Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How Now, Dow Jones Q&A

I've added How Now, Dow Jones to my must-see FringeNYC show list. Rather than a new work, this show is a "revisal" of the musical How Now, Dow Jones which ran at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre from November, 1967 until June, 1968 for a total of 220 performances. Although it was nominated for a slew of Tony awards and won one for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Hiram Sherman, it was basically a commercial flop.

How Now, Dow Jones, set in Wall Street, follows Kate who announces the Dow Jones numbers. Her fiancé (played by Elon Rutberg) will not marry her until the Dow Jones Averages hits 1,000. In this new production by Unsung Musicals Co. Inc., the cast has been cut and the intermission eliminated. But, they've managed to add three new songs. Fortunately, the most memorable song, Step to the Rear, from the original remains and is moved to the finale. It should be fun to see what this musical farce about the financial district looks like today, when the average Dow Jones index fluctuates over 9,000.

I spoke with two cast members, Elon Rutberg who plays Herbert P. Magruder and Cori Silberman who plays Cynthia Pike, about their roles and careers:

Elon – You’re a press associate in your day job. In HNDJ, you’re both actor and press?
Yup. Ben (West, the director) and I have worked together in a number of capacities before - one of which was actually working in Jeffrey Richards' (the producer and press agent who is my boss during the day) office. So when Ben brought me onto the project as an actor, I was more than happy to act as press agent as well.

What role are you playing?
I play the role of Herbert P. Magruder, the fiance of Kate, the voice of the Dow Jones. We've been engaged for 3 1/2 years, and I'm basically delaying the wedding until the Dow hits 1000, so my investments can do a little better and I can provide for her in the way I'd like. Kate, however, is none too happy about the delays, and,
well, let's just when a little alcohol and reckless behavior are mixed into that, you've got the first plot complication of "How Now, Dow

Ever have aspirations to work on Wall Street?
A small part of me would love to watch the stock ticker on Bloomberg news and be on the phone with my broker looking for the best new stocks to buy (like my mom has been taken to doing recently as a hobby), but really, no. Pretty much everyone in my family are artists, so being a stockbroker or anything like that wasn't even on my radar while growing up.

How are your investments doing?
Most of my stock was purchased for me by my grandparents, and are now mostly in mutual funds. Sad to say, they took quite a punch in the collapse last year. I think I lost a good 40% when the market dived. But I just signed up with an awesome new investment manager. I have faith that he'll be able to guide my stocks and mutual funds back up.

Cori - Is this your first Fringe show?
This is my first time performing in a FringeNYC show and it has been a great experience. I had a wonderful time producing MOVIE GEEK and LOST: HOW A CERTAIN TV MEGA HUNK STOLE MY IDENTITY at the Fringe in 2005 and 2007.

What role are you playing?
I play Cynthia Pike, a tour guide at the New York Stock Exchange who is obsessed with Mr. Wingate, the CEO of Wingate and CO. After reminding him of a brief "encounter", I agree to become his mistress, despite never actually seeing him because of his busy schedule. Like many people, Cynthia is a good hearted, fun loving woman who tries to do right by her friends while getting caught in some questionable romantic situations in her search for her dream husband.

Who’s your inspiration?
In the theatre world, I am always inspired by strong and quirky women who know who they are and don’t apologize for it. Personally, my family and friends are always a source of inspiration, comfort and love. Specifically, my father, a self made man, inspires me daily with his tireless work ethic, his belief in being able to accomplish the impossible, and his warm and compassionate nature.

You’re a producer as well. How is it to get in front of the audience instead of behind the scenes?
I started as a performer so it feels great to be back on stage. Performing has always been my passion so while I love to do both, I am so very happy to be a part of this cast.

What’s next for you?
I am fortunate to be able to spend my days at AMC working with the original programming team. As for my next show or production, I am not sure yet.

This FringeNYC production of How Now, Dow Jones ( starring Cristen Paige (Spelling Bee, The Visit, Cry-Baby), Colin Hanlon (Rent, I Love You Because) and Fred Berman (The Normal Heart, Room Service) will began performances on Saturday at the Minetta Lane Theatre. There are two more opportunities to catch their show - Thursday, August 20 at 8:15 PM and Sunday, August 23 at 5:45 PM. Tickets are available via TicketWeb or at

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