Just One of Many Smash Hits
We watched her perfect the role of Glinda in Wicked, as Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5: The Musical, and now she’s Smash-ing the ratings as Ivy Lynn on NBC’s new hit show! A Washington state native, this Broadway superstar attended Carnegie Mellon, moved to New York City, and made her Wicked debut in 2005!
We caught up with her to chat about everything from the grueling audition process, to how she keeps healthy on set, to what it’s like to perform in front of a live audience.
You’re a natural on both Broadway and TV. Which one do you prefer?
It’s hard to choose a favorite because they’re so different. Luckily I don’t have to because I sort of get to do both every day!
You’ve had amazing roles on Broadway. Which has been your favorite (if you can even pick!)?
I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Wicked because it opened doors for me I never thought could be opened.
We are huge Wicked fans. Tell us a little about performing as Glinda.
It was amazing — one of the best written female roles ever. I did it for 4 1/2 years on and off because there is so much you can do with it. She becomes a completely different person by the end of the show.
You channel Marilyn Monroe in Smash and you do it so well. How did you study up and perfect her sultry attitude?
Thank you! I’ve read a lot about her. I think the most telling thing about Marilyn were her interviews; she spoke as herself and not a character. You can see her mind working and her intelligence. Her vulnerability and her wit came out in those interviews.
Smash showcases the brutal audition process actors go through to get a role. Is this accurate? Have you ever been turned down for a role?
Absolutely. As an actor your first job is auditioning. I’ve auditioned for hundreds of things I’ve wanted and didn’t come close to getting. The competition is ferocious with so many talented people, but I’ve never been in a position where I’ve been pitted against competition to my face. It’s a tough process.
Who would you die to sing a duet with?
Ray LaMontagne is one of my favorite singers! I would die to sing a duet with him.
What is your all-time favorite song to sing?
My favorite songs always change, but there is one coming up in Smash called Secondhand White Baby Grand. I loved getting to sing that. As soon as heard it I loved it, it’s just gorgeous.
What snacks do you have to have on set with you at all times, and how do you stay healthy working long hours?
It’s funny because we’re constantly surrounded by food. I have to make a conscious effort to never take it and stick to my little bag of dried fruit and nuts.
Smash just started, but it seems like the cast has a great dynamic. Are you guys pretty close yet?
We’ve gotten very close. It was sad when we wrapped last week because we won’t see each other. We’re such goofballs and love to make each other laugh; I can’t wait to start up again!
So far, what has been the most memorable moment on the set of Smash?
The whole experience is incredible and in every scene I get to do something new and fun. It’s tough to pick a favorite moment, but there’s an episode coming up next week where Katharine McPhee and I have a big fight in Times Square. I loved that!
You’ve traveled a lot for musicals. Which place is your favorite?
So far the Kahala Resort in Hawaii. It was gorgeous!
What is your favorite part about performing in front of a live audience? What about in front of the camera?
I love that there’s a primal exchange of energy. You know instantly if things are working or if they aren’t. I miss that! On the opposite end of the spectrum, I love that we get the chance to do it over in front of the camera. You do it and if it doesn’t work you can go back and do it again. It’s very fulfilling.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to make a career out of performing?
I think I got serious and understood it was something I could do around 12, when I began taking voice lessons. That’s when it became a real possibility.
When you were younger, you wanted to be an opera singer. What made you change your mind?
I think I felt that the lifestyle musical theater had was more suited toward my personality. Classical singing is intense and very serious. I have a deep respect for it and I’m constantly going to the opera, but I was drawn toward theater early on.
xx, The FabFitFun Team