We are so lucky to be blessed with so many talented friends so we wanted to start a series of #talktuesdays specifically dedicated to performer friends of ours. First up is Hannah Shankman, who has been a friend of ours for years. Maya and Hannah met when they were both performing on the national tour of Les Miserables.
With numerous Broadway credits including "Hair", "Side Show" and now "Wicked", Hannah is a veteran of the stage, so we asked her a couple of questions and she was kind enough to let us into her world. We asked her to let us in on what it's like to prep for an audition, to have a dream role, and to show us the dedication, drive, and hard work it takes, in addition to talent, to have a career like hers. Most Broadway performers don't get the opportunity to go from one show right into another, but Hannah has been lucky enough to have some of the greatest roles on the most incredible stages. Yes, for any of you theatre lovers out there she looked pretty darn amazing in her tattooed costume for "Side Show" and now her voice is center stage every night in "Wicked" where she is part of the ensemble and understudies the starring roles of Elphaba and Nessarose.
In addition to being a Broadway Superstar, she's totally one of Maya's style icons. From her gorgeous manis, to her always perfect cat eyes, she rocks the "I just rolled out of bed this cool" style, and, honestly, she always looks that cool.
How do you know the Ya Sisters? I know the Ya Sisters because Maya and I were in the Les Misérables Tour together!
What do YA do? I'm an actress!
Favorite Broadway show? Favorite Broadway show... that's a tough question. I'll give you my top three... Cabaret, Funny Girl, and Natasha Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812. Aye. Now I'm second guessing myself. Ha!
What are your thoughts on diversity integration on Broadway? I think it's amazing. It should be a no brainer. I think unless the show's story is about race or centralized around a certain ethnic culture, whoever is best for the part should get the role. It's important that everyone be treated equally in casting and in life.
Favorite audition story:I went to an *EPA* when I was very young and sang Greenfinch and Linnet Bird from Sweeney Todd. But, I had practiced it in one key and had the sheet music to a different key. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get the key right. Eventually the pianist stopped me and said "would you like to sing this in the original key? I think you have the wrong sheet music." I said yes and then everything was fine. But the first minute of that audition was an absolutely nightmare. So, always check your music!!
*An EPA is a union open call that Equity (the union for Broadway) is required to hold every certain amount of months, even if the show is presently cast*
What is your go to audition song? I usually get asked to do sides these days, but if I need a song I usually do Domino by Jessie J.
If you could play any role regardless of gender or age, who would you play? Sally Bowles in Cabaret.... or Sweeney in Sweeney Todd.
Do you have a good luck ritual? I do...... I'm so embarrassed. I spit. Ha! I know it's disgusting!
Favorite stage makeup:That's a tough one. I use tons of different stuff, Mac, Tarte, NARS, Sephora brand, and benefit!
How did you balance school and extracurriculars? When I was in school I always had to make sure I was up on all my homework. I wanted to do well in school because some of the colleges I wanted to go to for Musical Theatre required you to have good grades. I tried to make sure to allot time for extracurriculars and school work after after. I also liked to give myself a break between the two in order to reset and rest for a minute.
What inspires you? Watching something I want to do inspires me.
Who inspires you? People who are good and work hard.
What would you tell yourself one year ago? Keep pushing, keep working, trust yourself and breathe.
How did you get where you are? Hard work and determination.
What is one thing you wish there was a cure to? Cancer.
...okay, another!!! Cancer.
BEST part of life: Running. It's my favorite. And cooking.
Favorite place to be:The beach!!!
What do you wish people knew more about? Well I wish more people knew more about global warming.
What do you wish people knew more about you? That I can be vulnerable.
Role Model:My fiancé, Shane. He works SO hard. And my sister. She's a fighter!
Words of Wisdom:You are the only one like you, let yourself shine!
What do you think is necessary to improve our education system: Exposure. I feel like a lot of schools across the country stay in the classroom and never apply it to real life. I think school could truly benefit from venturing outside their bubbles and looking to expose kids to new ways of life, new people, and places.
...what about our world? Recycle. Reuse. Global warming is a real issue and we need to treat our planet with respect and care for future generations.
How do you give back? I have a strong involvement with BCEFA as well as the Covenant House helping homeless youth all over the world.
What young adult would you vote for to be president right now? Hmmmm, young adult for president, I mean I honestly don't know many young adults right now. But characteristic wise, I would choose someone who is level headed, decisive, economically savvy, concerned for our environment and someone who would undertake the delicacy, thoughtfulness, attention, care and strategy required of being the president.
Favorite Snapchat filter:Any of the filters that make my eyes blue! I have always wanted blue eyes.
Five things you need in your dressing room:
2. The first picture my fiancé and I took!
3. Throat coat tea
4. My steamer
5. These theory drops I get from my acupuncturist. They are like Ricolas but completely organic and amazing!
What's your advice to performers? Remember that "no" doesn't mean you're not talented, or not pretty, or not a good person. It just means "no" in this second for this project. Don't let "no" change you. For all the hundreds of NOs there will be a yes. Relish the yes.
*Click on each image to be directed to shop the product*
Hannah didn't share her favorite brand of mascara but this is ours! We love how it looks as if nothing is on your eyelashes, but holds the perfect curled lash. It's also great for people who don't really like wearing makeup and makeup newbies!
This is a house staple. Hannah says it's a must in her dressing room and it's definitely a must in our pantry at home. Maya actually used to keep this tea in her dressing room and she would trade on and off between this tea and hot water with raw Manuka Honey they're definitely both performers tricks. Hannah let you in behind the scenes!
Since we don't want to endure acupuncture at the moment to get some [amazing] theory drops, we both LOVE these drops. It's in a cute reusable tin and sugar free, and they taste like amazing licorice!
Hannah is definitely inspiring us to go see some of the new shows coming to Broadway. What are some shows that you can't wait to see? What was the last show you saw? Who would you like to hear a #talktuesday from next? Wanna talk? Contact us at the link below!