Karen Harty is a young and talented actress who is busy and having a lot of fun.

She will be performing in the upcoming show "We'll Always Have Casablanca: Flashbacks In the Fog"

It will be an evening of One Act Plays.

MCL: When and where did you start acting?

KH: The first time I performed was my Nana and Boppa's basement in Skaneatales, NY, where my sister and I would reenact the entirety of Annie to the vinyl record. I was probably 5. The first time I performed for people was as a Storyteller in Once on this Island Jr. at Mill Middle School. I was in 8th grade. The first time I performed for money was the first Buffalo Stories at Road Less Travelled. I was less than a month out of college. Though I can't confirm this, I'm sure the critics raved about me every time.

MCL: What made you want to be on stage?

KH: When I was 11, my dad took my family to NYC for the first time. He's a "do it once and do it right" kind of guy. He bought third row tickets to Wicked with Stephanie J. Block and Annaleigh Ashford. It was the most mind-blowingly magical thing I had ever seen on stage. When she flew up into the air for "Defying Gravity", my 11 year old self could not believe it. All I wanted was to do that.

MCL: Any local mentors?

KH: I graduated from Niagara University in 2016. My professors were outstanding and a number of them are figures in the Buffalo theatre scene. Josie DiVincenzo has been such a resource ever since meeting her as my Shakespeare professor during my sophomore year. She offers a number of services through her coaching program and I always turn to her for coaching, advice, or just touching base. Doug Zschiegner made a huge impact on me, as well, particularly when it comes to navigating how the business of theatre operates. He's been a consistent source of guidance. Also, quick shout out to Adriano Gatto for guiding be through the confusing business of filing taxes when you're an actor!

MCL: Best advice you were given that you still use on stage?

KH: It is usually more interesting to watch someone try to hold back emotion and fail, than to watch them have a full blown break down for a scene.

MCL: What roles turn you off and what kind do you look for?

KH: I have always been turned off by shallow female roles. To be more clear, having depth doesn't necessarily mean that it is a dramatic role. That couldn't be farther from the truth-comedic roles have been a huge part of who I am as an actor. I am specifically referring to roles that function more as mouth pieces for a moral of the story, or the virtually silent love interest. The interesting positive side to characters like that is they often have very little character so you have the challenge of fleshing them out into a real person. My favorite kind of role is yet to be determined! I am very lucky to have been cast all over the map, as far as type goes, and I have learned something from every role I've played. Typically, if I am being challenged, I feel fulfilled.

MCL: What role have you dreamt of playing and haven't?

KH: I have always been really into Shakespeare-- as someone who is both analytically and creatively driven, he's a dream. The role that caught my eye instantly was Rosalind in As You Like It. She was always appealing, but I got to see it at The Globe in London in 2015 and it was a religious experience for me. I cannot resist her! She's at the top of my list.

MCL: Why did you choose this role?

KH: Rosalind is one of my favorite female roles. She plays into my strengths and would let me stretch my legs as a leading lady. Because of the male disguise she takes on, she is able to be so active. I live for picking apart Shakespeare's language, and to play with her speeches would be amazing.

MCL: Tell us about some of your favorite roles.

KH: My senior year of college, I played the Duchess of Berwick in Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan. She was so vicious! I loved her and actually won Best Actress in a Local Play from you guys in 2016 for this role! I played Malvolio with the Live Literature Company when I studied in the U.K. We got to perform in Hall's Croft garden which made it incredible! Finally, I played Raguena in a gender swapped version of Cyrano de Bergerac called CyranA. It was theatre magic.

MCL: Do you want to repeat any of these roles?

KH: I would repeat any of those roles! It would be particularly cool to play the Duchess again when I am age appropriate for her.

MCL: What's some advice to those new to acting?

KH: When you finish an audition, whether it is the best or the worst audition of your life, brush yourself off and say "next". It's always about what is ahead of you.

MCL: How would you describe Buffalo, New York Theatre?

KH: If I had to boil it down to one word, I would say "variety". Buffalo theatre has so many voices at play. It is something that results in an encouragingly creative environment.

MCL: What are some good and bad changes in local theatre since you started?

KH: After I graduated in 2016, I did two shows over the summer and moved to Orlando to work for Disney. I, admittedly, have a fairly limited amount of experience in local theatre "since I started", because I am relatively new. However, the leaving and coming back that I did gave me a bit of perspective. A great change I witnessed was the increased foothold a lot of theatres have now! With the growing of Buffalo, comes the growth of Buffalo's art scene.

MCL: You have a play coming up... "We'll Always Have Casablanca". What is this about? What is your involvement?

KH: Mike Fanelli emailed me a couple months ago asking if I would be interested in performing in a short play festival based on Casablanca. I love old movies and Casablanca has such a fabulous aesthetic that I was on board. The show dissects the plot construct of flashbacks using fragments of lines taken directly from the movie. I play Ivana, the Bulgarian woman who Rick helps in the movie. In this version, she and Rick have a more intimate relationship. Mike's writing style is a bit absurdist, which makes for a fun time!

MCL: What's coming up for you for the rest of 2018?

KH: After a family vacation to Denmark at the end of July, I will be starting rehearsals for Sweeney Todd at the Kavinoky! It is the Curtain Up show for their season so it opens on September 7th and runs through September 30th. I could not be more excited!


We'll Always Have Casablanca: Flashbacks In the Fog

415 Grant St, Buffalo, NY 14213

Her instagram handle is @karengrace317

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From This Author Mark C. Lloyd

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