Q & A With Local Actor & Podcast Actor Julie Lucido

Apr 16, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Lorie Lewis Ham, Mysteryrat's Maze, Podcasts, Theatre

by Lorie Lewis Ham

Recently we had the chance to chat with longtime local actor/director/choreographer Julie Lucido. Julie has also voiced some Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast episodes for us.

KRL: Are you from the Valley?

Julie: Essentially, but technically I was born in Cleveland, Ohio but spent my elementary school years growing up in Bakersfield then moved to Fresno for Junior High. My father was in the produce industry, and we moved where the work was during those years. That said, I did spend my Junior year in High School back in Westlake, which is a suburb of Ohio but was a graduate of Bullard High here in Fresno.

From there I went to Fresno City College then off to UC Santa Cruz where I got my theatre arts degree. Then in the finding myself post-college years, back to Fresno with plans to leave as soon as possible…I am still here so that is how that worked out. But I jest, now married with my own kids it has been a wonderful place to raise a family!

Julie as Cha Cha in “Grease”

KRL: Current day job, and some of the other jobs you have had?

Julie: Which one? My main job is in marketing and advertising. I own Marketing Plus, a boutique agency specializing in the food and produce sectors and have since 2004, working in this family business previously since 1998. I also am currently the Education Director for Children’s Musical Theaterworks, professional director, actor for hire and theater consultant. I also do some private acting and dance coaching. When your first job is working as a singing telegram, I think you always keep a few gigs on hand at all times!

KRL: Schools attended?

Julie: Well…my Bako days was Rosedale to Sandrini to Castle- then by way of Fresno attended Tenaya then off to Bullard- then to Westlake High School. I came back to graduate from Bullard, Fresno City College then UC Santa Cruz. Post college, I was honored to work as an Adjunct Faculty back at FCC teaching acting classes, which completed a circle for me. I took great pride in helping other students know how to navigate being a theater transfer student or at least killing it with confidence at their next job interview.

KRL: When did you first get involved in acting and why?

Julie: My mother was always a performer- dancer, singer, actress growing up in Cleveland. As the family folklore goes…my first show was actually in utero when she played Liesl. It might be true or watching it so many times on TV growing up, but it has never been on my favorite list – I know, sacrilege – but alas, I spent my elementary years performing in The Nutcracker in Bakersfield dreaming of being a professional ballerina.

Back then you needed to be clearly ‘built’ a certain way and well, I was not, so while I did audition for companies, I learned very quickly after being cut in the line up and not even dancing, I was never judged on my talent but on my body. The harsh reality for many I think even today. My mom said at 12 I could audition for theatre shows and well- I haven’t stopped since.

Julie as Rose of Sharon in “Grapes of Wrath”

My very first show I was cast in was Evita directed by Dan Pessano in 1987. It was magical, it was story telling at its finest, the drama, the music, the sharing story of a real person and affecting an audience in such a special way. I knew that is what I was meant to do. Our cast was so close and real and gave everything out there. Doing it all on a minimal set as Dan had, I think also very much influenced me as a director in years to come. You don’t need big production items to bring something to life; honest story telling and clearly communicating a full human experience is enough.

We also had two amazing Evitas who while only a few years older than me, seemed so mature and adult. They poured over books about Eva Peron. I witnessed the work and dedication to learning and research and representing the story. People know them in real life as Lindsie-June Garbett and Audra McDonald, but we knew them as Evita. Hands down to this day, one of the most powerful productions I have been in, and I was merely in the children’s choir.

KRL: What are some of the shows you have been in, and the parts you have played & with what companies?

Julie: I feel if I list too many it will age me lol- but here are some of my most near and dear…

Bucket list role of Miss Hannigan in Annie with Good Company Players, directed by Emily Pessano. —

Judy in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime with Selma Arts Center directed by Ruth Griffin.
Vicki in The Full Monty for Stageworks Fresno directed by Joel Abels.
Joy Gresham in Shadowlands with GCP at The 2nd Space Theatre directed by Denise Graziani.
Eileen in Moon Over Buffalo (twice) directed by Dan Pessano with GCP at The Second Space then also Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater.
Another Bucket list role Roxie Hart (twice) in Chicago with Good Company Players directed by Biz Feister.
Emma Goldman in Ragtime with Stageworks Fresno directed by Joel Abels.

