121508Madeleine-Martin.jpgAt 16, Madeleine Martin is the youngest cast member in the Tony award-winning play, August: Osage County, but she's already had an impressive career.  Besides the fistful of Broadway shows under her belt, she also portrays David Duchovny's daughter, Becca Moody, in the TV series Californication. You can currently catch her live on stage in August: Osage County (tickets), which is enjoying an extended run at the Music Box Theatre and will soon be adapted for the screen by The Weinstein Company. We had the pleasure of talking to Ms. Martin soon after she found out that Californication had been nominated for a Golden Globe.

There's some really heavy stuff in August: Osage County, and your character is certainly not exempt.  What was your reaction after you first read the play? At first I thought I wasn't anything like [my character] Jean, so I didn't think I could do the part because I've never done a part that was nothing like me. But then I stepped into an extensive process where, instead of rehearsing, we'd just sit around a table and talk about character motivation and I wasn't used to that.  Especially with one week of rehearsal, it was a little scary, but I sort of got to know that Jean is sort of like Becca Moody. She's just lonely.

Did you say only one week of rehearsal? Yeah, because the whole cast came from Chicago.  I was the only new addition to the cast, and then Brian Kerwin, so they gave us a week before previews.

That's insane! Yeah, it was hard.

Did you go into previews still feeling like it was your rehearsal period?  Yeah! Yeah, it was.

When did you finally start feeling comfortable with the role? Probably when we opened. [laughs]  By the time we opened I liked my character and I understood her and everything.

How was the rest of the cast, since they had all been together for a while?  Were they particularly inviting? Not at the beginning, but then they were more friendly.  I really liked Rondi Reed—she won the Tony for best supporting actress—and I'd love to work with her again.  I had so much fun with her. 

In addition to the serious subject matter, the play is three hours long!  Are you exhausted after the show? No, not really. Normally I want to stay up because I have so much energy.  But school is at 9 a.m., so I have to get to bed.

121508august.jpgBrian Kerwin, Madeleine Martin

How has it been performing with two almost completely different casts? I miss the old cast, especially Rondi, but you get used to it.

Did you have to go through an extensive rehearsal period with the new cast? Yeah, it was hard!

It was probably longer than your first rehearsal period. Yeah, it was longer. It's hard because you're performing at night and then you're rehearsing all day. And you miss the other people.

Do you find that working with the new cast changed your character at all? Maybe more lonely. [laughs] When I came back from LA it was the new cast. I was gone for three months.

How was it being gone for so long? I thought it would be hard, but I came in and they gave me a half hour rehearsal and then I went on. It felt like I was just starting over.

Any funny onstage mishaps? Back when it was the original cast, my stage mother one time forgot to come out for a scene so my dad and I were just sort of improvising. Oh! I guess recently Estelle Parsons, towards the end of the first act, her pants fell down and she didn't notice. She was dancing and smoking, and she didn't notice!

Do you get approached in the streets a lot by fans of the TV show or the play? Yeah, I do. I get stopped on the street a lot.

Have you had a particularly unusual moment? Yeah, actually. This one Californication fan stopped me on the street and I was by myself. And he was probably old enough to be my dad and he was asking me about my love life [laughs]... Funny!

Did he think you were older? I think, maybe? Because then he asked me how old I was and I said I was 16, and he looked a little surprised. He told me he looked young for his age though. [laughs]

Any interesting or funny fan mail? I got one letter from a woman who saw August and said that I reminded her of herself when she was a kid because she smoked pot. I thought that was.... strange. But she sent me collector stamps, which I thought was nice.

You started off as a dancer.  How did that lead to acting? Yes, at the School of American Ballet.  They weren't really combined. I was doing both for as long as I could, but then I had to leave SAB because every year I was leaving three months early to go to LA, and they don't let you keep coming back.

121508augustdinner.jpgBetween dancing, acting, theater, and TV, it seems like your life could go in all sorts of directions.  Do you know what are you interested in pursuing? I like stage, the theater.  I think that's definitely the most fun.

More so than television?  Yeah.  I'm doing a dramatic reading of [George Bernard] Shaw's Saint Joan. I'm playing Saint Joan and Marian Seldes is narrating. I love doing classic theatre.  The reading is December 22 at the Players Club. I've been working on the British accent.  I like the accent.

What is it particularly about live theater that you prefer to television? The live audience. I love hearing their reactions, dramatic moments where I hear them gasping.  It's great.  Every night's a little bit different.  It's really romantic.

How do you juggle a Broadway show, a TV series, and being a regular teenager? They're not at the same time, the Broadway show and the TV show.  I have to leave "August" in the spring and then go out to LA.  Sometimes it's hard to be friends with people who aren't actors.  But I'm friends with some ballet dancers and they sort of understand my crazy schedule and we meet in between shows for dinner. One of my friends is actually going to come to LA to hang out, so it should be fun.

When you go to LA is your family able to come along?  Well, I'm a minor so my mom has to come with me. But my dad and my brothers come out to visit.  We like to go back to New York. If we ever get four days off, we normally fly home.

So definitely New York over LA?  Oh, definitely.  I miss the people in New York.  In LA they seem sort of fake. They always forget about you as soon as you go back to New York.

Tell me about a typical day off in the life of Madeleine Martin. I normally see my friend Lindsay.  We go out to dinner, see a movie.  I go swimming at the YMCA with my dad.   You really feel great afterward. It really relaxes you. My friend Lindsay and I go to Central Park and go to the swings. That's our favorite spot.

What's your favorite thing about living in New York? The parks.  I love that there are so many parks. I love to go running, and then go to the playgrounds in the parks.  It's really great that there are so many.

Favorite place to eat around the theatre? Well I never really eat out unless I'm celebrating something, so normally I go to La Masseria.  It's right around the theatre, 48th Street and 8th. It's a really good Italian restaurant.  But normally I bring my dinner to the theatre.

You live in Queens.  How do you get to the theatre? I take the subway.  It's okay except when it rains the trains are always messed up. They're slow.

Given the chance, is there anything you would change about New York? Probably the trains.  Make them so that you don't have to wait so long.  Or so that you can use your cell phone on the subway. That would be nice!  If you're running late to the theater, you could call the stage manager instead of worrying that you're underground.  

Anything fun planned for the holidays?  Well right now we're planning the Golden Globes because that's January 11th!  I have to buy a dress and shoes. It seems like a lot of work.

Does your family do anything special for the holidays that you really enjoy?  We're all together at home, so it's nice.  Christmas day I have off from "August."  I have a show on New Year's Eve, a matinee, and I figure that's going to be crazy because that's when everyone is always lining up.

Getting home is going to be a mess!  I'm having a sleep over at my friend Lindsay's house.

Is she in Manhattan?  Yeah, she's on the east side so we figure that should be okay.  I've never been in Manhattan, in Times Square, for New Year's Eve!