excited to share it with people.
MC: What inspires you as a performer with everything that you have accomplished in your career?
LR: I would have to say that it is really just the opportunity to explore who I am as a performer and as an artist. The more challenging the role, I say bring it on! I feel like there is so much to learn still. Previews are a crazy thing; you really have to work really hard. I am at a point in my career where I would say yes to just about anything that I feel is worth my time, working with people, actors and directors that I truly want to work with, and working on roles that inspire me. I just want to really be inspired for the rest of my life!
All Pics Courtesy of www.loisrobbins.com/
For info on L.O.V.E.R. check out lovertheplay.com