Marisa Chandler - Company Member of Parson's Nose Theater
Marisa is from Pasadena where she attended Westridge School. After school, she went to Harvard University where she received a B.A. in English. Since college she has concentrated on teaching, auditioning and acting in local theaters. From 2006 until 2011 Marisa was the director of the Glendale Centre Theatre Summer Acting Camp. She is also a member of the Harvard Yardbirds, a Los Angeles based acapella group consisting of Harvard alums. Marisa is thrilled to be a part of Parson’s Nose and dedicates her performances to her husband Donny and calico cat Teej. Continue reading below to get to know Marisa and hear some of her stories about the stage! Q: When did you begin acting and how did you get into it? What was your first role? A: I started acting when I was in the 5th grade at Westridge School in Pasadena. My first role was Anne in Anne of Green Gables. There were three of us sharing the role but I was thrilled because I got to do the scene where Anne puts special tonic on her hair and it turns green. I actually spray painted my hair green which was a kick!
Q: What are your favorite roles you've had a pleasure of playing and why? A: My favorite roles were both in musicals and ironically had the same name though very different women. The first was Maria in West Side Story. It was my freshman year at Harvard and I auditioned for Maria assuming that with my blonde hair and fair skin I would not be chosen to play a girl from Puerto Rico. I was honored to be cast and rehearsing with my fellow students within my first month at school. The second role of Maria was from The Sound of Music which I performed at the Glendale Centre Theatre in 2006. The auditions were grueling due in part to the fact that the director didn’t really see me in the role. But I kept pushing and I’m so glad that I did because it was a part that stretched me as a musical theatre actress. In the past I was used to standing on my mark and singing my soprano ballad. With Maria Von Trapp I had to be much more energetic and literally run around singing with many adorable children.
Q: When you're not performing, how do you like to spend your time? If you weren't an actor, what other profession would you have liked to explore? A: When I’m not on stage, I am usually substitute teaching at Westridge School. I love teaching because I can interact with children from various age groups and because I’m not the “real” teacher, I can have fun with them and talk to them about what they are wearing to the prom or how rehearsals are going for the upcoming production. I think if I hadn’t been initially interested in acting I would have wanted to major in Psychology and become a School Counselor. I have a passion for talking with people and helping them to work through whatever issues they are facing.
Q: Share a story about something you experienced on stage or saw in another production that could only happen in live theater. A: Hmmm…the joys of live theater…honestly it’s hard to come up with one moment that really stands out for me. I will say that since I joined Parson’s Nose in 2008, EVERY production I have done with them has been full of ridiculous and hilarious moments. Any time that you are on stage with Lance Davis or Michael Manuel in particular, be prepared to put your improvisation skills to good use. You might have memorized your lines and you might be ready to say them but you might not always get that opportunity with this crew. That’s what makes Parson’s Nose so brilliant—no reading or full production that we do is ever the same!
Q: What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you personally during a performance? A: Well that's the thing. I'm such a perfect and polished actress that I don't have embarrassing things happen to me...I guess that was just one! :)