BWW Exclusive: Interview with Kim Staunton - Her Talented Career and August Wilson's Profound Impact!
MM – On behalf of BroadwayWorld, I just want to say how much I adore you. I loved your work in RUINED. It was actually life changing for me. It was one of the best performances I’ve seen.
KS – Oh, that’s so wonderful. So nice to hear. It’s a hard play to do. But it was an important play to do, and I’m so glad I did. It was life changing for me, too, actually.
MM– How did the play impact your life?
KS – Well, I became aware of what was going on in the Congo. I mean, I always knew, but I think through my research, through the work with Women’s Global Empowerment Fund, which is an organization here in Denver that worked closely with us – everything I learned from them . And of course, I became attached to them and became a supporter of that foundation. So that’s how it’s serviced my life outside of being an actor. But I had to delve so deep into what was going on and how it is continuing to affect the lives, even though the war is pretty much over. But, you know, just the civil unrest that’s still going on in that country. So, just my awareness as an actor, as a human being, living through Len’s characters each night and allowing those voices to be heard. It just had a profound effect and it continued and still continues for me. My level of interest and connection to what’s going on over there is much more heightened than it ever was, and it certainly is a result of doing RUINED.
MM– Wonderful. So welcome back to Denver. You’ve performed here several times now. What do you think of our fair city?
KS – Oh, I love Denver. I just love it! It is just a special, special place for me, and I’m fortunate because I’m one of those actors outside of here that’s been given a theatre home and a community that’s embraced and given me, certainly, the roles of a lifetime. Of my career. I know there’s no other theatre in this country that’ll ever provide for me what Denver’s provided for me over this 13 year period. And it’s a wonderful city. So connected to so many beautiful parts of Colorado outside of Denver. You have so many other options to visit some of the most beautiful places in the country. I mean, it’s a special place to me.
MM– Oh, thank you. So, what have you been doing since the last time we saw you in RUINED?
KS – After I left from RUINED, I went to..let’s see…how long…February? So, let’s see, I came back here for MOCKINGBIRD. I left from doing RUINED in May of that season and then I came back to begin last season with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. And I did Calpurnia in that. And then I left Denver, and then this past January. So that went all the way through the fall, I guess. I left on Halloween, I think, or something like that.
And then I began this year at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre. And, of course, the Center Theatre Group, they have the Mark Taper and the Ahmanson, and then the Kirk Douglas. So we were at the smaller theatre. And I joined a company that had moved from Ebony Repertory Theatre about five miles up the road. They moved a production of A RAISIN IN THE SUN there, but the gal who played Mama didn’t want to return to the venue. She had grown tired of the, well I guess she had moved on. And so I replaced her. So I got to…It’s funny, I got to do Ruined here three years ago, and I kinda took the jump to Mama this past season. It was a wonderful production. Phylicia Rashad directed it.
MM – Oh, wow.
KS – And it was just phenomenal to work with her. To play Mama and to play a different kind of Mama. She didn’t want the older matriarch, kind of on the couch. She wanted a middle-aged woman who still had some life, and, you know, was still very strong but still had tenderness and some life. We collaborated very beautifully together, and I gave her what she wanted. And it was a great addition to that company and quite amazing for me as an actor to do that role after having done Ruth here. I love that play so much, and to be able to experience it from another perspective was quite wonderful for me. And then, what’s interesting, my career… I’ve had this really wonderful career where I’ve been able to jump all over the place. Bruce Norris wrote CLYBOURNE PARK, which of course is a tag to A RAISIN IN THE SUN because it takes place at 406 Clybourne Street and those people who actually sold that to the Youngers.