BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Nan McNamara, an Award-Winning Actress, World Premiere Director, and Acting Instructor

Article Pixel
BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Nan McNamara, an Award-Winning Actress, World Premiere Director, and Acting Instructor

With the current theatre world on hiatus, I have created a Spotlight Series on Broadway World which features interviews with some of the many talented artists who make our Los Angeles theatre community so exciting and vibrant thanks to their ongoing contribution to keeping the Arts alive in the City of the Angels. And just like all of us, I wondered how they are dealing with the abrupt end of productions in which they were involved.

This Spotlight focuses on Nan McNamara, an award-winning actress who I have seen in many productions at the Actors Co-op in Hollywood, perhaps most notably in the 2017 Ovation Award-winning 33 Variations in which she played a journalist who was able to go back in time to interview Ludwig Von Beethoven (an outstanding performance by Bruce Ladd) about his work. BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Nan McNamara, an Award-Winning Actress, World Premiere Director, and Acting InstructorThat outstanding production was staged on a remarkably versatile small stage set designed by Nicholas Acciani (who also designed the accompanying amazing projections), enhanced by O'Leary's jaw-dropping, scene-changing choreography. Here is the link to my review of that production in which that scenic description appears: /los-angeles/article/BWW-Review-Brilliant-Performances-and-Glorious-Music-Highlight-33-VARIATIONS-at-the-Actors-Co-Op-in-Hollywood-20170307

Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Nan McNamara, an Award-Winning Actress, World Premiere Director, and Acting InstructorNan McNamara (Nan): I am an actor and director who recently directed the Ovation Recommended World Premiere of Lee Blessing's A Body of Water at Actors Co-op. As an actor, my credits include the Ovation Award-winning 33 Variations (Los Angeles Drama Critics nomination-Lead Performance, StageRaw Award-Leading Female Performance, Robby Award-Best Actress), A Walk in the Woods (Ovation Recommended) and Wit (Los Angeles Drama Critics Award-Lead Performance, LA Weekly Award-Leading Female Performance).

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Nan McNamara, an Award-Winning Actress, World Premiere Director, and Acting InstructorOther theatre roles include Steel Magnolias (Truvy), Going to St. Ives (Cora), Long Day's Journey Into Night (Mary), The Crucible (Elizabeth), Uncle Vanya (Yelena) and As You Like It (Rosalind).

TV/film roles include Hawaii Five-0, Major Crimes, Rosewood, Switched at Birth (recurring) and Criminal Minds. I also enjoy a vibrant career in voiceover and have recorded over 100 audiobooks, and have taught acting at The Imagined Life, Asuza Pacific University and Vanguard University.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out it needed to immediately be either postponed or cancelled?

(Nan): I directed the world premiere of Lee Blessing's A Body of Water at Actors Co-op, BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Nan McNamara, an Award-Winning Actress, World Premiere Director, and Acting Instructorand we were entering our final weekend of the run when the production was shut down due to Covid-19. I was also understudying two roles in Marvin's Room directed by Thomas James O'Leary which was slated to open March 20 at Actors Co-op.

(SB): How was the shutdown communicated with the cast and production team?

(Nan): We found out through the Actors Co-op board and our production manager who had been keeping abreast of the Mayor and Governor's orders as well as what other theatres were doing. And for the safety of our patrons, actors and production team, they decided to shut down on March 13, which was a week prior to the mandatory "shelter at home" order.

(SB): Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Nan McNamara, an Award-Winning Actress, World Premiere Director, and Acting Instructor(Nan): Unfortunately, I don't think A Body of Water will be able to finish its run, but Actors Co-op is hoping Marvin's Room will be able to open at some point over the summer. Of course, no one really knows the exact timing of when intimate theatres will be able to open their doors again.

(SB): What other future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(Nan): The final production of Actors Co-op's 28th season was slated to be the musical A Man of No Importance directed by Richard Israel. They were just completing casting with an opening scheduled for May 8, and now it's not clear what the new opening date will be.

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Nan McNamara, an Award-Winning Actress, World Premiere Director, and Acting Instructor(Nan): I've loved receiving regular email updates from various theatre companies around town as many of them have provided inspiration with links to free streaming of plays and readings as well as words of encouragement. A Noise Within offered a couple of free Shakespeare classes that I really enjoyed, and there is a free Michael Chekhov class on Sunday mornings. I also loved watching the Sondheim Birthday tribute.

(SB): So did I - what a magnificent evening of extraordinary talent offered to the public for free!

(Nan): It's wonderful that there have been a lot of wonderful ways to keep engaged. But of course, I can't wait to get back to the theatre - there is no substitute for the audience interaction of live theatre.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Nan): I really appreciate the theatre community here in Los Angeles, and hope everyone is safe and well. I really miss seeing shows and experiencing the amazing work from so many stellar companies, and the collaboration as an actor/director that is unique to the theatre. While this is certainly an extremely challenging time, it's my hope that we can all come back stronger than ever and ready to share our stories. And share some hugs.

(SB): For more information about Nan McNamara, please visit: her website: www.NanMcNamara.com

Instagram @nanmcnamara or Twitter @nanmcnamara
www.imdb.me/NanMcNamara

Photo credits:

1. Nan McNamara headshot by Daniel Reichert

2. The Ovation Award-winning "33 Variations" featured Bruce Ladd and Nan McNamara. Photo Credit: Lindsay Schnebly

3. The World Premiere of "A Body of Water" by Lee Blessing, directed by Nan McNamara featured (L to R) Bruce Ladd, Ivy Beech, Treva Tegtmeier
Photo Credit: Larry Sandez)

4. Nan McNamara as Truvy in "Steel Magnolias" Photo Credit: Matt Gilmore

5. The World Premiere of "A Body of Water" by Lee Blessing, directed by Nan McNamara featured (L to R) Bruce Ladd, Ivy Beech, Treva Tegtmeier
Photo Credit: Larry Sandez)

6. Nan McNamara as Dr. Katherine Brandt in "33 Variations" Photo Credit: Lindsay Schnebly

7. "A Walk in the Woods" featured Phil Crowley as the Russian Audrey Botvinnik and Nan McNamara as American Joan Honeyman. Photo credit: Matthew Gilmore


Next on Stage

Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories   Shows


From This Author Shari Barrett