Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Colleen Zenk Gets Back To Her Roots

As reported at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmys, the mutli-talented and inspiring Colleen Zenk is bouncing back from the loss of AS THE WORLD TURNS by singing and dancing her way into new roles on New York Broadway stages.  We Love Soaps had the opportunity to visit with this divine talent during a rehearsal break for Summer Stock NYC.  

We Love Soaps: I’m hear with Colleen Zenk who is appearing in Summer Stock.
Colleen Zenk: Summer Stock NYC.  We open Friday, July 16th. 

We Love Soaps: We have been watching you rehearse today. Amazing!  A lot of your fans from AS THE WORLD TURNS may think this is a new project for you.  But actually doing musical theater is very much returning to your roots, is that right?
Colleen Zenk: Very much.  I had my start in musical theater.  But it’s been over 20 years since I’ve been on a stage in New York.  I am so thrilled, I can’t tell you.

We Love Soaps: When you first came to New York, was this your hope?
Colleen Zenk: All I wanted to do was musical theater. Actually I wanted to be Liza Minelli but that’s a whole other story.  I think all of us of a certain age wanted to be Liza.  But I got sidetracked for 32 years doing daytime television.

We Love Soaps: A sidetrack that was very rewarding for us viewers.  But now we get to see that balanced with this other side.
Colleen Zenk: It’s been a very sad couple of weeks since World Turns has gone.  But the joy I have had working with all these kids here who are so fabulous, they are unbelivable.  And the great Karen Mason and Pearl Sun and the entire company.  This has been such a joy for me, so I haven’t even had time to grieve World Turns.  I bounced into rehearsals here right after production was shut down. 

We Love Soaps: The bittersweet part of this is that this last week on AS THE WORLD TURNS we have seen some of the best work of your career.  Barbara has spent the entire week alone, playing against a clown doll in a storage room.
Colleen Zenk: I read something this morning saying it’s really turned into my one-woman show.  That’s what it felt like, just me and the props. I said, “Someone has to call SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE or Second City because all I’m doing these days is improving with props.”

We Love Soaps: Is that mostly improv we’re seeing in that room?
Colleen Zenk: Everything is blocked out as far as camera shots.  But everything I did with the all the props.  A lot of it was laid out in the script, but a lot of it wasn’t. 

We Love Soaps: How about the pixie sticks?
Colleen Zenk: Actually the pixie sticks were in the scripts. "And I am Barbara friggin’ Ryan!" (laughs)

We Love Soaps: Have you ever had this many scenes by yourself before?
Colleen Zenk: No.  It’s been overwhelming.  The amount of monologue I had with props and with clown and have been unbelievable.  I would go in there every day saying, “How much more can I say to myself?”  And every day I would go in and there would be more to say!

We Love Soaps: At the very least it’s a woman show, but better, it’s an Emmy reel.  I’m just saying! Now what can we look forward to seeing you perform in Summer Stock?
Colleen Zenk: I’ll be performing Mame with Karen Mason.  And a wonderful piece from City of Angels with Pearl Sun.  But my very very favorite is a role that I never got to do when I was younger, and here I am being given a chance to play Charity Hope Valentine in Sweet Charity.  We’re doing a whole group of pieces from Charity, and there I am strutting my little heart out. 

We Love Soaps: Anyone in the New York area does not want to miss this.
Colleen Zenk: No they don’t.  We are starting Friday, July 16th, running through the 23rd.  We start at The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts downtown, then we move up to the Danny Kaye playhouse.  So go online to

We Love Soaps: You are such an inspiration for us.  You have had a 32-year job coming to an end, and have shared about overcoming adversity in terms of cancer.  Instead of sitting down you are standing up, taking charge of your career, and kicking ass. 
Colleen Zenk:  Thank you. I really feel that every day that is given to me at this point is a joy and a gift and it has been such a joy and a gift to me to be part of this wonderful project.  My daughter Kelsey is in the company as well, so I’m so excited and so proud of her.  

EDITOR'S NOTE: Press here to get your tickets for Colleen Zenk's fabulous and dazzling performance in NY Summer Stock.  Come July 16th and say hi to Damon & Roger as well!  To see more of Colleen's rehearsal go to WLS TV #52. 

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City at Mental Health Counseling & Marriage And Family Therapy Of New York.   He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve"

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