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How did you get started in theater?
I have always wanted to act and sing.
I think I popped out of my Mom singing. 
Growing up in a broken family, I found
myself always acting.  Acting happy,
acting strong, acting sad, until I found
I was really good at it.  Life is the best
teacher. I find I can pull most roles out
of life experiences.  About 2 years ago
I decided I wanted to do this for real so I went on an audition and got nothing.  I revamped my audition song and tried again.  The second time I landed the role of Widow Corney in Oliver!  And from there I just couldn't stop.

What hooked you?
I just found that being on the stage was such a great  feeling.  I was in heaven.  I was home. 

Was it your first school play-movie-first time seeing a Broadway Show?
My first show was Pippin with Ben Vereen.  Then I think Grease and Annie. 

What inspired you to be where you are today?
I can't  remember a time when I did not want to be on a stage.  I used to dance around my living and sing room into a hair brush.

What was the first play you ever saw?
I don't remember.  My parents are very theater oriented so I saw many.

Ever performed in?
Oliver!, though I am sure I did shows in camps and elementary school.

Did you study acting?  If not, how did you get into it?
No.  It is something I always wanted to do. My aunt's girlfriend is a music director and she helped me with what to do and where to find auditions.


What was your first audition?
My Fair Lady

How do you choose what play you will audition for?  The piece itself, the director, theater, you were precast, etc. 
It should be a show that has a good role for me.  I also like to know it will be a good production.  And yes, sometimes precasting doesn't hurt (the ego that is).

Speaking of precasting, tell us how you really feel about the subject. 
I don't really care for precasting.  In children's theater, okay, but not
main stage.  I don't think that is fair.  There are many talented people out there that might just blow away the director.  They are short changing themselves and others.  But no matter what I think, if a director has someone in mind for a role, they are sure to get it.

What types of parts do you normally play?
Character roles.  I think they are the most fun to play.

Do you feel typecast?

Looking back on the roles you've been cast in, do you think there's a
certain kind of role you get cast in repeatedly? 
Not really, I have played a wide variety of parts.  My only frustration is the look.  Most directors feel only svelte woman can have leading roles.  In case you were wondering, heavy set people have relationships, too.


What is your approach to developing your character?
I become that person.   I try to think as they would think and act as they would act.

Of all the characters you have portrayed, who is your favorite?
Hands down, the Wicked Witch of the West.

What do you think were your best roles?
Wicked Witch, Mae in Pajama Game

Your worst? 
wife in Joseph....

What roles offered you the greatest challenge and why?
Elsa in the Sound of Music.  I had to learn the part in three weeks with only 4 rehearsals and 1 run through.  I felt I didn't have time feel comfortable in the role.

How well do you think you met the challenge? 
I thought I could have done better.  My friends and family said I was great, but that is what they are supposed to say, right?

What role do you wish you could have a second shot at and get it right this time?
Not really a role, an audition.  I wish I would have chosen a better
song that showed my voice off better.

What roles or types of roles would you most like to play in the future? 
My dream role is Belle in Beauty and the Beast.  But I don't think that will happen unless they change her name to Belle Grande.


How do you feel when you perform? 
Great.  On top of the world

What motivates you to keep on doing what you're doing?
I love it!!!!!!

During opening night jitters each one of us has said, "Why do I do this to myself?"  Why do you do it? 
I don't feel that way.  I feel that way when I first get a script and look at all the lines.  By the time the show opens,  I make sure I know my stuff.  I don't ever want to loose it.  Though after 28 performances of Sound of Music playing Sister Margaretta, I could not for the life of me remember my second line in a scene.  I must have burned that brain cell the night before at TGI Fridays.


What is your favorite theater story?
I have so many great memories from different shows that I just couldn't choose.

Did you ever miss an entrance, drop enough lines for it to be noticeable, crack up on stage?
All us nuns in S of M almost missed our entrance.  We were standing backstage and noticed are music was playing and we were not
out there.  We covered okay, though.  I almost lost it in Pajama Game.  A red string was just floating around the stage and it just struck me as
funny.  But I held on.

What was your worst theater experience? 
Having to dance with a man with the worst breath in the world.

What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you on stage?  
Nothing major.  My habit almost fell off my head and was choking me.


Why do you perform at the theaters you do? 
The shows - they are local, and they cast me.

Do you think regional theater will continue to grow on L.I.?
I hope so.  I think more people need to be made aware of it.  

Who are some of the actors you've most admired or who have been
particularly rewarding to work with?
I have enjoyed working with all the casts I have been in.  There have been 1 or 2 persons I could have done without, but, on the whole, actors are great people.  (good answer, right?)

Who's the best (in your opinion) that you've done a show with? 
That's is a really tough question.  I really don't know.  Each show is different.


How do you maintain your career and do theater?
I have a great boss.  She lets me off to go on auditions and most show are on weekends.

Why do you spend so much time toiling in L.I. Theater? 
Add things to the resume while I send out resumes to Backstage ads.

Do you find that your family supports your love of theater? 
Yes, my Dad and sister mostly.  They all really pull for me.

How has performing enriched your life? 
Definitely.  I have made some great friends and had some wonderful experiences.


What brings you the greatest joy? 
Singing, Fishing, playing, friends, and family.

What really irks you? 
Stupid people.

If you won LOTTO tomorrow you would.
That would be the 25 million jack pot!! I would pay bills, pay my family's bills, save some animals, and kids, travel to Egypt.  Stuff like that.

Is it true that you'd really rather be rich than good looking? 
I never thought about it, but if your rich you can always have plastic surgery.

What's your favorite word? 

When you reach the pearly gates what do you want St. Peter to say? 
You're Jewish.  What are you doing talking to me?


Do you have any projects on the horizon that you want the readers to be aware of?
I just would like to act for a living.  If it pays the bills, I am good.

Given your choice of parts in plays, which play and role is your heart's
Belle in Beauty and the Beast.
An Interview with...Karyn Ackerman