We’re back with another installment of Five Question Friday!!! Join us for a discussion with Eileen Engel- actress and stitcher and all around talent!!
Eileen Engel is a local St. Louis EMC actor, singer, dancer, stitcher, and costumer. She has performed in many shows with Stray Dog Theatre, Variety Children’s Theatre, RS Theatrics, and more. She also designs and constructs costumes at Stray Dog Theatre and sews/dresses for The Muny, Veiled Prophet, Fabulous Fox, Peabody Opera House, and Scottrade Center.
Q: What was your first experience in theatre?
When I was in high school, I was very involved in sports, band/choir, and mainly academics. Spring of my Junior year, my friends encouraged me to audition for Bishop DuBourg’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. I ended up landing the role of the Narrator (co-Narrator with another girl) and fell in love with it all. It’s what changed my life plan and led me to graduating with my BFA in Musical Theatre.
Q: What is the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?
“Have tough skin and keep learning”. It is so crucial to be able to handle rejection and learn from your mistakes. There will always be someone better than you, so you can never let your knowledge, technique, or skill plateau. Determination, healthy competitiveness, confidence, and being humble are the keys. Remembering these things has greatly and positively affected my career.
Q: Tell us about a backstage or onstage mishap you lived through.
In college, I played the role of Bonnie in “Anything Goes”. I was tapping in “Heaven Hop” in my 3″ character heels on a slick painted floor that had been recently mopped. It was a sold-out performance in Southeast Missouri State’s 950-seat Bedell Theatre. My dance partner and I were doing a turn and I completely wiped out. The funny part was that my next line was “then get up and shake your halo”, so I popped up, did a shimmy, and continued the rest of the dance. I thought we played it off, but of course, it happened on the night they videotaped for the archives, so it was forever documented. My friend would constantly tease me about looping my fall on repeat for a laugh every now and then.
Q: What is your dream role?
I have a list of dream roles that I would love to play. Rosa Budd from “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” was one of my top dream roles that I was actually able to perform. Johanna from “Sweeney Todd” is another on my bucket list, and I’m thrilled to be playing that role next April at Stray Dog Theatre. I hope to check more off my list in the future!
Q: What is your current guilty TV pleasure?
I love lighthearted TV (“Psych”, “Modern Family”, “Big Bang Theory”, “The Office”, etc) because it is my one time to let my brain decompress after my long days as both a performer and costumer. However, I’m embarassingly obsessed with “The Bachelor/Bachelorette”. I laugh the entire time at the ridiculousness that ensues; it’s complete entertainment for me.
Thank you Eileen- great to hear from you!!
Grace Austin is an STL area director and educator.
See her work at gracemaustin.com