Tamarie Cooper Does a Houstonia Interview!

Since 1996, actress Tamarie Cooper has been writing and starring in annual summer musicals based on her life, first with Infernal Bridegroom and more recently with its successor, The Catastrophic Theatre (of which Cooper is the Associate Director). Tamarie Cooper’s Old as Hell!, which opens on Friday night, is the sixteenth musical in a series that also includes The Tamarie Cooper ShowThe United States of Tamarie, and Tamarie Cooper’s DOOMSDAY REVUE.

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A chat with Catastrophic Theatre's associate director about her new musical, Tamarie Cooper's Old as Hell!.

Since 1996, actress Tamarie Cooper has been writing and starring in annual summer musicals based on her life, first with Infernal Bridegroom and more recently with its successor, The Catastrophic Theatre (of which Cooper is the Associate Director). Tamarie Cooper’s Old as Hell!, which opens on Friday night, is the sixteenth musical in a series that also includes The Tamarie Cooper ShowThe United States of Tamarie, and Tamarie Cooper’s DOOMSDAY REVUE.

Houstonia: Hi, how’s it going?

Tamarie Cooper: Hold on, I’m trying to placate my 3-year-old child with some mindless television. [To her child] ‘How about Daniel Tiger? You want Caillou?’

H: What did you settle on?

TC: We’re watching some Caillou. It’s awful; it’s French-Canadian.

H: So tell me about the new show.

TC: Last summer, my good friend and writing partner Patrick Reynolds made a joke about me having a mid-life crisis. I’m 42 now, and if I live to 84 that will be pretty good. So I was like “Oh shit, I am at the middle mark.” Not that I’m really having a mid-life crisis, but it does make for some good comedic fodder. So we ran with it. And, as is typical of most of my shows, we veer off into some very silly directions, too. It’s not just me standing on stage saying “Oh my God, I’m so old!” for the whole show.

H: Although that would be pretty funny.

TC: We make fun of young people, middle-aged people, really old people—so everybody gets made fun of. 

H: Glad to hear it. How many Tamarie Cooper musicals have you done now?

TC: This is my sixteenth. There are some audience members who have seen every single show. But you don’t have to have the history—it’s not like a soap opera, where you have to have seen the last several installments to know what’s going on. Every year there are tons of new people who come.

H: How would you describe the show to someone who’s never been to one?

TC: It’s a musical—there’s singing, there’s dancing, there’s original music. There’s a live band, there’s 18 people in the cast. It kind of mocks musicals at the same time as it celebrates them. It’s sort of like the Lucille Ball show on acid. There’s a lot of self-deprecation. There’s a lot of stuff that people can’t believe I’m sharing with the audience.

H: Do you worry about revealing too much about yourself? Is it weird when strangers come up to you and know all these intimate details?

TC: I’ve always been kind of an open-book sort of person. I do have to check myself now, especially with stuff related to my marriage. My husband is not in the theater, and he’s a more private, shy kind of person, so I have to mostly leave him out of it or I would probably be in danger of divorce. I do make references to him and my daughter occasionally, but I don’t actually go as far as to reenact a family vacation. Or that fight we had the other night—hilarious!

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