Exclusive Interview with NYC’s Side Splitting Who Dunnit- Shear Madness


Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg

BroadwaySelect met with Shear Madness’ hilarious cast members; Jordan Ahnquist (Tony) and Kate Middleton (Barbara).

Q: If you could each only use one sentence to describe SHEAR MADNESS what would it be?

Jordan: Shear Madness is an infectious, surprising, silly, energetic, fun murder mystery/choose your own adventure comedy with something for everyone.
KATE: A zany, fun, hilarious roller-coaster of a murder mystery who-done- it!

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your characters: Barbara DeMarco and Tony Whitcomb?

Tony owns the SHEAR MADNESS hair salon. The host of the party, Tony is never at a loss for words. He’s full of stories, a quick wit and a ton of energy. He has a child like energy with contagious playfulness.
KATE: Barbara DeMarco is the manicurist and hair stylist at Shear Madness Salon. Sharp as a tack one minute, ditsy, gum-poppin, New Yorker the next.

Q: SHEAR MADNESS has quite a few plot twists and surprises. What was it like to rehearse for this show and how did it compare to rehearsing for shows with more conventional story lines?

Jordan: Well to start, the script is pretty big to account for any number of possibilities the audience gives us. So there’s a lot to learn. We also get to enjoy the creativity of writing and trying new jokes, and inserting references to current events. SHEAR MADNESS is unlike anything I’ve performed before. Aside from the accompanying adrenaline the first audience gives every play, most shows don’t change too drastically once the audience arrives. Not so here. Nothing can prepare you for the first performance of SHEAR MADNESS with an audience. They are the 7th character in our play and we have to adapt to whatever they are bringing us. It keep you on your toes and really trains you to become a great listener.
KATE: This show can be learned and rehearsed as much as you want, but without an audience it’s impossible to solidify or plan. Every night is different because every audience is different and they are the 7th character in the production.

Q: Kate, you are the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of the non-profit theatre company Ground UP Productions. What was it that inspired you to start this company and how can people get involved?

KATE: Ground UP was started in 2005 with friends from UNC Chapel Hill in order to create our own work and help shape our careers. We also had a love of new plays and musicals and wanted to help bring these exciting new works to the NYC theatre scene. After 26 full scale productions and a great education outreach program were still going strong! Tons of info and ways to get involved can be found at www.groundupproductions.org.

Jordan, what is it that inspired you to become an actor?

Jordan: In high school I was playing Tevyé in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (weren’t we all?) and I remember a moment in the song Do You Love Me when I felt this incredible connection between myself, my friend playing Goldé and the audience. I can’t really describe it, but I felt this presence and connection with everyone in the room. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true. I decided I want more of that in my life. I’m grateful to pursue that connection each time out.

Q: Why should people come and see SHEAR MADNESS?

Jordan: It’s fun! It’s really fun!
KATE: It is truly an evening for the whole family and side-splitting fun. The real excitement is that no matter how many times you see it ya never know what’s coming next!