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  • Featured Actor of the Day: Deborah Berman

    Today’s featured actor is Deborah Berman, who was delightful as the musically-inclined Mrs. Goldberg. Learn more about her, below!

    THE PERSONAL:

    1. Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and what is your background? 

    I come from a family of professional classical musicians (My father was a violinist in the Cleveland Orchestra and the Curtis String Quartet). My degrees are in piano performance, and for 28 years I enjoyed a career as a concert pianist, teacher and music conservatory dean. Then, a little over 3 years ago, I retired from my administrative career to pursue another lifelong dream - acting - something I had not done since high school. I have been loving it ever since.

    2. Tell us about your acting/writing/producing career so far.

    I have studied acting with four wonderful teachers: Debra De Liso, John Marzilli, and casting directors Chris Game and Nick Anderson. I have played lead roles in several student and short films. One, “The Promise”, has been selected in six film festivals so far. As a result of one of those screenings there may be another lead role on the horizon. The film was shot in the days immediately following my Mom’s death. I did it because it was kind of her story - about a woman with Alzheimer’s and her devoted marriage. I have appeared in several plays, including the world premiere of “Prison is Where I Learned to Fly” at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse, in which I played multiple roles, and which I co-produced and served as assistant director. I have also become a member of theatre company Theatre Unleashed in North Hollywood, where I have appeared in several shows. And I have been cast in three web series - JEWVANGELIST!!! - as well as moonbound24 and First Jobs. In terms of writing, I am working on a solo show, but that has taken a back seat to my acting for the time being. 

    3. What is your dream job/role/project?

    My dream come true would be an ongoing role in a television comedy.

    4. Who inspires you most in your field?

    What a tough question! There are so many. Having said that, ONE of the people who inspires me most is David Hyde Pierce. He is someone who studied both acting and piano seriously, chose acting as a profession, won and developed a role (Niles on Frasier, of course) to which he brought real genius (that also showcased his musical talent), and remained the wonderful person he is. I had the privilege of meeting him during my tenure as Dean of The Colburn School in LA. I also visited his home to hear a first-class piano recital by Jean-Yves Thibaudet hosted to raise money for AIDS research. David is, in my opinion, a brilliant talent, a caring human being and an all-around class act. I sincerely hope that our paths will cross again.

    THE PROJECT:

    1. Who do you play in Jewvangelist? Tell us about him or her.

    I am thrilled to play Mrs. Goldberg. She is a long-time member of Rabbi Levy’s father’s congregation. She is outspoken, easily irritated and missing the “old days” at the temple when she sang regularly in the choir. Her children are grown (shall we say… have fled…?), and she doesn’t take cr*p from anybody…especially Jay the cantor. However, she is not a bad person, and she does have both a forgiving and a musical heart. Her husband is devoted to her and puts up with her quirks.

    2. Which aspect of your character’s personality is closest to your own? Which is the furthest? 

    Well, of course, she IS musical! And, much as I hate to admit it, her irritability resides somewhere inside of me. On the other hand, I tend not to be confrontational the way she can be. And I never picked up the east coast accent, even though I grew up in Philadelphia. My first grade teacher actually asked me if I was “foreign”. I guess because my parents were from Ohio, I just never sounded like the other kids.

    3. What drew you to Jewvangelist?

    Definitely the opportunity to play a comedic east coast Jewish role. It is a type of character that I’ve spent a lifetime imitating, having grown up around it. But I had not had the chance to play the character type before this. Also, I absolutely loved, and still do, the whole concept of the series’ story and characters.

    4. Tell us a story about something that happened on set. 

    When Alex Trugman (Jay) had to apologize to me over and over and over again so we could get lots of takes for our 10-second cameo in Episode Five, he delighted in trying to make me laugh by saying… inappropriate things to me. He failed miserably for quite some time, but in the end I lost it. What you see in the episode, however, is terribly professional!

    5. What makes Jewvangelist a must-see?

    It is fresh, new and genuinely funny. This web series boasts an amazing array of talented actors, a terrific script, great production values, and it is a true original. I have seen nothing like it before. Every time I see a new episode, I find myself laughing out loud. And Becky Kramer, a very talented actress and lovely person, has managed - in tandem with writer Christian Ayers - to handle potentially sensitive material in a comedic context without denigrating any group or set of beliefs.

    THE WILD CARD 

    What would you pick as your last meal on earth?

    That’s easy - mocha chip ice cream. That’s all she wrote, folks!