Happy Labor Day Everyone!
On this day off, I decided that I wanted to share my wonderful interview with the beautiful and fabulous Kim Grogg-Marin!
For those of you who don't know Kim, here's her bio for starters:
Kim’s career in theater began when her kindergarten teacher caught her skipping naptime and singing and dancing in front of the bathroom mirror. From there, she went on to graduate from Indiana University with a degree in theater and drama. After 10 years in Los Angeles, she moved to New York City in 1989 and was the Drama Director at the Hewitt School in Manhattan from 1990 to 1998, where she taught drama and speech and directed their drama/musical productions.
With a multi-faceted career as a Teacher, Choreographer, Director and Performer, Kim has worked on over 100 musical theatre productions, including productions of Gypsy, Hello Dolly, Pippin, Annie, The Music Man, Show Boat, Oklahoma, Dames at Sea, Damn Yankees, Big River, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Brigadoon, State Fair, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Nunsense and Menopause, the Musical in theatres across the country. Her favorite theatrical experiences are the world premiere productions that she directed and choreographed in her hometown of Wabash, Indiana: Wait ’til You Get to Wabash and Light Up the Town.
In addition to stage work, Kim has appeared in several films. Her most exciting and exotic film shoot was for the Italian movie, Ole’, where she played the plucky side-kick to Darryl Hannah’s schoolteacher character. Kim is also a print and commercial model where she has represented Rider Jeans, Heinz, Liberty Mutual, Meridia, Januvia, Raptiva, Cimzia and many other pharmaceuticals.
Kim began her transition from theater/film to cabaret in 2006, a move that garnered her 3 MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Award nominations for her many cabaret shows and a 2016 MAC Award win with cabaret artist and friend, Kim Sutton, for their duo show: Whenever I Call You Friend. The highlight of Kim’s work as a cabaret artist was performing at Carnegie Hall in It’s Delovely: A 125th Birthday Celebration of Cole Porter.
Kim most recently was honored by being inducted into her hometown High School Hall of Distinction. Kim is a founding member of Singnasium, a non-profit organization located in New York City; the mission is simple: Keeping the Arts Alive by Helping the Artist Thrive.
Kim is a member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA and proudly serves on the MAC Board of Directors as well as on the Board of Directors for the St. George Theatre in Staten Island.
I met Kim for the first time over 7 years ago at Lennie Watt's first Arrangement Experience Bootcamp in 2012! Bootcamp is a challenging and bonding experience! There is nothing that bonds like creating music together! Since then, I've come to know Kim. She is one of the warmest, kindest and most inviting people I know! You may have seen her supportive presence around town!
It is my honor and joy to feature her as my celebrity guest for September!
For this interview, I asked Kim the following questions
1) Can you share with us some interesting facts that most people don’t know about you?
Some people may not know that my husband and I are members of a motorcycle gang! AFMC: American Flyers Motorcycle Club. My husband, Rich, has been riding for years. After the first time I rode on the back of his bike, I was hooked. I love it! We do about two rides a year. One domestic....usually out west somewhere. The riding is good in Utah. We also do one ride internationally. Last year we drove around Sicily, the year before was the Peloponnesus Region of Greece. This year we are going to Turkey. We start in Istanbul and finish in Cappadocia.
I collect Mermaids. Ever since seeing the movie The Secret of Roan Inish, I have been fascinated with sea creatures. The move was really magical and it made me love seals, whales, octopus, dolphins...all sea life. I still eat fish though....is that bad??
Another little known fact is that in the '80s and when I lived in LA, I worked for the rock group Whitesnake. I started off as the personal assistant to the lead singer's wife, Tawny Kitaen. Lead singer being David Coverdale. Then after a while working for her, I was put on the Whitesnake payroll and worked for Tawny and David doing assisting things.....it was a crazy job!
2) You are an amazing performer, supporter of cabaret, philanthropist, and so much more. What kicked off your passion? How did you discover your passion for music and realized that it was what you wanted to do?
