BWW Interview: Angela Grovey Discusses a Life of Service and THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, Arriving in Dallas June 2019
Not all actors can boast credits in theatre, television, and film, but Angela Grovey can. Grovey, who plays stage manager Annie in the hilarious The Play that Goes Wrong, spoke with me over the phone about her life in entertainment and about her charitable work with Covenant House, a national shelter for homeless youth. Her drive to give back to the community and her devotion to living a service-oriented life is nothing short of inspiring. This talented and altruistic individual filled me in on her work both on and off stage.
BWW: First things first, can you tell us a little about The Play that Goes Wrong and about your character as well?
Angela Grovey: You are watching the Cornley University Actors put on their production of The Murder at Haversham Manor. Unfortunately, on this evening which happens to be opening night, things go wrong at every turn, so you are watching us do any and everything we can do to make sure that we get to the end of the play. I play Annie, the resident stage manager in the company, and I like to say that Annie is forced into every stage manager's worst nightmare to help and save the show.
I see that you've been in theatre, television, and film. Of the three, do you have a favorite?
I don't, they're all so different. I have a love and a respect for all three of them. The great thing about doing theatre is that it's instant gratification- it's very much a live process between the audience and you. I'm a theatre baby so I love that kind of stuff. But I also love on-camera work because it requires a different hat and a different skill. I like to balance my life with a combo of both.
Can you tell us about where you grew up, and about your background in general?
I grew up outside of Houston, TX and I then decided to go to college to study musical theatre at a conservatory in Chicago. I graduated and decided to work in Chicago for a few years, and eventually I made the leap to New York City and have been there ever since.
I'm told that you do work with Covenant House in Houston, is that right?
Yes! I started work with them five or six years ago. I did their big event- one of their fundraisers is you sleep out on the street in solidarity with homeless youth. I really sort of fell in love with it. Now when I tour, I visit Covenant Houses in the cities we're in. I'll ether bring castmates with me or do a question and answer for residents who have an interest in the arts, and one of the houses is in Houston so I've been there now three or four times.
Do you have a story about why that in particular resonates with you?
So Covenant House is a safe shelter for homeless and trafficked youth- in the US it's for kids anywhere between 16 and 21. I think about myself at that age, and I will forever be grateful and thankful to have parents and a community that rallied around me even when I was being a typical 18 year old. I think it's our job to be of service in this life. I connect a lot with this age group and recognize we're not all dealt the same hand. If I can be a person of influence on somebody then I feel like that's good, that's being of service. I'm a Southern girl and my mom and my family has always said, "Be of service" so I always try and carry that through my life now.
I once met a woman who said Covenant House saved her life- a total stranger told her to go there when she was alone and on the street.
Yes- any one of us can have something unplanned happen in our lives. I think it's one of the beautiful things about humanity that people are still willing to take a moment and check in with you, and if you look like you're in need, people still stop. It makes me feel good about mankind and the human spirit so I have a lot of passion there. I run two outreach programs for the Covenant House program in New York City, so even when I'm on the road, I'm still very connected there.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to pursue careers in theatre or entertainment?
I always say to people, surround yourself with art. See as much art as you possibly can. Whether you discuss it with your friends, a teacher, or your family, see why you like it. What draws you to it? Being an actor or any kind of artist is a constant learning and growing experience. And I think that if you can ask yourself what excites you about it and activate that part of your brain, I think that helps with longevity and finding what your passion project is. I always say if you think you want to do theatre, go see some theatre. Talk about theatre. Ask some questions about theatre, take some classes to see if you really like it. Find out if you like it just enough to see it, or if you like it enough to pursue it.
Why should people go see The Play That Goes Wrong?
If you like to laugh, this is the show for you. It's for all ages. It's one of those shows where we're constantly hearing from people, "I didn't know what to expect, I just laughed for two hours." Even if you've never been to the theatre, this is a great way to introduce yourself to it. I always say we communicate through laughter in this piece and I think that's a language everyone understands. Whether you're six years old, or sixty-six years old, there's a beautiful thing that happens when we can laugh together and that's what happens when you see The Play That Goes Wrong!
The Play That Goes Wrong runs from June 11-16 at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, TX. Tickets start at $25.