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Interview with Amy Bodnar

I interviewed Amy very early in her run as Marguerite at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut. By the time I met her, she had only played the role four times.

NR: I read in your bio that you grew up in Pittsburgh?

AB: I did! Yes. My family's still there. My dad and my mom are still there. I love Pittsburgh. I can't wait to play there.

NR: Is the tour going to Pittsburgh? I can't remember.

AB: The tour's going there in October. I'm sure my mother and dad have already booked buses full of people. (laughs)

NR: Oh, that will be so much fun! What a wonderful thing.

AB: It is. It's really great because they've always been so incredibly supportive of me and come out to see me wherever I've been. So now I get to come to them and they don't have to worry. My sister's coming tonight. She's not coming to the show till tomorrow, but she's going to be here tonight and through Tuesday, so that's also good.

NR: That's great. I understand you have ballet training?

AB: I do. I was a professional ballet dancer for ten years.

NR: Ten years!

AB: Yeah, that was my first lifetime. (laughs)

NR: Oh, I see. So you didn't originally want to go into acting? You just wanted to be a dancer?

AB: Well, from the time I was eleven years old, I thought this is what I want to do. I want to be a professional ballet dancer, and put my life around that. And that's what I did. But that world is really, really something. It's unlike any other world.

NR: In what way? I don't know much about it.

AB: It's just very difficult. Of all the art forms, I think it's probably the most demanding from a young age, it really is. It's not just about what talent you have or what ability you have - it's what you look like and dedication to the nth degree. But even with all of that...I'm sure you've heard other people who dance talk about it. It's an incredible thing because it puts focus into your life like no other art form could do. So it makes it easier when you do decide to do something else, you're really ready for it.

NR: That's great. Did you sing during that time as well?

AB: Well I grew up... my dad's a United Methodist minister and I grew up singing in church all the time. That's where I started.

NR: I see. I believe Ragtime was your Broadway debut?

AB: That's right.

NR: That must have been incredible.

AB: It was amazing! And I got to do that during the Tony time which was absolutely fantastic. I was there with the original cast.

NR: What a great experience.

AB: Actually, I think I got the best of all possible worlds with that production because I was in the original L.A. company and then two days after the L.A. company closed, they brought me to New York to be part of the original Broadway company. A month or so after that, we were at the Tony's.

NR: What a great experience! A lifetime of education in one show.

AB: Oh my gosh, I can't even tell you. I mean, just to be around those people and to see those performers every night. To watch Marin (Mazzie) and Brian (Stokes Mitchell) and Audra (McDonald) every single night and see them just turning it out every night - that was incredible.

NR: And you got to play Evelyn sometimes?

AB: Yeah, that was great.

NR: That's really good. So what's your favorite role you've played so far? Do you have one?

AB: know this sounds so corny, but it's Marguerite because I've never done anything like this and I think any actress that would play this role would say that it's fantastic! It has everything in it from getting married to having a sword fight, so how could it not be?

NR: That's true. Is there a role you haven't done yet, that you would love to do?

AB: To be honest, I've been so blessed and fortunate to get this part. I'm so into this right now that I can't even think about the future. This is my present and my future and I'm really excited about just being a part of this. It just consumes me right now. Maybe a year down the road I'll be able to think about that, but it's just such a discovery at this moment. Every performance I learn something new about myself and I learn something new about the character, about the other people in the play. I intend to just explore this for awhile.

NR: I can understand that. It's a very rich character.

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Interview conducted and photographs by Nancy Rosati.

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