Here is an interview between Courtney and Jim DeBlasi of The Cue Magazine that was done during the Westchester Broadway Theatre run of I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE.
RUNNING LINES: COURTNEY BALAN
BY: Jim DeBlasi
Before performing as one of the two women in I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE!, Courtney appeared in the show OFF BROADWAY. On Broadway she was the standby for the females in the show [title of the show] and created the role of Hatchet-Face in CRY BABY. She also understudied and performed the role of Jenny in , IN MY LIFE.
JD: What is your first memory of theatre?
CB: I grew up in NJ so seeing shows was part of my life. The first one I remember is LES MIZ and I remember thinking that was what I wanted to do. My parents were so supportive and started me in classes.
JD: Did you pursue theatre at that time?
CB. My parents wanted me to start slow – at the age of 13 they wanted me to be a kid – their belief was that work was for adults. I went on to the University of Michigan for Musical Theatre and I got my first professional job the summer before my senior year at college.
JD: What was the turning point – you’re big break?
CB: I don’t think I’ve had a big break – I’ve worked really hard and have had a steady career. I am very lucky to be able to make my living doing this but I don’t really think there has been any life-altering event. I came to the City and struggled to see where I fit in – I was non-Equity so I just went to open calls. If I had to choose one thing, I guess it would be getting I LOVE YOU. . . Off Broadway – that show at that time helped me to understand what I do – it steered me in the right direction. As an actor you need to know what your strengths are and for me, it was playing multiple comedic characters but having vulnerable moments as well.
JD: Any perceptions that were shattered?
CB: I think coming to realize there is no ladder of success – I know people who star in Broadway shows and then go off and do regional theatre. It is not a matter of always trying to one up yourself. You just need to keep working and challenging yourself and enjoy what you do wherever you do it.
JD: What’s been your biggest hurdle?
CB: Not necessarily fitting in physically for what I do. So much of this industry is if you look right for the job and I am kind of in-between. It can be tough when you fall between types because there is always someone that is the exact type.
JD: How do you see yourself?
CB: I feel that comedy best suits me – I am most comfortable and it is very challenging. I love finding humor in things that aren’t obvious.
JD: What is your philosophy on comedy:
CB: The valuable lesson that I learned is that I actually don’t have a fear of looking foolish in rehearsal – I have a fear of looking foolish in my daily life – but in rehearsal, I like to go as far as I can and be pulled back. Allowing yourself to look foolish and not fearing being judged are how I handle comedy.
JD: How did you first get in I LOVE YOU?
CB: My first audition after signing on with an agent was I LOVE YOU Off Broadway. I saw the show thought it would be a good show for me, went into the audition and hoped for a callback. I was supposed to play Eva in EVITA in summer stock when I got the call that I got the job – my first thought was that I don’t get to play Evita? But, this show represents everything I love to do
JD: How did you like performing in three-quarter round?
CB: It was a little tough and we had to let go some of the things that worked so well with the show on a proscenium stage but on the WBT stage there were things that worked better – so we lost some things but gained others. Now that I am used to it I think it works really well here and would probably have a tough time going back to a proscenium stage with this show.
JD: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
CB: It changes almost every week but I do like the times when everyone is on stage together. I enjoy “Meet the Parents” and I love the “Lasagna” scene.
JD: What were your thoughts on the WBT?
CB: I love regional theatre and this is great to be able to work here in NY regionally and get to go to my own home every night – this is the best of both worlds for me. This is a great theatre and I think that because it is so close to the city, they get some amazing talent
JD: What are your thoughts on reviewers?
CB: I think that they still influence the public and that can be a real shame sometime. I also think we have a problem with blog reviewers and reporting on shows before they are intended to be reviewed. Previews should be were you get to iron out the kinks and to fail and to work out things – people who come and see shows in previews are reporting as if the shows were officially opened. I think with blogs and any time that anyone can write something anonymously, it leads to them writing things that they probably wouldn’t say if they had to identify themselves. I tend not to read reviews till I am done with the show. I try to avoid them because I think that they are influential not only to the theatergoers but to the actors as well.
JD: What’s been the biggest change on Broadway?
CB: I think that the current trend is that people feel that they need to recognize something – whether it be the show title or the people in the show. Revivals or favorite movies those seem to be the projects that are withstanding and making a go of it.
JD: What’s been your best career advice?
CB: I think it is the same advice that I give and that it was given to me –anonymous once said to me that you need to know what you do and do it better than anyone else.