Interview between Erin Mallon (playwright of A Mind Out of the Gutter)
and Maya Grace Fischbein (Rory in A Mind Out of the Gutter)
Erin: Hey Maya! I can’t tell you how pumped I am to have you working on A Mind Out of the Gutter with us!
Maya: Thank you, I’m very excited to do this.
Erin: Last month I took my mom to see Fun Home on Broadway for her birthday present, and it just so happened that you were playing Small Alison. I had no idea your Broadway debut was the night before! You were incredible! I actually turned to my mom and said “How great would it be if this girl could play Rory in my play?” And now you are:) I’m very happy about that.
Maya: Thanks so much. I am so happy to be playing Rory. It will be so much fun and different from Small Alison.
Erin: Sooooo…. before we dive into rehearsals next week, I thought it would be fun for us to get to know each other better and do a little interview. Cool?
Maya: Sure, let’s do it
Erin: I actually don’t know how old you are, can you tell me?
Maya: I am 9 but will be 10 on June 19
Erin: Double digits! Happy almost-birthday! How long have you known you wanted to be an actor?
Maya: My parents took me to see shows from the time I was two or three. They tell me I would watch without moving for two or three hours at a time. When I was a little kid, maybe around five, I started singing and acting and I really loved it. I thought it was fun but I had no idea that I would get a Broadway opportunity so quickly.
Erin: Congrats girl, that’s super impressive. What’s it like being an understudy? How many roles do you cover? Do you have to be ready to go on at any minute?
Maya: It’s great being an understudy. The cast and crew of Fun Home has been so friendly and welcoming. I cover all three kid’s rolls. Small Alison and her younger brother John and her older brother Christian.
As an understudy you have to be at every show in case you need to go on at moments notice. There is no advanced warning, unless someone goes on vacation then we might know one or two weeks in advance.
They told me I would have my Broadway debut about two weeks before so that my friends and family from California could have time to come in and see it. I had about 100 people come to my Broadway debut from CA, NY and NJ.
Erin: That’s amazing to have such support! How did you feel the night of your Broadway debut? Were you nervous?
Maya: I think being a little bit nervous is good but I try to turn most of my nervousness into excitement. Before my first show my family asked me to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how nervous I was and how excited. I said nervous 4 and excited 10. I think that’s just the right amount of nervousness and excitement.
Erin: You know, Bruce Springsteen says that exact same thing! (i.e. he turns his nervousness into excitement). Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
Maya: “Ring of Keys” which is Small Alison’s solo and was nominated for a Tony award. It was amazing to sing that song. I also love the last song in the show, “Flying Away” which is the song by small Alison, middle Alison and grown up Alison. The harmonies in that song are really hard and challenging.
Erin: Full disclosure? I cried like a baby when you sang “Ring of Keys.” It’s so beautiful and you sang it with such emotion and honesty. What do you think of NYC? Have you discovered any favorite places to hang out between performances?
Maya: I really like New York City. It’s fun with lots of great stuff to do. I like to hang out at the Plaza Food Hall, the Broadway Park and Amorino’s ice cream parlor and of course Central Park is great. Hanging out with all the kids from Fun Home is especially fun.
Erin: Do you ever have time to see other Broadway shows? Which ones have you really liked?
Maya: I liked Finding Neverland and Tuck Everlasting. I loved School of Rock too, I saw that twice. My favorite show to see was Les Mis. It was the first show I got to appear in in California, I played young Cosette, it was a wonderful experience. I could watch that show over and over and over again.
Erin: I never got to play Young Cosette, but I was crazy about Les Miz as a kid. I used to act out the confrontation scene between Jean Val Jean and Javert in my living room pretty much daily. Eponine’s death scene too. What other things do you like to do besides be in Broadway musicals:)?
Maya: After the shows I like to watch YouTube and just veg out. In my free time I love to sing, dance, play piano and hang out with my older brother Aiden and younger sister Lyla. They are back in California and I miss them.
Erin: I bet! They must be so proud of their sister. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Maya: Mangoes and Nutella crepes also fried rice, ribs and lo mein
Erin: I like your style. Do you have any special, weird talents?
Maya: I do a pretty good impersonation of Miranda Sings.
I can make my tongue into a flower shape.
Erin: We’ll have to see if we can build that into the reading☺