Meet the Cast of ‘The City of Conversation’ at Colonial Players of Annapolis. Part 1: Josh Mooney

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In part one of a series of interviews with the cast of Colonial Player’s of Annapolis’ The City of Conversation meet Josh Mooney.

Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where local audiences have seen you recently on the stage?

Josh Mooney. Photo courtesy of the Colonial Players of Annapolis.

Josh Mooney: I’m Josh Mooney and I have recently been seen in numerous productions with Annapolis Summer Garden Theater including Monty Python’s Spamalot, Catch Me If You Can, and last summer’s The Producers.

Why did you want to be part of the cast of The City of Conversation?

Several aspects of the play intrigued me, but it was mainly the themes of dysfunctional family life. It’s something that we can all relate to in some way or another, and it is fascinating to see where conflicts originate in the family setting, in this case politics.

Who do you play in the show? How do you relate to him or her? What traits do you share? Does this character remind you of a similar character that you have played before?

My characters are Colin and Ethan Ferris. Colin, I find, shares a similar confidence and ambition as myself but without a sense of direction. Ethan taps into the parts of me that contain vulnerability. He is very much how I am at this juncture of my life and where I hope to be.

What is The City of Conversation about from the point of view of your character?

Family dysfunction is what has always stood out to me as the crux of City. The dialogue and the situations offer the presentation of the political drama, but at the end it’s about family and the lengths we go to satisfy ourselves in order to justify our beliefs.

The City of Conversation takes place in the 1960s. We just came through an election that was unparalleled in its ugliness. What is Washington, DC politics like in this play? Is there anything that is in the play that still survives today in our politics? What do you admire about the state of politics in our country in the 60s? And what surprised you most about our country and the politics of the 60s?

Having had no previous interest in politics prior to this election, the play taught me a lot. That being said, the minute the results came out on November 6th the whole notion of the play changed in terms of its resonance. The play offers up a first hand reaction to our numerous elected officials, not just the presidency, and it opens up our views on what it means for us as a Democratic-Republic which is divided as such. And to correct, this play takes place across three decades, from 1979-2009, so it’s a view of the 70’s mentality post-Nixon, who was partly to blame for our part in Vietnam. The people felt Carter wasn’t doing anything to change the course of progression so they went in the opposite direction because it appealed to the masses.

Say what you will about this past election, this is not about bringing our personal points of view into the matter, but the one constant throughout this election that I noticed was the need for change with someone who appealed to our mentality. I think this play is important because it allows us to look back on our past to realize we’ve been through similar things before and we will get through this.

How has this election effected or influenced how you are playing your character? What was the best advice your director Ruben Vellekoop gave you on how to play your role?

This election has shown me the type of mentality I have to get into from a political standpoint in order to effectively convey both character’s points of view. Ruben truly is an actor’s director and the one thing that has remained consistent is his passion for this piece and how personal it is to him. It’s therefore my job as his actor to bring his passion out onto the stage for the audience to bask in.

What is your favorite line or lines that your character says, and what is your favorite line that someone else says in the show?

My favorite line: “There it is.”
Other person’s line: Jean: “It was never a perfect match. More cognac anyone?”

What does The City of Conversation have to say to today’s audiences?

To the audience I will say this play speaks to politics and family, and in this past year we have found both clash together in a way never thought possible. What should be taken away from the show is to never let your beliefs prevent you from the right course of action when it comes to family.

Why should local theatergoers come and see The City of Conversation?

For the same reasons mentioned above, but also to see an incredible story with an extremely talented cast and crew involved. It’s not one to miss, so don’t!

What’s next for you on the stage?

Only time will tell!

The City of Conversation plays from January 13-28, 2017, at The Colonial Players of Annapolis – 108 East Street, in Annapolis, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (410) 268-7373, 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.