BWW Interview: Actress and Director Catherine Burkhart
Catherine Burkhart has been a very busy actress and director in the Buffalo, N.Y. area.
She is the perfect example of how talented our theater pond really is.
MCL: You've been in the Buffalo theater world for a while. When and where did you start acting?
CB: I started in 1st grade playing the part of the pink angel in "Christmas on Cloud 25". I played the angel who lost her way. LOL. I dabbled through junior high and then jumped right back in during high school as president of drama club, starring in several shows. I majored in theater in college- SUNY Fredonia, graduating with a BFA in Theater Arts. After moving to Buffalo in 1993, I started working initially with the now defunct South Buffalo theater and then Stage Struck Productions.
MCL: What made you want to be on stage?
CB: My love of theater began when I was quite young and my mom played her records of musicals- "Funny Girl", "Camelot" , "The Sound of Music". She danced and sang with me in the living room. I thought the songs were so unique and animated. It really struck a chord with me even at a young age.
MCL: Any local mentors?
CBl: Tom Loughlin- he was my acting teacher and mentor in college..A wonderful and talented man! One of the best. He taught me how to be brave.
MCL: Best advice you were given you still use on stage?
CB: Best advice given that I still use:
1. Don't be afraid to command the stage.
2. Know your character and where they came from. Be committed to who they are.
3. Have fun.
MCL: What roles turn you off and what kind do you look for?
CB: What roles turn me off? I played ingenue roles for many years so that's no longer something I would want to do. I'm far too old anyway!
I prefer roles that challenge me and that I can have fun with. Maybe something way out of my comfort zone is the road I'm heading down. I'd relish something totally different.
MCL: What role do you dream of playing and haven't?
CB: I've always wanted to play the role of Suzie, in "Wait Until Dark" And I'd love to play either female lead in Noel Cowards "Private Lives". I'd also love to play the role of Blanche in "Streetcar". That's a gem!
MCL: What's coming up for you? Why did you choose this role?
CB: I have the role of Charlotte in "Moon Over Buffalo" with Lancaster Regional Players that opens in February 17 at the Lancaster Opera House. ?? She's a bold and fun character to play. Over dramatic in every way.
MCL: Tell us about some of your favorite roles?
CB: Sylvia in "Sylvia", Margery Pinchwife in "The Country Wife" and Elvira in "Blithe Spirit"
MCL: Do you want to repeat any of these roles?
CB: Play em again?? I'd play any of them again !
MCL: What's some advice for those new to acting?
CB: Act as much as you can to get as much experience as possible. And...Don't be afraid to do community theater. It's highly underrated!!
MCL: Who do you admire in the theater world?
CB: Broadway: Kelli O'Hara & Sherie Renee Scott are my favorites! Brian Stokes Mitchell too !
Locally: Robert Mazerski and Michael Starzynski
MCL: What's Buffalo, New York Theater like?
CB: I find it all encompassing in that there's something for everyone. It's a great place for an actor! It can be welcoming yet often challenging since the pond is smaller.
MCL: Finally, what's coming up for you 2017?be welcoming yet often challenging since the pond is smaller.
CB:Next up: "Moon Over Buffalo" in February and I'm also very excited to be on the Board of ART/ American Repertory Theater of WNY. Looking forward to working with them in many capacities. I'd also love to direct again soon.
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