In my bio I say that my love for performing kicked in at a very young age. One day, when I was in Kindergarten, we were supposed to be having nap time. I sneaked into the bathroom and started singing and dancing in front of the mirror. My teacher caught me and sent me back to my little rug on the floor. I really wanted to continue my show in the bathroom! I grew up with ballet and dance lessons and I actually had to climb 'up a deep and very narrow staircase' to get to my classes. Every time I hear that A Chorus Line song, it takes me back to my childhood and my world of dance. I had a wonderful ballet teacher and she believed in me, even though I was always bigger than the other ballerinas! I was a very good dancer and she could see that I loved it. Her name was Pauline Geyer and she really inspired me! Along with dance, I sang in every choir that I could. I did all the plays and musicals in school....I taught dance at Indiana University and went on to teach drama at a private girl's school on the Upper East Side. Theatre and music have always just been "with me" and a part of my life. After leaving my life as a musical theatre performer, I morphed into a cabaret career and fell in love with the NYC Cabaret community. And I am now in a position to be a real supporter of our world. I am on the MAC Board and I love it. Plus, I have been involved with Lennie Watts' new adventure, Singnasium, and working on that has been great.
3) Do you have a couple of particularly interesting stories that you'd like to share with the readers?
Hmmmmm. no not really.
4) What is your "go-to" before you perform? It can be a routine, physical or mental space.
I would have to say I "go-to" heavy mascara and sometimes false lashes! Also lipstick. I feel that when people come to hear someone sing, they look at their mouth and I think they need to really see the face....so lipstick is very important. On a more serious note, I just try to be as prepared as possible. I am not so confident that I think I can do a show without much rehearsal. I love to rehearse and love to get the music in my head and in my body. I read somewhere once that Fred Astaire KNEW he had a dance in his body was when he could read a book and comprehend the book as his feet danced the dance. I feel like when I can get a song in my body and really concentrate on telling the story without searching for lyrics or searching for notes, then I feel confident and good about what I am doing. Pre-performing, I must warm-up my voice and stretch a bit. And finally a few days before my show, I get a facial. My facialist massages inside my mouth, along my jaw and around my teeth. It is amazing and really helps me loosen up and open up my sound!
5) What motivates your creativity and passion for life? Name three things that never fails to put a smile on your face!
As I said, I grew up dancing and singing and the culture of dance and music has stayed with me. Theatre and music excite me and my passion is fueled through that love. Same for life, I think my reason for existence is to love, so every day that I am given to love, to be kind and to cherish the important things in my life is what motivates me!
3 things that put a smile on my face:
1. The beautiful life that I share with my husband, Rich. The thought of that, everyday, puts a smile on my face. He is such a generous and soulful man and I am so lucky to have met him. My life with him really allows me to pursue my singing and devote some of my time to cabaret. That is a really good thing.
2. My dog Cecil puts a smile on my face every time I think about him and certainly every moment I am with him. He is a little rascal, but I am crazy about him!
3. Ice Cream. The thought of ice cream makes me smile......
6) Share with us what you have in the pipeline for us to be on the lookout for!
I have not done a show in many years so I am excited to be working on a show with my very good friend Lennie Watts. It is called Hometown Heroes. Here is a blurb about our show: Multiple Award winners Kim Grogg and Lennie Watts join forces to honor their HOMETOWN HEROES! Grogg, from Indiana, and Watts, from Missouri will pay tribute to songwriters and artists that hail from their home states. Featuring artists from Cole Porter to Burt Bacharach and Hoagy Carmichael to Michael McDonald, Grogg and Watts will explore their musical roots, with a nod to artists from New York, where they have resided for over 30 years. Steven Ray Watkins Musical Directs with Henry Fraser on bass.September 21 at 9:00 at The Beach Cafe.We have one show at The Beach Cafe as well as 3 shows in November at the Laurie Beechman.
COME SEE KIM GROGG-MARIN ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18TH AND EXPERIENCE HER LIVE IN ACTION!!
INVITE A FRIEND, BRING YOUR FAVORITE SONG AND COME SING WITH THE MULTI-AWARD WINNING, FABULOUS STEVEN RAY WATKINS ON PIANO! SHARE WITH US WHAT YOU'VE GOT IN YOUR PIPELINE!!