From Stage to TV: A Q&A with Sara Ramirez

Sara Ramirez is appearing on the hit television show Grey's Anatomy, after a record-breaking year as 'The Lady of the Lake' in Monty Python's Spamalot, for which she won both a Tony Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Prior to Spamalot, Sara made her Broadway debut as 'Wahzinak' in Paul Simon's The Capeman, starred in The Gershwin musical Fascinating Rhythm, for which she received an Outer Critics Circle nomination for Best Actress, and was in Broadway's A Class Act, a musical biography based on the life of Ed Kleban, in the role of Felicia. I reached Sara in Los Angeles to catch up on some questions, answers and latest news. Since it's quite rare these days and more and more difficult to make that jump to the screen (small or large) I thought that this Q&A would be of interest to our web community and Ms. Ramirez's fans.

How did Grey's Anatomy come about, and were you a fan prior to being cast?

I happened to be a huge fan of Grey's Anatomy during the time of the Spamalot insanity and, thanks to my agents and angels at ABC/Touchstone, I had several meetings as a result of their having attended the show. I then met with the fabulous Shonda Rhymes, the creator of Grey's Anatomy.

Tell us about your character on the show...

I can't say much except that I play Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Calliope Torres.

How do you approach creating a character for the screen versus the stage?

Well, in Spamalot I had music to initially guide me. Then I had great performers to play off of in front of geniuses behind closed doors and, later, 1500 people a night. The more I trusted Mr. Nichols to really BE The Lady of the Lake rather than SHOW I was being her, the more I was able to discover about her. On Television, you don't get that instant reaction from the viewer but I happen to work with an incredibly gifted and supportive group of people who've written provocative storylines and complex lovable characters. Ultimately their feedback is gold.

What's different now about your daily routine? Are you still vocalizing?

My life is much more relaxed on the West Coast I will say that. I'm nowhere near the shape I was in vocally, but I do work in the studio every now and then.

Is the cast aware of your Broadway and Tony-winning background?

Yes, I think some are.

What's it like watching yourself on TV?

Watching myself on TV is a combination of trying to learn from watching how my work translates, feeling a bit disconnected cause I now know the mystery behind the making of the show, and thinking "PULL BACK!". I've decided that as educational as it might be sometimes, I'm gonna wait to watch the rest of the season when it comes out on DVD. It's just easier to go to work without all the silly judgements I have in the back of my head.

Related Articles

Comment & Share

About Author

Subscribe to Author Alerts
Robert Diamond Robert Diamond founded in 2003, which has now become the largest theatre web site in the world. He also serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief, covering Broadway and beyond, with specific local coverage for 100 cities in the United States, 30 countries worldwide and 15 other related areas of entertainment - including dance, opera, fashion, concerts, comedy, films, television and more.

The 2001 Syracuse University graduate (School of Information Studies) is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media, an award-winning leading design company for entertainment and technology web sites. In his previous life, he held an executive position for the world's leading publisher of technology magazines, web sites and conferences and, as a result, was named among the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by FOLIO Magazine.

Diamond got his start in the entertainment field, accidentally, when he created the 'official web site' (while in college) for Michael Crawford, the popular actor and original Tony and Olivier Award-winning star of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. (He still blames Crawford - and credits him - for anything that goes particularly right or wrong during an average day.)

As a respected member of the Broadway and theatre community, Diamond also served as Lead Producer for a series of sold-out shows using the 'brand' for a set of 'Standing Ovations' concerts, which also branched out into titles that included Holiday Shows and even more specific concerts like 'From Stage to Screen and Back Again' in tandem with publishers and movie studios. All proceeds were in turn donated to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the industry's leader in aid for performers in need.

Robert lives in Manhattan with his wife and two dogs, growing the business and getting little sleep. In addition, you can usually find him in a theatre many nights a week.

Robert's very popular blog, 'The Broadway Pulse' appears daily on and he also writes weekly about theatre for the USA Network's Character Approved blog.

In December of last year, Diamond was one of 5 Syracuse University Alumni, all having achieved success in the world of start-ups, business growth and venture capital, participating on a panel addressing young alumni who are currently pursuing their dreams of running their own business and experiencing the day to day challenges of a startup. It is part of the university's new Student Accelerator Program, for which Rob was recommended by Syracuse University's i-School.