Julie as Emma Goldman in “Ragtime”

The only time I got a chance to play opposite my mentor Dan Pessano on-stage: Mrs. Peacock (to his Colonel Mustard) in Clue with Good Company Players directed by Denise Graziani.
Carol Wyman – I was the understudy but got to go on for three wild ride shows as this play had an all-star cast for Laughter on the Twenty-third Floor at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater directed by Nancy Miller. It also cured me of out of cast understudy, as the pressure was insane level!
Rose of Sharon- my very first lead when I was young in Grapes of Wrath at The 2nd Space, directed by Mark Norwood.
If we look back to many great shows- but these hold a special place in my heart….

KRL: Do you have a favorite type of show to perform in?

Julie: Oh, that is so hard. As an artist, I am often drawn to different types of work, depending on where I am personally at or what I feel the world is calling to make happen. The less philosophical is any show I am cast in- as the job of an actor is to audition, audition, keep auditioning, go the to the next one, rinse and repeat. I learned this young, and it served me well. My batting average was never great- I auditioned for more than I got cast, but I think that was better in the long run as it kept me hungry, always striving to learn more, work on my skills, and know I am only competing with myself really.

Julie as MIss Hannigan in “Annie”

When I audition – I go in being the role as I see it. Being a director also helped me view in this way, and then I get to walk away knowing that was it- that was my opening night. Even if they don’t cast me – I can leave the room content I did my job. Sure, when you really believe that a show is calling to you and you don’t get in or don’t get the role you seek it stings, but after all these years I have also realized that the next audition is around the corner and usually the other door opens and is what was meant to be. I think I took this question off the rails…

So, getting back on topic. Sometimes the world and “myself” needs a laugh, sometimes the world could use a reminder of how others live, sometimes healing or challenging theater is what is called for. I am in for them all- they have served me well.

KRL: What do you like best about acting/singing?

Julie: Harkening back to playing Rose of Sharon in Grapes of Wrath, I got my first fan postcard ever delivered to me from an audience member. She wrote to me, a complete stranger, after seeing the show and the struggle and earning for simple things particularly when life challenges seem so might that my character reminded her to look at her life and remember this as a life lesson. She was changed by the performance. THIS IS THE THEATRE that I live to do ……

KRL: What is the hardest?

Julie: Wow, the hardest is so relative! When you are in it- tech week- stress of getting it right- will the show be ready- will the audience show up- will they like it or get it- will they tell their friends, so they come. To the before, rejections more rejections, knowing you can do better and there is so much more inside to give yet hitting that wall. Then, the high of when you soar past it and get to the next level is inexplicably amazing….to then do it all over again. The grind of doing eight week runs of shows and keeping it fresh and alive- hard, but also fulfilling. I have always believed the harder the more rewarding, so it is simply the process.

Julie as Roxie Hart in “Chicago”

KRL: I know you have also done some directing and choreographing, can you tell us how you got involved in that side of theatre as well?

Julie: Choreography came first as naturally being a life-long dancer I spent my teen years teaching dance and choreographing for school shows etc. It was when I went to Santa Cruz, I really got the directing bug. I had a workshop class in which we took turns working as the actors or directors for scenes by student playwrights and I saw a way to create a world and be able to work on the stories of more than just one character and I loved it.

I also honestly liked being in charge, so quickly raised my hand at any opportunity. I was the Artistic Director for the Women’s Ensemble Theater while there and my big senior year project, I was Artistic Director for the Chatauqua Festival, which was like the campus Rogue. I oversaw over 30 shows that ran over a two-weekend period as well as directed and acted in some of the individual pieces.

Post- graduation I wrote Dan Pessano a letter with my intent to do whatever it takes to direct for him at Good Company Players. I think he took me up on it, as he told me I had to stage manage, work crew, work spotlight, assistant direct, direct/choreograph the Junior Company, essentially work every job to earn the right to direct. I did it in one year, as I have always been an overachiever don’t mess around if I have a goal in mind person.

However, I have to say, that one year doing all the things has made me the director I am today. I think to fully run a team you need to fully know their jobs and what it takes to come together to put a piece on. I am so glad he had me do that, as I am a better director and leader because of it. That and I have had many a show where I became my own understudy crew, stage manager, light fixer….

KRL: Future goals and dreams?

