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Interview: Kathy Deitch of Off-Broadway's TITANIQUE the Musical at The Asylum NYC

TITANIQUE runs through September 25, 2022 at The Asylum.

Innovative. Tenacious. Inspiring. Diva. Words to describe the one and only Kathy Dietch. I've always been drawn towards women who fit this description. (Full disclosure; I am married to one!). Women who are very much at home playing the Diva on stage and might not follow a traditional path or be satisfied with what box society places them in. Women who create their own mold in the world of television and theatre.

Actress and Singer Kathy Deitch is currently starring as Molly Brown in Titanique Off Broadway. I first discovered Kathy's talent when she was in her first Broadway show, FOOTLOOSE.

Along the way, Kathy has created quite an impressive resume including playing Madame Morrible in WICKED, appearing on the TV series THE BIG C and AMERICAN HORROR STORY and on the big screen in MAGIC MIKE XXL and THE LOFT. Kathy is also co-creator and host of the hit podcast PlusThis! Show.

Kathy's latest venture, Titanique, which is currently Off Broadway at the Asylum Theatre, is a musical retelling of the Titanic-like voyage jammed packed with songs made famous by Celine Dion.


Who is your mentor and what would you like to say to your mentor?

I have several actors whose careers I have followed for inspiration and guidance- Anne Nathan, Mary Testa, and of course, queen Kathy Bates- but the person whose voice stays in my head and is loudest during the most difficult times is Kathi-Jo Hubner, my college dance professor. Hers was the first voice to illuminate what it meant to be a working actor and I use what she said to me often in my teaching to this day. I would like to say Thank you to her, over and over and over again.

Titanique

What has this business given you and what has it taken away?

This business has given me the most remarkable network of creative, compassionate friends. My chosen family is divine and challenges me to grow every day. And the laughter! So much! As far as what it has taken away- I often listen to "The Language or the Kiss" by The Indigo Girls which somehow encapsulates the grief over missed weddings, birthdays, funerals etc. you have as actor. It's my hope we can fight for a world where we don't have to choose between our art and our family.

What is the hour like before you go on stage?

I hate being early for a show. I am a barely on time kind of person. I don't like rushing but also hate, HATE waiting. So I put the face on, get the wig on and GO. And depending on the show, I'll holla a bit in an empty hallway to make sure the high notes are there.

If you could experience one performance over again, which one would it be and why?

I've had several incredible moments as an actor - the first public performance of WICKED in San Francisco, the first time I heard Nicole Scherzinger sing Over the Moon at rehearsal for RENT at the Hollywood Bowl, just this summer, the audience's response to the first preview of Titanique was overwhelming! But as a performer, an experience I wish I could have again would be playing a young Dusty Springfield in A GIRL CALLED DUSTY that only ran for three weeks in Provincetown but truly changed my DNA. The audiences were healed, too- you felt it! Also, they would run across traffic to tell us! Working with Stacia Fernandez was a blessing of a lifetime and Susann Fletcher-Smith wrote an incredible, transcendent piece.

Titanique
Photo Credit: Dirty Sugar Photography

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of listening to my artistic intuition over the last two decades. The seed was first planted when I did GODSPELL my senior year in high school. I had done other musicals at the all-boys Catholic school for reasons that had nothing to do with singing and dancing but when I did GODSPELL, I transformed and was very aware that the show was changing me. And then in front of an audience, I felt that silent communication you have with those watching something that is transforming them, too. I've been chasing that feeling ever since and my artistic decisions mostly have met that bar and I'm very proud of that.

Were you a theatre kid growing up? If so, what shows were you in and who did you play?

I really was a singing kid growing up, loving pop music, going to dances and singing at the 9am children's mass with Sister Marian Elizabeth on Sundays. I did shows in high school like PIRATES OF PENZANCE, but just to hang out with boys. In my senior year I was Morgan le Fey in CAMELOT and Peggy in GODSPELL and the later really made me get the theatre bug. I also want to point out that I did not get any roles in college and that educational theatre is not the same as professional theatre, where there tends to be more vision and risk taking, particularly with new works. You can have a terrible college career and a fantastic professional one.

Titanique
Photo Credit: Emilio Madrid

What was your journey to originate the role of Molly Brown in Titanique?

