Ilona Dulaski is currently playing the role of Genevieve Marduk in Signature Theatre’s production of “John,” playing April 3-29, 2018.
Born in Washington, DC, Ilona Dulaski grew up in Mexico City. Ilona has an extensive range as an actress and singer, appearing on stage, industrial films and commercials, voiceovers, as well as singing with with her quartet “The Cantanti Ensemble.” She has appeared in numerous productions at Signature Theatre, including “Shooting in Madrid,” “A Little Night Music,” “Witches of Eastwick,” and “Funny Girl.” Other select credits include “Sweeney Todd,” “Shear Madness,” and “Dahlia” at the Kennedy Center, “Man of La Mancha” and “She Loves Me” at the Olney Theatre, to name a few.
For more information about Signature Theatre’s production of “John,” click here.
What do you like about playing the role of Genevieve Marduk?
First of all, I like the complexity as well as the simplicity of her. She was abused by her husband at some point in her life. He controlled her. She escapes from him in her own way and goes forward with her life without despair or hate, but joy and serenity. She is very down to earth and loves! people/souls on both sides of our sense of reality. She herself is a very fun loving spirit. Even though she is blind she never feels sorry for herself, and she seems to look forward to each day with joy. She doesn’t care any more what people think of her. Her sense of freedom is to be greatly admired from my point of view. I like her and she is becoming part of my soul. She is a very strong woman and free spirit. It is an honor to portray her.
Why should audiences come out to see “John”?
First of all, the entire cast is an amazing group of artists. The teamwork in this piece is truly amazing. I think an audience will be inspired with these four characters. They each learn about life from each other. Even though the art of communication through the spoken word is tenuous at best, these four characters are able to lean on each other for their own senses of truth through sharing with each other their own aloneness and separateness in the universe, their own dreams and desires. We all have a common thread of searching in the universe for our own truths. The four of us share this search through a spoken word, a touch, a turn away, a hug. I think audiences will be changed in a good way when they leave the theatre after this unique experience has been shared.
What is the secret to your long and successful career in the performing arts?
I think it is my sense of humor. First of all, I look at the world with the eyes of a child – full of joy. I try not to take myself too seriously. But I also look at my career not only as a gift that I must share with people, but I also look at my life’s work as a business. I think that is one of the main things that has made me successful. I love what I do. However, I do not “give it away.” I am always auditioning for my “next job.” I do publicity, I make phone calls, I keep in touch with agents, I try to network. Whenever I am in a show, or have done a commercial, or am in a movie – I let Producers and Artistic Directors know what I am doing by a simple postcard. I still think the written word in a letter or a postcard is memorable and will set you apart from everything that is going on in social media. We are so bombarded every day with e-mails. Nobody can keep up. I try to go out of my way and keep my business contacts in the loop through personal notes. Also, this business is a harsh business. I have always made sure I had a balance in my life. I had a wonderful husband who was behind me 100% with my career. That made all the difference in the world. My parents were also behind me 100%, even though they knew what a difficult business this can be. But I think the most important thing for me is that have never given up. I got feedback one time in NY from my manager from an audition I did for a Broadway show. The notes from that audition that came back to me were: “Great actress – can’t sing”!! I was devastated for about two days. I picked myself. Decided what I was going to do. I started taking singing lessons for “real” – and never gave up. Never give up. That’s my motto. Look at the world through the eyes of a child. And, remember, that this talent I have is a gift and I have to share it.
Besides acting, you are also an accomplished singer. Please name 3 of your favorite songs to sing and why.
Any of the songs from Stephen Sondheim, but especially “Sweeney Todd.” Even though it is not a solo, I love, “The Demon Barber of Fleet Street“at the beginning of the show. The song has such power, such energy, such feeling. You can let all of your emotions “hang out”! 2. “People” from “Funny Girl.” I love the lyrics. I am also a “people person” and I strongly identify with that person. I am also looking for that perfect love as we all are. 3. “Serenata Gitana” by Miguel Sandoval. This is a Spanish song that is sung in Spanish. I am bi-lingual in Spanish. She has been spurned by her lover and she wants him back. She will do anything to get him back. Very emotion and energetic song. Ole’!!!! And many, many, many other songs: French, Spanish, German, Hebrew. You name it.
Please talk about a fun fact about you that people may not be aware of.
I guess there are two somewhat different things about me that people don’t know about. I love to read books on nutrition. I read them like some people read romance novels. I think I should have secretly been in the medical profession somewhere. When I was commuting between New York City and Silver Spring, MD for 5 1/2 years, I would read nutrition books on the way to NY! I went through quite a few books during that time!! I also love languages. I like to take language courses. Right now I am taking French because I want to go back to Paris and I want to be bi-lingual if possible. I am going to Tuscany for three months sometime in the near future. I am going to take Italian so I can speak their language. I know it is a tough goal – but I am going to try it!