Interview: Sharon Lawrence in THE SHOT at NJ Rep 4/6 to 4/23

Sharon Lawrence in THE SHOT at NJ Rep 4/6 to 4/23

By: Apr. 04, 2023
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Interview: Sharon Lawrence in THE SHOT at NJ Rep 4/6 to 4/23

New Jersey Repertory Company (NJ Rep) in Long Branch will present The Shot for three weeks only from April 6 to April 23. The show is written by Robin Gerber, directed by Michelle Joyner, and stars Emmy nominee and SAG award winner, Sharon Lawrence. The Shot tells of Katherine Graham who protected a horrifying secret before she became the famed publisher of the Washington Post.

Broadwayworld had the pleasure of interviewing Sharon Lawrence about her career and the upcoming show at NJ Rep.

Lawrence is currently starring in the Paramount+ series JOE PICKETT based on the best seller of the same name. Previously she starred opposite Kirsten Dunst in the Showtime series ON BECOMING A GOD IN CENTRAL FLORIDA, and as an elusive librarian in HOME BEFORE DARK for Apple TV. Many recurring roles include REBEL with Katey Sagal and Andy Garcia, a serial killer in CBS's CRIMINAL MINDS, Fiona's acerbic boss on Showtime's SHAMELESS, Sam Elliott's love interest in THE RANCH, and in the critically acclaimed series QUEEN SUGAR produced by Ava DuVernay. Sharon continues to be recognized from her multiple Emmy nominated and SAG Award-winning portrayals of ADA Sylvia Costas Sipowitz in the ground breaking NYPD BLUE and as Izzy's tender but ditzy Mom on GREY'S ANATOMY (for which she earned her 4th EMMY nod). Her 5th EMMY nomination came in 2021 as Lead Actress in a digital series -THE GAZE. Film work includes THE LOST HUSBAND with Leslie Bibb and Josh Duhamel, OF MIND AND MUSIC with Anjeannue Ellis and the indie hit MIDDLE OF NOWHERE directed by Ava DuVernay. An accomplished stage actress, and 2012 Lunt-Fontane Ten Chimneys Fellow, Sharon appeared in the West Coast premiere of A KID LIKE JAKE directed by Jennifer Chambers. LA theatre credits includes her acclaimed performance in THE MYSTERY OF LOVE AND SEX at the Mark Taper Forum, playing twenty different women in the LOVE, NOEL cabaret at The Wallis, at The Pasadena Playhouse she starred in Noel Coward's final play A SONG AT TWILIGHT and as Vivian Leigh in ORSON'S SHADOW for which she was nominated for an Ovation Award, and won the LA Drama Critics Circle Award. She was part of a rotating cast in Nora & Delia Ephron's Off Broadway production of LOVE, LOSS & WHAT I WORE, and starred opposite Cherry Jones in TONGUE OF A BIRD at The Public Theatre. Sharon created the role of Maureen in the premiere of Theresa Rebeck's POOR BEHAVIOR at the Mark Taper Forum and her last Broadway appearance was as Velma Kelly in CHICAGO.

We'd love to know who was the very first person to recognize your theatrical talents.

Definitely my mother was definitely the first to recognize that I had any theatrical inclination. She tells the story of passing by the nursery when was about 2 years old in my crib laying on my back, moving my legs around and reciting and original creation "I'm pointing to the left, I'm pointing to the right. I'll go up in the sky and point my toes tonight!" Ha! She wrote it right down in my baby book- so I know it's gotta be true.

Can you tell us a little about your professional training?

I'd say my earliest professional training was being cast by the play makers repertory company that is the resident lord Theatre Company based at my university UNC- Chapel Hill in re-invoragated classics and original and musicals alongside the MFA students and ACTORS EQUITY actors like Ellen Crawford and Michael Rupert, Jim Hayman, Michael Cumpsty, Katherine Misele, Wendy Barrie. It was run by the time by David Rotenberg and Gregory Boyd who had come to Carolina from Yale and we're also part of the leadership at the Williamstown Theater Festival. It was a very heady time, and I learned a lot about professional theater when I was a sophomore. I then went on to do summer stock in many companies in the Southeast. Working with professional choreographers and directors and actors allowed me to dream big

How do you balance such a busy acting career?

I give credit to my natural curiosity and enthusiasm which makes it hard for me to say no to anything that interest me. My choices are influenced by supporting interesting stories, and particularly helping women launch their projects, like THE SHOT, mixed with content that I believe will have commercial appeal. My husband and dog are very supportive as are my professional reps and while I missing the friends in my home base, I always develop close relationships with the people I'm working with and love exploring new locations that the work takes me to like Calgary where my JOE PICKETT series on Paramount+ that shoots.

What piece of advice do you have for people interested in the performing arts?

Play the long game, develop your technique in equal measure with your mental, physical and spiritual discipline. As a performing artist you are your equipment and it is ever evolving. You must be the expert on your instrument.

We'd like to know some of the challenges of performing the one-woman show, "The Shot."

Challenges so far have been staying hydrated!!! I've played Kay in the summer, winter, spring and fall and the air quality is different in each environment so my system must learn what I need to make it though 75 minutes of non-stop talking. Luckily, I play multiple characters and some of can swig back a drink:)

How do you like working at NJ Rep?

The family atmosphere here is so inviting and supportive. That is just one of the reasons this theatre, created by the lovely Dr. Gabor and Suzanne Barabas over 25 years ago, has been honored with Many awards and accolades and was recommended by my colleagues.

What would you like audiences to know about "The Shot?"

The life of Katharine Graham has been lauded for her professional accomplishments. This play reveals the source of her determination, her judgment, her courage and resilience. The circumstances we explore in the play are not only relatable, but also inspiring.

Why do you think the current times are right for this show?

Women's leadership comes in many forms and as Kay grew into her role as the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company, she herself said "Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex."

Can you share with us any of your future plans?

Since JOE PICKETT the modern western series comes out in a few months, I'll be promoting Season 2 which I'm so excited about. It's taking me back to my early days as a saloon singer!

Follow Sharon on social media: IG @sharonelawrence; TikTok @sharonelawrence; FB- Sharon Lawrence

New Jersey Repertory Company is located at 179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ 07740.The theatre entrance is in the rear of the building with plenty of free parking available. For tickets to The Shot and more information, please visit http://www.njrep.org/.

Photo Credit: Andrea Phox Photography



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