Meet Amy Staats from ‘The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play’ Tonight Through Sunday at The Klunch at Trinidad Theatre

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Amy Staats plays MJ in The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play, playing tonight through Sunday at The Klunch performing at The Capital Fringe’s Trinidad Theatre.

Joel: How did you get involved with The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play? Why did you want to be part of this production?

Amy Staats as MJ. Photo by Reid Thompson.
Amy Staats as MJ. Photo by Reid Thompson.

Amy: Megan Hill and I met while acting in a Joshua Conkel play several years ago and knew we wanted to collaborate. When she asked me to be part of play that took place in a real-time aerobics class I jumped on board right away. Working with Megan is a joy.

What is The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play about from the point of view from from MJ who you play in the show? How do you relate to MJ?

From MJ’s point of view, this play is just a crazy evening she has to get through so she can make her dinner reservations with her husband. I think MJ is a very kind person with a full life and Jazzercize is a small part of it. I can relate to MJ because a million years ago I was a dancer. I never wanted to be in front. I understand the anxiety.

When did jazzercize enter your life and what are some of your fondest memories of attending jazzercize classes? What are some of your not so fond memories that are not in the play?

I never took Jazzercize specifically, but I do remember aerobics classes being help in the gym where I took gymnastics. Also, my Mom used to do aerobics in the morning. There was an early morning exercise show, and she would do it in the tv room in her bathrobe. I was in ballet and then modern dance in my teens and early twenties, and have subsequently spent many hours in yoga, pilates, and various other exercise classes, so I am familiar with the culture.

The play was performed in NYC before coming to DC. How is this performance similar and different? Has your performance changed for this production?

Because we are traveling, the lighting is simplified, but that is it as far as changes. The play takes place in an exercise room, so the set is extremely simple.

How would you describe Sarita Lou’s choreography and what have been some of the challenges and joys learning it and performing it?

Sarita Lou is the best. Working with her is a dream. She taught the moves to us in a very fun manner, and we all worked together to mold the movement with the text. Doing a full workout while acting in a play is a huge challenge. There’s nothing to do but work really hard both physically and mentally.
What are you doing to prepare for the physical demands of the show? Rehearsing and hydrating. We stretch before we rehearse the show and after if there’s time.

L to R: Amy Staats and Megan Hill in ‘The Last Class: A Jazzercise Play.’ Photo by Reid Thompson.
L to R: Amy Staats and Megan Hill in ‘The Last Class: A Jazzercise Play.’ Photo by Reid Thompson.

How did Director Margot Bordelon help you to shape your performance?

Margot is terrific. She’s very precise physically, and was able to carve the personal story out while creating the feeling of an actual class. She’s got an amazing visual sense, and kept us both grounded emotionally while honing the comedy. She’s also really lovely to work with. It was a good room.
What does the show have to say to today’s audiences of all ages?

I think everyone is challenged by the relationship to their body whether they are young, old, or somewhere in the middle. Also, I think everyone can relate to how difficult change is, especially if it means not getting to do something they love.

Why should DC area audiences come and see The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play?

DC audiences should see The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play because it’s hilarious, singular, extremely moving and you’ll be out in time to get a drink later. Come check it out! Meg and I would love to see you there.

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The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play has 4 Performances Only!
TONIGHT, Friday, August 19th at 8 PM
Saturday, August 20th at 3 PM
Saturday, August 20th at 8 PM
Sunday, August 21st at 3 PM

At Logan Fringe Arts Space
Trinidad Theatre

1358 Florida Avenue, NE
in Washington, DC

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FOR TICKETS, CALL (866) 811-4111, BUY THEM AT THE BOX OFFICE, OR PURCHASE THEM ONLINE.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.