Thursday, March 1, 2018

Tinia Moulder #FridayFeeling @mixed_blood @MNTheaterLove #Theater‏

Actress, Tinia Moulder, is with me to discuss her acting career and her most recent performance at Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis Minnesota.  

I had the pleasure of seeing Moulder's performance in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime earlier this month.This play is about a young man with autism named Christopher Boone.  Christopher sets out to investigate the bizarre death of a neighbor’s dog, setting into motion a series of events that expose far greater mysteries. As the clues fall into place, they reveal a community of disparate characters, a family with secrets, and a gifted mind in complicated relationship with the world.

This is a 2015 Tony Award winner and is sponsored by Magenic, Fraser, Minnesota Life College, and the Autism Advocacy and Law Center.

Tinea, how did you get into character for your role/s in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime?
Great question. So many characters. If I’ve counted correctly, I played 12 different characters. Seven had lines and the others were glimpsed or swirled around Christopher as he journeyed to London.
The rehearsal process was intense as we all dug into who these people were, their physicality, voice, and their relationship to Christopher.
In addition to Jack Reuler as our director, we were further supported with a great voice coach, Cheryl Willis and 2 movement directors, Charlie Oates and Brian Bose.
Closing night of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time 
Once all the characters were figured out, it was my personal challenge to maintain all this work. The show was very physical for the ensemble. We were up and down off the stage constantly as we set props and cubes to establish  various locales or stepped into scenes as a character.  

When not on stage, we were actively listening or changing costumes. This all means that my warm up before each performance was very important both physically and vocally. After warming up I would run lines for my many characters and then touch on each one physically. Before stepping on to stage  for a scene I had a little “moment before” thought that helped to propel me into that scene.

Tinia, you have also been in roles for the Guthrie and Chanhassen theater.  Can you talk a little about those productions?
Yes, I have been in 5 shows ( plus numerous understudy opportunities) at the Guthrie and so many shows at Chanhassen Theatres that I can't even begin to count them. Both have given me the opportunity to work with wonderful professionals, on and off stage.

 Footloose dressing room at Chanhassen. (Tinia Moulder, second from right)
Due to the long runs at Chanhassen, it truly does become another home for an actor. Many of my life long friendships were made during runs out there.

"We have gone from discussing who we were dating,
to weddings, births and even deaths
as we have moved through the years."

David Anders ( of I Do I Do fame)was the minister at my wedding. Nine years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer just days after opening 42nd Street at Chanhassen. That 4 month run was also the 4 months of my treatment. It was an intense and challenging time. My goal was to remain present for my daughter ( who was only 2 at the time) and to do my 8 shows a week.
The theater and my cast, most especially the ladies in the dressing room, took great care of me and gave me whatever help I needed. I only missed one performance. I love that most of my career has been in musical theater. I love the challenge of telling a story through song and dance. There is such power in it. I love the personal challenge to physically stay strong in order to perform 8 shows a week.  

HMS Pinafore (Tinia Moulder on right)
Merrily We Roll Along was my first show at the Guthrie. It was directed by John Miller Stephany, choreographed by Marcela Lorca and remains one of my favorite shows and experiences.

It was performed at what was the Guthrie Lab on a long rectangular stage, with audience on both long sides. It was a challenging piece for many reasons, and I loved it. Andrew Cooke was the musical director who became my voice coach and dear friend after he moved here. Stephen Sondheim came to our final performance and even hung out with the cast at our closing party. Very fun to meet him and to hear his many stories.

My next show was Pirates Of Penzance, directed by Joe Dowling and choreographed by David Bolger. This was a many steps audition process involving songs, monologues, dances, scenes and improv over numerous callbacks. It was a really exciting production to be in. The entire theater became our stage with entrances and exits through the aisles and over the balconies. It was very physical and thrilling to sing Gilbert and Sullivan while doing so. My other shows include HMS Pinafore, The Music Man and My Fair Lady. I was the female swing for My Fair Lady, the hardest job I’ve ever had. I covered 5 actors. I had to know all three female vocal parts, all their small roles, all their acting tracks, costume changes and dances. One of my favorites, Joe Chvala, choreographed. So many patterns, lifts and flips to learn and be ready to do. I worked hard with the two male swings staying on top of all the material so we were ready to step in at any time. I went on once.

What was your first role as an actress?

Wow, I have to go way back to high school. I had never been in a show but knew I wanted to try. I got a small role in the fall play. I can't remember the name, only the dress I wore. Next up was How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I was cast as Rosemary. This is when I think I started thinking maybe I really could do this acting thing. I began taking dance class and voice lessons and auditioned for all the shows at my school. Professionally, my biggest break was being cast as Laurie in Oklahoma in my first show at Chanhassen. Oklahoma was the first musical I had ever seen, so this was pretty special to me.

What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?

Not sure if I can think of anything funny……but the most fun has been hanging with the cast and company of Curious Incident. I don’t think I can full describe the joy and laughter that flowed from this group of people. We worked seriously hard on stage, but off stage was filled with friendship, jokes and fun.

What were you like in High school?
I was a little tiny thing with a big voice. I was active in student government, pretty much an A student, a cheerleader my senior year, and serious about singing and acting. Kind of an over achiever. I loved High School, but was definitely ready to move on. I went to Point Park University in Pittsburgh and have a BFA in Theater.

When is your next performance?
I am very busy with my other jobs. I am a teaching artist out at Ashland Productions, choreographing The Boyfriend at Anoka Ramsey Community College and prepping my work as director and choreographer for Shrek Jr at Anthony Middle School. I will also be back as the choreographer for the History Theatre’s remount of Glensheen this  summer.

Tinia, thanks for being with me on theglobaldig.
Thanks for having me.

Readers, please comment below.

More about Tinea can be found on:


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