Where are you from? Erwin, Tennessee (Northeast Tennessee)
Broadway credits: Hair (Twice. The Tony-winning revival company, and the first national tour brought it back to broadway for a summer)
How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? The whole company was told by Oskar Eustis (the artistic director of the Public Theater) backstage at the Delacorte Theater before a performance of Hair at Shakespeare in the Park that the production was transferring to Broadway. Lots of us in the ensemble were Non-Equity when we joined the cast of Hair, so when we were told we were going to Broadway, it was like telling a room full of five year olds they were going to live at Disney World!
What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? The TONYS! Being a part of it was the fulfillment of my childhood dreams, AND I got to meet Dolly Parton and do the opening number with her! That’s a Tennessee girl’s dream come true right there!
What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? The thing about Broadway that fascinates me is how you could be sitting next to Simba or Willy Loman or Pippin on the subway and to the untrained eye, you wouldn’t know that they made magic 8 times a week (yes, stars look just like us!). The actors on Broadway are the hardest working most down to earth people I have found in the arts industry. I have so much respect for my fellow colleagues!
What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? Recently and as always, I have been inspired by the songs and history of Appalachia. So much so that I have been developing a piece of theatre that celebrates The rich, sometimes macabre history of my mountain home. I’ve also been consumed with playing the Autoharp and thanks to my friends and the wonderful people at the Progressive Theater Workshop’s fundraising efforts, I was able to go to Seattle Autoharp Week last fall. By doing so, I was warmly embraced by the Autoharp community, and I even got to be on the cover of Autoharp Quarterly magazine!
Also Muppets fascinate me.
If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be… Oh Jeez! Um… I’d have to pick my Granny Daisy Dean. She has dementia, but she used to sing in a Gospel Quartet on the radio and can pick out a harmony to any Carter Family Song in their catalog! Loretta Lynn would be a close second. Maria Bamford third.
If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose… If I could still be myself and just trade places with somebody, maybe I’d choose Melissa McCarthy or Kristin Schaal.
To be successful in this business, it takes… Knowing yourself! Coming from the perspective of a “character actor” it’s important to know that I’m unique, to know my strengths and really hone in on them and accentuate them, celebrate them and have the intelligence to take the special gifts you have and apply them to the project in a way that serves the project in the best way possible.
Tell us a secret. There are glamour shots of fifteen-year- old me out there somewhere.