Powerful Producing with Writer and Producer Kate Pazakis

Kate Pazakis is an actress, producer and artistic director for the Rockwell: The Table & Stage. It’s a quaint and cozy theatre house that feature musicals of bold talent and meaning. The entire concept itself is fantastic. Located in the heart of Los Feliz Village, Rockwell: Table & Stage offers Angelenos a truly unique experience by staging live, musical performances while serving unwavering cuisine (Chef Wayne) with seasonal alternating menus. Baroque chandeliers and a dark rustic vibe fashion a warm indoor eatery and performance space. So, who makes the Rockwell “rock”? Producer and Writer Kate Pazakis and her talented team, especially producing partner Bradley Bredeweg (who also directed “Edward Scissorhands”).

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Specifically, Kate Pazakis is responsible for the concept development and artistic vision, with a strong influence on script and song selection. She hires and oversees a director, musical director, casting director, technical director, and stage manager to evolve each show from creative concept to final production. In many instances, high profile personalities perform as recurring lead roles or surprise guest stars, creating substantial buzz around each show, which makes it very appealing.

img_8760Kate and her team produce 25 plus original in-house shows per month as well as lead and motivate a production crew of 15. Pazakis has also created her unique niche within Rockwell: the UMPO, which stands for (Unauthorized Musical Parody Of) and represents productions that Kate feels will resonate strongly with the audience.
Recently, Gemma was extended an invitation to see “Edward Scissorhands,” the musical. It was incredible and makes you realize how exciting theatre is in Los Angeles. Furthermore, when, you have an excellent showrunner like Kate Pazakis, the productions at The Rockwell are going to be high quality, filled with authentic talent and deliver a great story. When Kate had a moment to speak with us, we were able to get insight about her creative process and what inspires her.

How were you introduced to the Theatre World? I know that you were a performer before becoming a producer/writer.
I started doing musicals in first grade. I was hooked from that moment.

Being Artistic Director requires many details and tasks. What motivates you (since you are also responsible for motivating cast and crew members)?
For me, it would be the reactions of the audience members, how excited they get when they see live theatre — especially in Los Angeles. It’s very inspiring.

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What made you want to start UMPO (which stands for Unauthorized Musical Parody Of)? It seems like an incredible combination of creativity and sharp business skills.
Rockwell hired me as the artistic director of the space and part of my job was to bring in outside shows. I did not like the shows that were being brought in and decided to create them myself. Furthermore, I do feel that I’m in a great space for a venue that mixes creativity and business skills.

Can you please describe the audition process? Strong Vocals would have to be at the top of the list. Vocals are first. And then acting is just about as close. It must be a robust double threat.

You and who else are the core members of UMPO?
I have a group of about 30 actors that tend to do a lot of the shows. It is not a company per se, but people always want to return.

What do you love most about the theater world?
I love being able to play pretend as an adult with no holds barred. It’s life, the feedback is honest and immediate.

It’s interesting that you choose certain favorite cult films to parody
Is there a common thread that stands out?
I usually pick a property that is quotable or very current. Being a relevant production that will resonate with the audience and initiate a discussion.

“Edward Scissorhands is phenomenal.” The cast is so talented and the writing is superb! The production was directed by Bradley Bredeweg There were light and heavy moments. Do you feel that you are given a powerful platform to shed light on particular social issues? For Edward Scissorhands, police brutality stood out as well as the fear our country has of someone they perceive as different.
Thank you! I feel it is a great platform to discuss the terrifying politics in our world today.

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Do you ever perform in any of the productions?
I played the T-Rex in J”Jurassic Park” and loved it. It was my return to the stage after many years. It’s interesting because, after such a long break from performing, you get to look at the process with fresh eyes. Who knows. Maybe I’ll do it again soon. LOL.

Lastly, you’re a mom and how do you balance that with all your responsibilities?
I’ve made sure that I’ve set strict boundaries with my time so that there is a healthy balance between family and work. I’m an organized person, but delegating is crucial.

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We want to thank Kate for speaking with us. Edward Scissorhands has been extended until the 30th, and we highly recommend you see it. You might even shed a tear.
Tickets: Rockwell-LA.com
www.rockwell-la.com

 

https://www.facebook.com/katepazakis

https://www.instagram.com/pazakattack/

 

 

 

Staying True to his Craft: Actor Spencer Trinwith Talks ​Upcoming Projects and “Wonder Woman 2”

The decision to pursue acting is always a brave one. Of course, many artists feel it is their life passion and must fulfill their dream. The fact is the industry consists of handling rejection, competition, and hard moments. However, certain artists learn to lean into the struggle (setbacks and all), and channel that energy to become even more passionate and determined. Sometimes, there is even an art to learning how to adapt. Such is the case with talented actor Spencer Trinwith, who always knew from an early age that he wanted to be an actor. Spencer is within his authentic element when working on a film set. He’s on the rise and applies a smart and insightful approach to his craft. Spencer has also experienced an enormous health challenge but tapped into other forms of creativity to stay focused. Trinwith knew acting was his life purpose and that would not change. “There is something so special about how collaborative acting is — all of these different parts moving in unison and working toward a similar goal. Not to mention, it’s darn fun,” said Trinwith.