Well, it all started with a call from Tye Blue, whom I had known about but never met. He said, "All of the people I know have told me you need to play this part in this Titanic parody we're writing. It's for the Kathy Bates part." And I said, "Oh, I've played a young Kathy Bates before in American Horror Story: Freak Show! What's the concept?" He told me that it was from Celine Dion's point of view and that they have Molly Brown rowing a boat looking for Rose while singing "All By Myself." I laughed until there were tears in my eyes. He said, "I'll send you a script and you can let me know-"; I cut him off and said, "OH I'm DOING this. Count me IN." Then there was a lot of research, looking at Ms. Bates' performance and listening to Barbra Streisand's Tell Him vocal- I like to give HOMAGE, Honey!

Do you have a favorite moment or scene in Titanique? If so, what is it and why?

My favorite thing about Molly is that there is not one fat joke in the script. Tye was very receptive when I approached him about being a fat activist and not wanting to do the same tired pot shots that comedies pull, especially since the movie has nary a ONE. Like, if James Cameron can resist, we can for crying out loud. And I think what we came up with is great. If I had to pick one moment, I'd have to say the scene before "Tell Him" and the song itself are my favorites. To sing harmonies with Alex Ellis and Marla Mindelle every night is some kind of momentous gift from the Universe and getting to clown with them while making a joyous noise is all I've wished for as an actor.

Titanique
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilkas

Besides being a performer and coach, you also have become a stylist. How did that begin and what do you enjoy about it?

Ooh, I'd LOVE to! As I got deeper into Fat Activism, I realized that so many women were just like me- living this future-self existence: "Oh, I'll buy this for when I'm 20lbs lighter, I won't go on vacation until I feel comfortable in a bathing suit, I need new clothes but am not buying any until I'm thinner." Shedding the oppression of diet culture really made me see how I was refusing to live in the now. A good place for someone to start dismantling their own body bias is through their wardrobe. I was an influencer for a bit and have gained knowledge of all kinds of brands and what fit models they use and how to make it affordable so I love giving plus size women options they didn't know were out there and that can make them say "I'm gonna do all the things NOW instead of waiting for this imaginary version of me to show up." It's an empowering experience and I'm honored that people have trusted me with such an intimate thing as being in on their wardrobe choices. It becomes so much more than styling!

What advice would you give to a young performer starting out in the business today?

Titanique
Photo Credit: Edrea Lara

The best advice I can give a performer just jumping into this mayhem we call "show business" is know who you are. NOT WHAT YOUR TYPE IS, BUT WHO YOU ACTUALLY ARE. What are your values? What means something to you? Where is your compassion? Where is your passion? What drives you? What makes you excited? There is an immense amount of "coaching" happening on the "business of the business" and how to "brand yourself" in response to the corporatization of Broadway and commercial theatre in general. But to survive, to have longevity, to get the long lasting gifts of theatre, you cannot be only a product for consumption. You have to know your purpose. You are not a singing and dancing robot. You are a healer. You are a seer. You are the merrymaker in the time of darkness. You are the truthteller in a world of misinformation. Know your power. Know your truth. The jobs and representation that are for you will come. Resist being results-oriented. Find like minded folx and enjoy the journey.



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TITANIQUE Transfers To The Daryl Roth Theatre Next Month Photo
The world premiere run of Titanique — the Off-Broadway musical send-up of the blockbuster film Titanic, featuring the songs of pop icon Céline Dion — will transfer to a bigger theater in downtown Manhattan, the Daryl Roth Theatre in Union Square.

Photos: Original TITANIC Star Victor Garber Visits TITANIQUE Photo
The cast of Titanique got a special visit earlier this week from a star of the 1997 film! Victor Garber, who is hilariously turned into his own character by Frankie Grande in the musical spoof, stopped by the Asylum Theatre to check it out.

TITANIQUE Extends Off-Broadway Through Early November Photo
The world premiere of Titanique, the irresistibly funny and irreverent new musical send-up of the blockbuster film Titanic, featuring the songs of pop icon Céline Dion, has been extended. Due to ticket demand, the limited Off-Broadway engagement at The Asylum Theatre will now play through Sunday, November 6, 2022.

Ryann Redmond to Join TITANIQUE for Three Performances Photo
Titanique, a send-up of the blockbuster film Titanic, featuring the songs of pop icon Céline Dion, will welcome Broadway star Ryann Redmond (Frozen, Bring it On) to the cast as The Unsinkable Molly Brown for three performances only: Tonight, July 12 at 7pm, July 13 at 7pm, & July 14 at 7pm, at Asylum NYC.


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