BWW Interviews: Tracy Ahern & Keri Henson spill on GIRLS ONLY - THE SECRET COMEDY OF WOMEN

If you haven't seen it yet, you still have a little bit of time to see GIRLS ONLY – THE SECRET COMEDY OF WOMEN. The critically acclaimed production in Houston has been extended twice and is taking Houston by storm. Before I sat down to view the show myself, I was invited backstage to get to know the local talent in the production. I sat down with the charming, hilarious, and beautiful Tracy Ahern and Keri Henson. We talked about life, GLEE, GIRLS ONLY – THE SECRET COMEDY OF WOMEN, what men get out of the show, Are You There, God? It's Me, Maragret, and advice for young performers.

Me: How did the two of you get into acting?

Keri Henson: Well, I was very young. It was 6th grade; I think I was 12 as it was towards the end of 6th grade. The DARE program-you remember the DARE program? I think it's still in schools-came to the school, and the police officer selected me to do a skit. And, I got to do a skit in front of the whole 6th grade. It was at that moment I realized [with a grandiose flourish in her voice] my destiny! [Both women laugh.]

Tracy Ahern: [Mimicking a youthful Keri] This is where I belong. I love it!

Keri: And that's where it started, and I've been doing it ever since. I'm not going to tell you how long I've been doing it because that would give my age away. [We all laugh.] But that's how I got started.

Tracy: That's cool. Yeah, I started like in a 5th grade play too and got the bug. Then, I ended up majoring in Theatre at Baylor, went to New York, and went to acting school after that for another couple of years. I've just been doing it all along.

Me: So, how close is NYADA on GLEE to real-life acting school?

Tracy: NYADA! I know! I know! It's probably pretty similar. It's the same concept.

Me: It makes me laugh. I watch it, and I think, "I don't think acting teachers would really do all of that, but ok." [The ladies laugh.]

Keri: In all their spare time, yes.

Me: Have you been watching it?

Tracy: I've seen only one episode of this year.

Me: Ok. So how did each of you get involved with GIRLS ONLY – THE SECRET COMEDY OF WOMEN? Is there a story behind that?

Tracy: Well, we both had to audition. You know, GIRLS ONLY, they brought it in-I guess it's an import from Colorado. That's where the creators started with the show, and they're bringing it to different cities around the country, and Houston is the seventh city. And they cast locally for each show. So, there was a big call here, and we both came and auditioned.

Keri: And it was a great audition.

Tracy: And we were blessed enough to get the parts!

Keri: Yeah.

Tracy: Yeah!

Keri: And it was a fun audition too because it wasn't like the norm. I mean, we got to do a lot of improv and a lot of interacting with everyone else that was auditioning. It was a very warm setting, so it was kind of a fun audition.

Tracy: It was fun. We did singing and dancing, monologues...

Keri: Yeah.

Tracy: It was extensive. It was great.

Me: The show has been extended twice now. How does that feel?

Tracy: Very rewarding. This was the most intense show that I've ever had to prepare for just because it's only the two of us for a two-hour format. And, so it was a ton of prep work on the front end, with memorization. You know, we rehearsed the entire show in one week,...

Keri: Right,...

Tracy:...which was nuts.

Keri:...learned all the songs, all the dances.

Tracy: Yeah. So, after all that it's like really nice and rewarding for it to be playing as long as it is. You'll see when you watch tonight, but the third character in the play is the audience. It's very interactive, and so it's rewarding because it tells us that the audience is enjoying being part of it. And, they're coming back again and again. So, that's good.

Keri: Yeah. It's a slew of emotion, you know. We keep going, "Is this real." [Tracy starts laughing] "Are we still doing it? We going to do it some more? Oh my gosh!" It's just a dream. I mean, we are living our dreams.

Tracy: Yeah. So, every time it extends, it's like, "Whew! It gets to last a little longer!"

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David Clarke David Clarke has had a lifelong love and passion for the performing arts, and has been writing about theatre both locally and nationally for years. He joined running their Houston site in early 2012 and began writing as the site's official theatre recording critic in June of 2013.

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