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Trinwith explained his desire to act as a career became very clear in High School. He expanded by emphasizing that he was not into academics. Spencer wanted to focus on the arts. He attended the University of North Carolina for the Arts and lived in DC for a while. He comes from actor parents and due to his innate interest in the arts combined with the family exposure to creative endeavors inspired his ambition even more. He was even named after Spencer Tracy. Trinwith has quite an impressive resume. He has appeared on television in “Law & Order: SUV” alongside special guest star, Sharon Stone as well as the television show “VEEP” with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Hugh Laurie. Spencer’s professional theater credits are extensive. He played Norm in “Suicide, Incorporated” in Washington, DC to stellar reviews. He also starred in an adaptation of the Stanley Tucci film “Blind Date” titled “The Personals,” for the stage.

After a health setback at the age of 21 that left him viewing life from a different perspective, his mindset had to shift to keep him healthy and focused on healing as well as still inspired to accomplish his future goals. Spencer has made a full recovery and even worked on five films this past summer. He’s excited about his short film (about to hit the film festival circuit), Saved by Grace, which required intensive physical stuntwork. Spencer happily took on the challenge. He is also starring in Wonder Woman 2 1984, which is “set for July 5th, 2020 Warner Brothers worldwide release. His story is inspiring, and when he had a moment, the thoughtful and passionate actor took the time to speak with us.

Tell me a bit about your childhood. Your parents are involved in the acting world, correct? It’s always great to have that support.

It is wonderful! I get to have a scene study partner pretty much on call 24/7 between the two of them! I grew up in the Bay Area and Washinton, DC. My parents have always been incredibly supportive of me pursuing this career.

You recently went through a challenging time with degenerative disc disease. How did you stay so strong mentally? Did you feel there was a time that you might not be able to act again?

Music. Most of the time playing guitar would be too difficult for me. But I got into producing on my computer. I would spend hours while on bed rest. Sometimes days. I would compose music — everything: hip-hop beats, electronic, rock, metal, soundtrack, EVERYTHING. I have a gigantic catalog of music from my time before my surgery. I’m very proud that despite everything, I was still able to find a way to be creative. I never stopped creating!

You have had the opportunity to work on many film sets over the past summer. What was the film shoots like for Saved by Grace and Really Love?

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Saved by Grace was particularly exciting for me because I got to perform all of my stunts. From hand to hand combat, to falling out of trees. They had me doing just about everything, and I welcomed it! Mud and everything! I had a blast working on Really Love. My scene with Kofi Siriboe and Yootha Wong-Lou-Sing was virtually all improvised. It was such a fun give-and-take!

Regarding your acting process, you had mentioned that you try to approach from a simplistic approach versus “doing too much.” Can you elaborate?

Yes, the age-old actor dilemma of: “What do I do with my hands right now?” We can easily fall into the trap of feeling like “we are not doing enough” and because of that: we can run the risk overcompensating. Trying to push for a result. For me, I try to keep it to a few steps — Know what your character wants, commit to your character’s circumstances, listen to your acting partner, respond to your acting partner and your hands will follow after.

 

spencer outsideAlso, you are always challenging yourself to step outside your comfort zone with your roles. Is this your nature concerning risk-taking with specific roles?

I feel it’s a bit of a mutual attraction! I enjoy working on roles that are a far departure from myself, or extreme circumstances. To let my imagination run wild with the thought of “What If?” It’s certainly a rush and a difficult task. But I love it.

What does acting bring to you personally as well as your life?

I cannot live without it. There is something so special about how collaborative acting is — all of these different parts moving in unison and working toward a similar goal. Not to mention, it’s darn fun. When I was on bedrest, it was very isolating. Yet I did have a deep, burning desire for acting and knew that is where I belonged.

After living in DC, which is a gorgeous city, what do you think of L.A. now that you are after living and auditioning here?

DC And LA couldn’t be any more different! Both have a lot to offer. I will say though, the first time I ever flew into Los Angeles, (considering I have no family here or relation to this city), as soon as my plane touched down at LAX, I had this overwhelming sense of belonging. I knew this was going to be my home and when you are in a new home its best to create a network of friends and associations that make you honestly feel “at home.”

You have been working so much. Did you take a Thanksgiving break?

I did not spend Thanksgiving with my parents this year. I volunteered with “family” at Project Angel Food in Los Angeles, bright and early at 6 am on this holiday, prepping meals in their kitchen for those in need. It’s a fantastic charity in Los Angeles County which provides free meals for men and women too sick to shop and cook for themselves, and it’s been doing this for almost 30 years.

Everyone is super excited about WW2 1984! Can you please expand upon your character a bit?

Due to NDA (non-disclosure agreement), I can’t speak about my character or the film. However, I’m so excited for its release as I’ve been a lifelong fan of DC comics and characters!

On a final note, please click the link below to hear Spencer speak on a recent podcast from KTLA!

https://ktla.com/2018/11/26/spoken-dreams-spencer-trinwith-actor/


Gemma Magazine would like to thank Spencer Trinwith for joining us. We can’t wait to see all of his upcoming projects. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to do a followup. For now, Spencer is happily traveling due to nonstop work and living out of a suitcase. He would not have it any other way.

To follow Spencer on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/spencer.trinwith.3

https://www.instagram.com/spencertrinwith/

 

Photos by Brian To / Styling by Victor Hugo Guevara