Q&A: Adena Nelson Sweeney talks love of acting, theater

Adena Nelson Sweeney, seen here, accepts her award for Best Overall Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Musical, Comedy or Drama at the 2011-2012 Montie Awards ceremony at The Owen Theater. She won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical and the Best Overall award for her role in "Nunsense" directed by Travis Bryant.
Adena Nelson Sweeney, seen here, accepts her award for Best Overall Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Musical, Comedy or Drama at the 2011-2012 Montie Awards ceremony at The Owen Theater. She won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical and the Best Overall award for her role in “Nunsense” directed by Travis Bryant.

Adena Nelson Sweeney won two awards at the first Montie Awards ceremony in 2012. She has the distinct honor of being the first to receive the Best Overall Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Musical, Comedy or Drama. What made the award interesting is that Sweeney won her award after being named Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her role in “Nunsense,” directed by Travis Bryant, rather than a leading role one might would assume would nab the title.

“Nunsense” won seven awards out of 10 nominations that year, which makes it the fourth most successful show in The Monties Awards history. The Monties caught up with Sweeney to get her take on being a part of the Montgomery County theater community.

The Monties: What has been your favorite show to be a part of and what made being a part of the experience so much fun?
Adena Nelson Sweeney: I loved being part of the first Nunsense show. There was such great chemistry and genuine friendship amongst the cast and director. That coupled with a standard of professionalism made each performance thrilling and really just a joy.

TM: In general, how do you prepare for a show? What tips might you give to others?
ANS: I can’t say that I have a particular process when preparing for a show. I seem to gear things based on the uniqueness of the project and my particular stage in life. I can say that, for me, the two most important elements in any performance is trying to make sure that my character is a real person, and not just an idea, and creating depth and connections in their relationships on stage. Well, that and lines, right? Lines should be like a second skin. When you know them backwards and forwards, that’s when the real fun begins.

TM: If you could be a part of any show, what would it be and why?
ANS: Oh, I can’t say there’s one particular play or character. Good writing and direction can make anything a dream role.

TM: What is your favorite part about being involved in community theater?
ANS: I love the arts. What’s wonderful about community theater is its accessibility. There’s a quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf that says, “Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence to create something of substance or beauty.” I know that’s true and I believe community theater is one avenue that provides people the opportunity to participate in the joy that comes from being creative.

Tickets are on sale now for the fourth annual Montie Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award for only $10. The ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. at The Crighton Theater. Ticket price includes admission into the after party at Founders Plaza across the street from The Crighton next to The Owen Theater.
Seating is limited so visit www.crightontheatre.org/Ticketing to reserve seats today.

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