Jane Rothman is not only an actress but a talk show host and talented photographer. Her show, Chit Chat Chicks is a fun experience for the listener due in part to the fact that Jane has a very infectious personality. It draws you in and makes you want to get to know her.
I recently spoke with Jane about her acting, the show and her photography. It was one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve ever had. Talking with Jane was like catching up with an old friend. She’s funny and such a delight. Read on to find out what she had to say.
Who is Jane? Give us a little overview about yourself.
“I was born in Boston and raised in Philadelphia. I was adopted. Both of my parents were school teachers. My father was a high school English teacher and my mother was an elementary school teacher. Both my parents loved the arts. Every Christmas, my father would drive us to New York City where we would see Broadway shows. I think I know every lyric to every show tune. I was very lucky in that I traveled a lot with my parents as a child. My father loved driving and we would take road trips every summer. We would drive to Florida, Canada, Upstate New York and cross country. Traveling continued in my life, where I visited Los Angeles, Europe and the Middle Eastern countries.
I was an only child. I was very shy and alone much of the time. But I was also very observant. I watched and listened. I didn’t miss a thing.
Even though I was a shy child, I was very lucky because I was given ballet, piano and tap lessons. And, I was always going to the movies. One of my father’s favorite stories was the time he took me to a musical. This was when the movie theaters used to have beautiful lobbies with mirrors. I couldn’t sit still and he would take me out into the lobby where I would dance to the music in front of the mirrors, while the movie was still going on. He would just say ‘Everybody’s looking at my daughter, she’s just so adorable (laughs)’.
I was always interested in the arts and entertainment even though I was so timid. I think a lot of people who are in the entertainment field are introverts. I believe that many actors have a tendency to be shy and acting gives them the opportunity to become somone else. It brings a lot more emotions out that they wouldn’t necessarily show in their own lives. It’s an escape.
I went to Girls’ High and then Drexel University where I majored in Education, eventhough I never entered a classroom after graduation. My parents were hoping I would become a teacher, but, I stood firm in living my dream. My first job was at KYW-TV, as an Associate Producer, booking and researching talent for local talk shows. After several years, I changed professions, working as a Child Support Arbitrator. It was very stressful but I was like ‘Come on Jane, you have to earn a real living (laughs).’ But, I kept studying acting, in the evenings. It was my first love and did not want to lose that passion.
What can you tell us about your acting career?
“I studied at Drexel, where I was in the Drama Club. I continued studying acting, in the evenings, at Temple University and then the Walnut Street Theater. I became a regular at the local casting agencies and started getting work as an extra in feature films, such as Philadelphia, Sixth Sense, In Her Shoes, 12 Monkeys, Beloved, Lovely Bones, The Happening. This helped me become a member of the Screen Actors Guild. I’ve, also, done independent films, student films, commercial work and some public service announcements. But I really enjoy doing extra work more than anything. There’s a camaraderie. The hours can be extremely long, but you are with a group of people who share the same interests. I’m not good at memorizing lines (laughs) and this kind of frees me from that fear. I can just have fun and still act at the same time.
I have been lucky enough to work with some amazing directors, Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Demme and M Night Shyamalan. I mean, just to have had the opportunity to see them in action was an honor. I, also, had the opportunity to meet some incredible actors. But, meeting Oprah Winfrey stands out in my mind.
In the film Beloved, we were filming in September and it was very hot. We were filming scenes in Delaware at the Dupont Estate. Because it was a period film, we had to wear tight corsets and hundred year old vintage dresses and were very itchy. Because of the heat and rural setting, we were constantly being attack by bees. Oprah was doing a scene with Bea Richards. We (6 of us) were standing off to the side until the scene was finished. When the scene was over, she was coming up the hill with her entourage, who were escorting her to her car. Oprah looked over towards us, broke away from her entourage and started walking towards us. She thanked us, individually, for being there. When she came to me, the only thing I wanted to do was hug her. So, I hugged her and said ‘I just love you so much’. And she said, ‘I love you too, thank you for being here’. She was just the kindest woman. She didn’t have to do that.’
How long have you been interested in photography? And how did you get started?
“Well, I’m self -taught. For years, my mother was always saying ‘Jane, you really need to take photography classes’. And I would roll my eyes and go ‘Yeah mom, alright (laughs)’. It just never crossed my mind. I used to draw with oils and watercolors. But I just never really thought about photography, other than taking photos at family functions, parties or trips.
About a year ago, I had my phone with me. I don’t own a professional camera, yet, so I use my phone for all of my pictures. One day last Fall, I was walking through the park. It was a very crisp and overcast day. There was a homeless man sitting on the bench playing the trumpet. I wanted to take his photo, but I was nervous about getting too close. My camera doesn’t have the best zoom. So, I was about three benches over and there was this beautiful tree hanging over him. The leaves were changing to Autumn colors. I just took the phone, pretending not to focus on him, and I just took my first shot.
I came home and looked at the photo and thought to myself, ‘This is a really good shot, I think I need to try this again.’ So, it sort of evolved. I started taking pictures of leaves , of trees, of flowers. Then, I started looking for other things. For unusual things. One of these days I’m going to get into an accident because I’m not looking where I’m going (laughs). I am just so focused on finding my subjects.
I’m always looking for the unusual. There is this wall on a small street in my neighborhood .A parking lot is behind the wall. It’s very small wall, and I have probably passed it a million times. I could tell that it used to be a brick wall that may have been cemented over and then painted several times with different colors.The paint is starting to peel away and you can see so many layers in that wall, including some of the original bricks. It’s fascinating and I’m obsessed with it. I must have taken 20 pictures of it. I look at everything. It could be a gutter with wet leaves, chalk drawings on the pavement made by children. When I am drawn to something, I just take a photo. I find the beauty in the unusual, instead of just a flower.”
Let’s talk about Chit Chat Chicks. What’s the premise of this show?
“My co-host and friend, Tosha and I were talking one day and commenting about just how often we do talk. So, we thought ‘Why don’t we do the same thing on a radio show” So, we started doing research and we found Blog Talk Radio. Our concept was going to be just ‘Jane and Tosha talking on the phone and our listeners eavesdropping on our conversation’. Our first three shows were basically that. Then, we had some of our friends call in. We decided to have a guest on the show and found an actor on Facebook, Billy McNamara. Anyway, he was very approachable and he became our first guest interview. We started to look at You Tube videos of intervies from Inside the Actors Studio to give us some question ideas. We were very “James Lipton” with our first few guests.
Then we had another idea, of having “surprise” callers that our guests knew, such as their friends, family, co-workers. We stopped doing that about a year ago. We joked that it had a “creepy factor” plus it was just too time consuming to coordinate. We’ve been on the air for over three years and the show is more informal and more fun. We just let the show take off wherever the guest wants to take it. The show is so much fun that we now have regulars, who just can’t stay away. We call them our Honorary Chicks. Our guests have included Patrick Muldoon, Terri Garber, Erica Eleniak, Michael Rooker and Norman Reedus from Walking Dead. We also showcase singers, directors and authors. We are just going to keep on Chit Chatting.
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