Katherine Nora LeRoy: Beware of Hootie Pie!
She’s been making Greenville audiences laugh and giggle in their seats for a few weeks now. With her clairvoyant turn as Cassandra in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike she attempts everything from Greek mythology to voodoo to keep the family she loves together. We recently sat down with Katherine to talk about her time in Greenville and what it’s like to be a traveling actress. Here’s her story.
WHT: Given that you are new to our audiences, could you share with them where you went to school and where you sharpened your skills?
Katherine: Yes, I received my BA in Theatre from Florida A&M University and my MFA in Acting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
WHT: Where are you from originally and where do you now call home?
Katherine: Originally, I am from Pensacola, Florida, but I have lived in New York and Atlanta. My current home is in a small town in South Georgia called Axson. I live there with my beautiful and very supportive fiancé Greg.
WHT: How have you enjoyed Greenville thus far?
Katherine: I absolutely adore Greenville! The downtown area is something to behold during the day and at night. I enjoy my walks to the park and throughout the downtown area. It has been wonderful parking my car for days at the time, because where The Warehouse is housing me is in the heart of the downtown area. I am able to walk to the theatre, shops, restaurants, etc. And OMG. There is this restaurant that serves Sweet Potato Cake! Definitely a good time!
WHT: What’s your favorite part about being a working actor?
Katherine: Touching the lives of others through my performance. Laughter is one of the greatest medicines and I feel it’s a healing mechanism for the soul.
WHT: Is there a person that greatly influenced you or your career along the way?
Katherine: All of my acting professors…from FAMU to UNL. They each in their own way gave me permission to be me. Here’s a quote that I like to share about that very thing: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
WHT: This is your second opportunity at this show, right? What’s that like to visit a character a second time…especially with a different director?
Katherine: It is an amazing opportunity to do this character again and I hope I can be Cassandra again and again. She is crazy fun! In doing regional theatre, a typical show will run anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks and as an actor you make so many character discoveries on that journey and just when you feel you’ve hit that stride…guess what? It’s time for the show to close. So, I always welcome the opportunity to play a role again and each director in this process has approached her differently.
WHT: What’s been your favorite part about the rehearsal process for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike?
Katherine: Working with Mark Waldrop! He is very kind in his approach and allows the actor to play and create, but is careful with how he molds each character with his vision. Allowing the rehearsal process to be a collaboration between the director and actor is a wonderful quality in a director and Mark definitely has this trait!
WHT: Your character in the show is extravagant to say the least. While you were developing her, how much came from your own choices and how much did Mark shape Cassandra?
Katherine: This Cassandra is made up of multiple facets and Mark was certainly an essential part in helping me to develop a new Cassandra. One of the most important parts of the process for me was being allowed to use my very own voodoo stick. I was allowed to keep the voodoo stick that was created for my last production (at the Nebraska Rep) and I requested to use my stick for this production.
WHT: Often actors find that certain scenes in shows are just flat out fun to play every night. Is there a scene in this show that bubbles to the top for you? That you simply look forward to playing every single night?
Katherine: Yes, the Voodoo Scene! Cassandra really cares about Vanya and Sonia and she has to fix this situation with Masha. I envisioned that Cassandra, albeit somewhat clairvoyant, does not really know anything about voodoo, therefore she has gone home and researched online exactly what she needs to do to help her friends (extended family). The audience seems to respond very well to her and all her antics and as quiet as it is kept…Katherine (the actor) is dying laughing on the inside right along with the audience members at Cassandra and all her extravagant ways!
WHT: As you look back on your career thus far, what’s one thing you would share with a young actor coming fresh out of academic theatre today?
Katherine: NYC and LA are marvelous places to live for an actor. They are considered the central hubs for the acting world, but they are certainly not the be all and end all for an actor. Regional theatres are an excellent avenue to tap into…to be a “working” actor. Establish a home base, but be willing to travel and go where the work is.
Get your tickets now and catch funny lady Katherine Nora LeRoy cast her spell on The Warehouse Theatre in the hilarious Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike!