Karen Olivo Moves to Madison, Confirms Departure From Acting
Tony Award winner Karen Olivo, who was most recently seen appearing in the sold out IN THE HEIGHTS reunion concert in New York City, as well as in Manhattan Theatre Club's MURDER BALLAD last fall, has confirmed to The Ledger -- following her "Starting Over" blog post in March -- that she will not be returning to acting in the forseeable future. Olivo has moved to Madison, WI, to start over.
"It's always going to be part of my life," Olivo told the paper. "Maybe one day I'll go back, but right now I feel like this is exactly where I'm supposed to be."
Olivo revealed in her blog post that she had separated from her second husband just before beginning performances in MURDER BALLAD.
"I was going through lots of different things: my latest divorce and sort of reassessing a lot of things about my life," Olivo continued. "This feeling of wanting more has been there for quite some time, and you know the business is such a hard business that you get to deal with a lot of tough breaks and you sort of push them aside and dust yourself off and keep trudging along. And there were enough of those things that were amassing that made me want to reassess why I do what I do and why I'm good at it."
In The Ledger article, Olivo talked about overall positive response she has received from the theatre community since her announcement in March. She said she is now focusing on making new friends in Madison; learning new arts such as pottery and playing the guitar; and continuing to lead acting classes.
Olivo recently played lawyer Cassie Reynolds on NBC's HARRY'S LAW opposite Academy Award winner Kathy Bates. Prior to that, she starred as Anita in the acclaimed Broadway revival of WEST SIDE STORY, directed by Arthur Laurents. Playing Anita garnered her the 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. Olivo also earned Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for her portrayal of the iconic character. In addition, Olivo received her second straight Astaire Award nomination for Best Female Dancer on Broadway, an award she previously won in 2008.
Olivo originated the role of Vanessa in both the Off-Broadway and Broadway productions of the Tony Award-winning musical IN THE HEIGHTS. Exploring three days in the lives of a group of Dominican-American characters living in Washington Heights, IN THE HEIGHTS was also the recipient of the 2007 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, the 2007 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and the 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble. Furthermore, Olivo was featured in "IN THE HEIGHTS: Chasing Broadway Dreams," a televised documentary highlighting the show's road to the New York stage.