Julie: So many that I am actually working on right now. I have always wanted to run a theater company and thanks to some very close and collaborative friends we began last year forming UR HERE Theater Company. This from a trial run born of the pandemic where I ran a backyard readers theater “lab” that we nicknamed BYRTL.

I knew I was artistically starving with theaters and the world shut down, so with a trial and a launch we did small groups sitting outside six feet apart with hand sanitizer, masks, and read plays together. As time went from 2020- 2021 we read about sixty-five different plays and had over one hundred and sixty different people visit the backyard – not all at the same time! We had small groups- wait lists- ’sold out’ readings) it was quite a wonderful community building thing to have that so many appreciated as the only outlet that was kept safe and kept our sanity as artists. So, we do have 2022 BYRTL plans along with UR Here so keep on the lookout.

I am also pursuing more professional acting and directing in the Los Angeles and beyond markets. For acting I am pivoting to exploring working in the TV/film industry as well as working as a director for regional theaters. For now, I am training, booking gigs, and yes, auditioning over and over and over again.

On Set for “Something Bit Me” Airing on Nat Geo

KRL: Heroes?

Julie: Dan Pessano hands down- as a Director, Actor, Theater-maker, Survivor, Mentor, Running a Theater company that has been going on for forty-nine years. I could go on, but also in this time where I pivot to trying to make a living as a profession actor/director- all the of the people before me who keep getting up and going out and doing it. Who have been in the industry and all the ups and downs and still never quit, to those artists who found a way, particularly these last two years, to keep doing or making art- the every day unknown heroes, who without fame, or publicity, or sometimes rent money, or those who needed to pause for a moment but never quit. Theater folk can be some of the most sensitive but tough people you will ever meet.

KRL: What advice would you have for someone wanting to get into acting?

Julie: Get in class, study, seek out actors you admire or are drawn to and research how they started and follow their career path. If a student, take drama or do school plays, if you have community theater go and audition, volunteer, get involved and get experience. Seek a mentor – then train some more. Know your craft- and know this is a craft that you will spend the rest of your life continuing to learn. Read plays, see every show you can….

KRL: What is your dream role?

Julie: Been lucky enough to play some already…still holding out for Dolly Levy…and to star in a feature film! Every role I am lucky enough to play is a dream, so I’ll leave some open energy to the universe to bring me what is meant to be.

KRL: Is it hard balancing a job and acting?

Julie: THE HARDEST!!!! I mean, you have got to love it. All of it, and be slightly insane, I think, but the odds of being a working actor in which you can support yourself only on your acting is being in the 1% of people. So the best bet is finding a job you love (even if it is just loving it has a schedule so you can act) – so you can do the acting you love. Every working actor out there has to side hustle- that is the fact so the more talents you can develop to work in various areas of work your acting will benefit from it. And sleep on Sunday to catch up with yourself.

Vicki in “The Full Monty”

KRL: Was your first Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast the first time you ever did any voice acting?

Julie: I have done voice acting since college. I actually voiced characters for video game developers in San Jose for food. Also, I did local radio commercial spots through the years. Voice acting is so fun and just like zoom you don’t even have to take your “jammy” bottoms off.

KRL: Why did you want to audition for the podcast?

Julie: I have not done a long format podcast before, so looking for experience as well as have some work for my voice demo reel.

KRL: How has voice acting been different from acting on stage?

Julie: The wardrobe! Jokes aside, voice acting is really an art in itself. Pacing and really fine-tuning the words so they come alive and can live in the imagination of the listener is key. Unlike a stage, where they can see you, you need to contort your mouth or slouch to get a character voice placed and look funny doing it no one can see. So, voice acting you use your body but in a different way.

KRL: What have you liked best about it and what has been the hardest?

Julie: Learning the tech side of it- recording at home. I miss the days where I went to a sound studio, so I only worried about my acting part. Now at home you have to tech your own mic, levels, mix, which some work even post covid may continue this way as it saves producers money to not have to rent space. But, with no director with you, some of it is guessing and re-taping, so the actor time is sometimes longer than in the past.

You can check out Julie’s Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast episodes by clicking here, and here, or by listening on the players below:

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. And don’t miss out on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast!

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet. Lorie’s latest mystery novel, One of Us, is set in the Tower District of Fresno and the world of community theatre!

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