15 Questions in 15 Minutes with Broadway’s Sarah Stiles

This month, during the indefinite precautionary closure of theaters in New York and around the world, Sarah Stiles continues to provide world-class entertainment to fans in self-isolation everywhere. The multi-award nominated actress and singer, whose Broadway credits include Hand of God (2015) and Tootsie (2019), is lending her famous voice to an all-star podcast of Bleeding Love, a new musical by Jason Schafer (book), Arthur Lafrentz Bacon (music), and Harris Doran (lyrics, editing, and direction), which celebrated its critically-acclaimed world premiere at Denmark’s Fredericia Teater.

Sarah Stiles. Photo by Nathan Johnson.

The post-apocalyptic love story, suggested by Oscar Wilde’s “The Nightingale and the Rose,” is being presented by the Broadway Podcast Network (BPN) across all digital platforms. Featuring, along with Stiles, the outstanding talents of Annie Golden, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Marc Kudisch, Taylor Trensch, and Tony Vincent, it tells the stirring tale of teenage desire, focused on the attraction of Stiles’ character Bronwyn (a young cellist) to the rebel punk next door, in a time when it’s too dangerous to go outside – a setting that has special resonance for the present.

Sarah was kind enough to speak with me just prior to the release of Bleeding Love, to answer some rapid-fire questions about the show and its themes, her career, and her hopes for the future.

  1. What one thing did you love most about doing the podcast of Bleeding Love?

Sarah: Got me off the couch! We recorded this in the first two weeks of quarantine and honestly I was having the most difficult time being creative. It forced me to open my art heart and I’ve been pretty motivated since. Ya know I still have my “eat cookies in bed while crying and watching Bravo moments,” but they are less frequent.

  1. If you could visit the future, would you?

Oh! Ummm . . . no. Wait – would I? . . . Nope. No. I’m a big day dreamer. I live in the “what ifs” in my head. I can’t imagine giving that up. It’s too much fun to fantasize.

  1. What would you hope to find in the future?

Oh, ya know, world peace, healthy mother earth, and kind and powerful leaders that believe in love.

  1. What would you be afraid to find there?

Not that.

Sarah Stiles in Tootsie. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
  1. Have you ever been as neurotic about “What’s Gonna Happen” as your character was in Tootsie?

Yep.

  1. Has playing Bronwyn in Bleeding Love inspired you to take cello lessons?

No.

  1. What is it about punk rebels?

Haha . . . What?

The cast of the Danish production of Bleeding Love. Photo courtesy of Fredericia Teater.
  1. What was your reaction to first seeing the photos from the Danish world-premiere production?

Very cool.

  1. Were you a fan of Oscar Wilde before this show?

Oh God, I wish I could say yes, but I’m practically illiterate.

  1. What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I love crafts. I like to FaceTime with my niece and nephew and do crafts with them. The quarantine has been great for that ‘cause we have so much time to do those things. This morning I made egg-carton bunnies with my niece and cardboard turtles with my nephew. I also love yoga, cooking with my guy, playing with my puppy Patricia, and organizing closets. Seriously, cleaning/organizing is one of my favorite pastimes. Gosh, according to this list I should be living my best life right now.

  1. What three things do you always keep well stocked at home?

Incense, Sasha Pure Curl defining cream, nutritional yeast.

Sarah Stiles. Photo by M Cooper.
  1. What do you enjoy most about performing, whether recording or live on stage?

This is hard to explain. It’s the connection. The building of the thing in the moment. You’re never alone. There is this intense bond that happens when creating a thing that feels so outside of myself. It’s like, here is my hand and, oh, there’s yours, and let’s go there together and see what happens. The thrill of that, and the comfort in that, is the thing I love most.

  1. Who has been the single biggest inspiration in your acting career?

Gilda. She was sunshine. She was playful and vulnerable and I feel like she probably loved that connection part of performing, too.

  1. What’s your wish for the remainder of 2020?

That we all learn how to find joy in stillness. Fill up with self-love. Realize strengths inside of us that we never knew existed and then GET THE FUCK OUT OF OUR DAMN HOUSE/APARTMENTS AND CONGREGATE!!! I never thought I’d miss a jam-packed subway car in blistering heat with no air conditioning as much as I do right now. I NEVER thought I’d​ miss the insanity of Times Square at half hour. Or sweaty, over-booked workout classes! I mean, the list is endless. People. I miss people. My wish is that we are all dancing together sooner rather than later, but with the knowledge that it could be taken away from us at any second, ‘cause those would be some amazing moves.

  1. Is there an important message you hope viewers will take away from Bleeding Love?

Love seems very complicated until you find it.

Thank you, Sarah, for sharing a great fifteen minutes about yourself and your new podcast; looking forward to hearing it! And kudos to you and everyone involved for keeping us entertained during this uncertain time.

Bleeding Love is available beginning on April 23, 2020, from the Broadway Podcast Network. To listen, go online.

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Deb Miller
Deb Miller (PhD, Art History) is the Senior Correspondent and Editor for New York City, where she grew up seeing every show on Broadway. She is an active member of the Outer Critics Circle, and served for more than a decade as a Voter, Nominator, and Judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. Outside of her home base in NYC, she has written and lectured extensively on the arts and theater throughout the world, and previously served as a lead writer for Stage Magazine, Phindie, and Central Voice.

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