Being an artist in Dallas-Fort Worth is all about the hustle, says Anastasia Munoz. And she would know. Not only is this actress onstage practically everywhere in town, she's behind the scenes, in a recording booth, and helping build up Oak Cliff with a new co-working and education center.
She's also gearing up to portray one of history's most determined women, 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, in Silent Sky at WaterTower Theatre. It will be the regional premiere of Lauren Gunderson's play, and run January 20 through February 12.
Before Munoz travels back in time to shake up science, she took the time to fill out our survey of serious, fun, and sometimes ridiculous questions.
Name: Anastasia (Tasia) Munoz
Role in Silent Sky: Henrietta Leavitt
Previous work in the DFW area: Orlando in Orlando (Stage West), Eurydice in Eurydice (Undermain Theatre), Kate Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer (Shakespeare Dallas), Brutus in Julius Caesar (Shakespeare in the Bar), Squeaky Fromme in Mean (Ochre House), Mayella Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird (Dallas Theater Center and Casa Mañana).
Where you currently reside: Dallas
First theater role: I was in the chorus of Give My Regards to Broadway in middle school.
First stage show you ever saw: I saw a church production of The Sound of Music with my grandmother.
Moment you decided to pursue a career in theater: There have been several moments of devastation and triumph on my path to pursuing a career in the theater. I've had to choose it many times over.
However, I made a very prudent choice as a second grader, when we were asked to write a paragraph on what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote a three-page paper, including all the universities I wanted to attend and all the careers I wanted to have: doctor, marine biologist, archeologist, etc. After reflection, I decided I should probably be an actor, so I might just have the chance to play characters with all those jobs.
Most challenging role you’ve played: Brutus in Julius Caesar for Shakespeare in the Bar.
Special skills: Rollerskating! And goal coaching!
Something you’re REALLY bad at: Keeping up with old out-of-town friends and family members, though I love them so, so, so much and miss them dearly. Henrietta and I may have that in common.
Current pop culture obsession: Tasty videos.
Last book you read: Station Eleven
Favorite movie(s): The Fall
Favorite musician(s): Beyoncé and Sam Cooke
Favorite song: "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey
Dream role: Kate, Beatrice, Rosalind, Hedda, Blanche ...
Favorite play(s): Anything by Sarah Ruhl.
Favorite musical(s): Cabaret
Favorite actors/actresses: Cate Blanchett and Alan Cumming
Favorite food: Tacos and barbecue! A brisket taco?! Yaaaaasss! Like a good Texas girl.
Must-see TV show(s): Game of Thrones, Girls, The Leftovers, Drunk History
Something most people don’t know about you: My true claim to fame is my anime voice-acting career.
Place in the world you’d most like to visit: North Africa: Morocco and Egypt.
Pre-show warm-up: Its different for every show. I imagine this pre-show ritual will consist of standing outside and looking up.
Favorite part about your current role: Henrietta is a badass #bosslady. She was fearless and bold in a time when she wasn't allowed to be, but that thought never even crosses her mind. I love her. I'm so honored to bring her to life.
Most challenging part about your current project: I wish I had more time to spend on this project.
Most embarrassing onstage mishap: I was playing a giant Ukrainian mob boss named Vladimir Komekissme in Coppertone II: The Pope of Chilitown at the Ochre House, and I make a grand entrance right in the last moment of the play and deliver a long monologue, wrapping up the whole show, then launching into the final fight scene.
The character was a bunraku puppet, so I was dressed all in black including a black mask covering my face, and the puppet was strapped to my body.
I made my entrance one night and completely forgot my monologue. So I just stood there, blank-faced, unseen by the audience with my puppet mouth held agape and said, "Uh ... um ... soooooo ... I've come to ... kill you all." Then launched into the final battle. It was actually the most amazing end of the show we had all run.
Career you’d have if you weren’t in theater: I would run an artist co-working and education center in a restored historic church. Which I actually do. I'm the artistic and education director for Arts Mission Oak Cliff, opening in early 2017.
Favorite post-show spot: Lakewood Landing
Favorite thing about Dallas-Forth Worth: The best thing about DFW is that you can actually make a living as a working theater artist. You have to hustle hard, but you can do it. We have a vibrant performance art scene. Exciting things are happening in this city, with more to come.
Most memorable theater moment: I racked my brain trying to think of a memorable acting moment of my own, but the most memorable theater moment would have to be the curtain call of the first middle school production I directed.
I had been standing in the back, beaming, clapping, and marking all the choreography. It was in the same cafetorium where I performed my first play, and fell in love with theater. The kids were amazing. What I thought was impossible, all came together. The audience rose all around me in a standing ovation. My heart leapt. My eyes leaked. Magic.