This Spotlight focuses on Amanda Conlon, the actor, singer and director who created Bucket List Theatre after relocating to Los Angeles from NYC. As the company’s Artistic Director, her talents as an actor, singer, writer and director enhance every production in which she appears or organizes for her company of equally talented, triple-threat performers. Amanda recently joined Theatre 40 and has also appeared in and directed productions for that professional company on the campus of Beverly Hills High School.
Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?
Amanda Conlon (Amanda): I grew up doing theatre on Long Island, went to school for theatre and spent years performing in NYC and regionally throughout the Northeast before making the move to LA. where I knew exactly one friend. It took a while to learn the LA landscape, particularly the theatre scene. After struggling to find my new theatre tribe, I decided to create Bucket List Theatre (named after my bucket list of roles I’d like to play). As Artistic Director, I’m so proud of all our productions and all that we’ve accomplished in a short amount of time, particularly with a fully self-produced budget. Equally, I cherish all of the actor-friends who comprise the awesome tribe we’ve created - it’s a truly special, crazy talented group of people, and ironically, 98% of our “Bucket Lister’s” also hail from NYC. It just took us all relocating to LA to meet one another!
Our Bucket List shows to date include SILENCE! The Musical (11 Broadway World Award Nominations, Better Lemons Critics Choice Award, Broadway World Favorite Shows of 2018, LA Weekly Best Spooky Events), All in the Timing (Stage Raw ‘Top Ten’ and ‘Recommended’), Pageant Play, [title of show], Bucket List Cabaret (Broadway World Favorite Shows of 2018) and Missmatch (Hollywood Fringe Encore! Producers' Award, Better Lemons Must-See Musical). I wrote Missmatch based on my real-life experiences with online dating and was equally happy and sad to learn how many of our audience members related to my terrible tales!
(SB): If you missed SILENCE! The Musical, the hysterical parody of the film Silence of the Lambs, click HERE to watch a compilation of scenes in which Amanda portrays Clarice Starling in the production she directed.
Amanda: I’m also a member of Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills and appeared last year in A Bad Year for Tomatoes and recently directed the world premiere of The Surveillance Trilogy (9 Broadway World Award Nominations).
(SB) What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?
Amanda: I had several projects postponed, including a few staged readings at Theatre 40, as well as our next Bucket List Cabaret. Bucket List is also sometimes commissioned to be the entertainment at private events, which is a fun side gig for us, and we looked forward to a booking we had for a big party this month, which we are hopeful will be able to be reschedule.
(SB): How did you communicate the shutdown with your cast and production team?
Amanda: I made the call early on and while disappointing, everyone was beyond understanding.
(SB): Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?
Amanda: Yes! We will certainly remount Bucket List Cabaret when the time is right. One of the most consistent compliments we get on our cabarets is the song selection, given I love to find obscure, hardly-ever-performed material. A lot of time and thought goes into each set list, so I’m viewing this time as a gift to work on curating the next sets. Be on the lookout for the Theatre 40 staged readings as well once things are up and running again.
(SB): Here is a link to my Broadway World review of Bucket List Cabaret Dark and Dirty at Three Clubs, an evening of adult-themed songs rarely heard that kept me laughing throughout the show:
(SB): What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?
Amanda: We are very fortunate that we are in between Bucket List productions at the moment and don’t have our next mainstage production slotted yet. With my producing partner/husband, Pete Flanigan, we will use this time to strategize and decide what we will produce next. In fact, we were considering producing a Fringe show this year as it’s been 3 years since our last Fringe, but will likely wait another year or two to return. We currently have several other exciting projects we’re considering.
(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?
Amanda: We are having our first virtual reading/sing-through of a show via Zoom! I never really considered doing a virtual reading before, but I’m growing more excited about it as it may allow us to do readings more often, now during quarantine and beyond. All of our actors have their own “bucket list” roles, so this could be a great platform for us to read through more of their bucket list shows we wouldn’t otherwise be able to produce, and in a small way, fulfill our Bucket List Theatre mission!
(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?
Amanda: My heart goes out to all those whose productions were closed and hope as many shows as possible will be able to return as soon as we’re all able. I hope audiences are currently finding a newfound appreciation for theatre and the joy of sharing a live performance together. While this is a challenging, uncertain, scary time, I encourage us all to try and find the silver linings where we can and also hope we can all take some time to rest, reflect, repair and find new ways to create. Sending lots of positivity to everyone and I am looking forward to seeing you all at the theatre someday soon!
This article first appeared on Broadway World.