Dot-Marie Jones has been acting professionally since 1992, but it's her five-year stint as Coach Beiste in the Fox hit series Glee that propelled her into instant street recognition. Dot's latest acting gig has her portraying the character of Mrs. Soames in Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN, a co-production of the Pasadena Playhouse and Deaf West Theatre which just began September 26, 2017.
Dot took a few minutes away during rehearsal week to answer some of my probing inquiries.
Thank you for taking time out for this interview!
Do you like to be called Dot? Or Dot-Marie?
In various press releases and websites, I find a floating hyphen in your name that seems to change positions or completely disappear. Why the different spelling of your name?
For SAG-AFTRA, I go by Dot-Marie Jones. That happened because in 1994 when I went to join SAG, there was a Dottie Jones, and SAG thought it was too close! So I just put the hyphen and joined as Dot-Marie Jones. Marie is my middle name. And Dot is short for Dorothy, my birth name.
Have you seen any other productions of OUR TOWN?
Have you seen any productions at The Pasadena Playhouse in your years living and working in Los Angeles?
Yes, most recently we, my wife and our 17-year-old daughter, saw A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN. In fact, we loved it so much we saw it THREE times. Mary Bridget Davies was fantastic!
This co-production of the Pasadena Playhouse and Deaf West Theatre will feature bilingual staging in American Sign Language and English. Did you have to learn sign language for this production? Or were you already fairly versed in it?
I am indeed learning ASL. I was a little familiar with it. I had studied with friends who had a deaf daughter. We would meet at their house once a week and worked with Bob Hilterman, a deaf actor, to better our skills and better our communication with their daughter. It's been quite a few years though. I'm learning so much, I love every minute of it.
You were part of the Fox hit series Glee from 2010 to 2015. Do you still get stopped on the street by people shouting out your character's name "Coach Beiste"?
Ha! Ha! Yes, I do. It was an amazing experience and I loved being a part of Glee because of how many people it helped!
How would you compare and contrast your characters of Coach Beiste with Mrs. Soames in this production?
Wow, good question. They are totally different. Beiste was strong, but yet kind of stuck to herself. Mrs. Soames is more of a gossip and sociable. Not so much for Beiste, though she tried.
As a 15-time world arm wrestling champion, do you still arm wrestle for fun or for exposition?
No, but I wish I could! My shoulders are shot from so many years of weight training and arm-wrestling, and also throwing the shot put. Those were some incredible years. I loved every one of them.
Any immediate projects for you, you can share with us?
Working on a new show/film Combat Nuns about crime fighting nuns. It's so fun and I'm working with friends. They were some of my first friends in L.A. over 25 years. Also working on a web series. Not sure if I can share that right now.
What would your dream role on stage be for you?
Would be a dream to play Madame Morrible from WICKED. And Mama Morton from CHICAGO.
What particular message of Thornton Wilder resonates with you, and that you hope the Pasadena Playhouse audience will be receptive of?
That life is fleeting. So enjoy every minute and hold tightly to the people you love ❤️
Thank you again! I look forward attending your TOWN's socials at the Playhouse.
For OUR TOWN ticket availability and show schedule through October 22, 2017; log onto www.pasadenaplayhouse.org