Interview: Natasha Hause Seduces in THE GRADUATE at Sierra Rep

Fallon House Theatre is Holding a Place For You Through October 29th

By: Oct. 16, 2023
Interview: Natasha Hause Seduces in THE GRADUATE at Sierra Rep

Interview: Natasha Hause Seduces in THE GRADUATE at Sierra Rep

The Graduate, a novel-turned-cult classic film and play, is an award-winning coming-of-age story about a young man who, feeling adrift after college, seeks connection with an older woman. It’s a story that has aged well, with themes that are collectively engaging. Finding one’s purpose, uncertainty, and lust are combined with loyalty and love to create a timeless piece of Americana. Who better to infuse the iconic work with Mrs. Robinson’s signature sex appeal than a Sacramento theatre icon? Sultry, smoky, and sophisticated are what Natasha Hause breathes into Sierra Rep’s Mrs. Robinson, bringing high society to the historic Fallon House Theatre and breathless entertainment to her audiences. The four-time BroadwayWorld Award-winning actress and director spoke to us about her coveted role, plans beyond Mrs. Robinson, and her secrets of seduction.

Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson! First a book, then a film, and, finally, a play. Can you believe I’ve never seen it? How were you first introduced to The Graduate?

The Graduate is a must-see film that was a major influence in 1967 in introducing the world to a “new” era of film. I first saw this film when I was in high school and was utterly mesmerized by Anne Bancroft’s sophisticated and cool performance (who wouldn’t be?), as well as the astonishing direction of Mike Nichols. In fact, to this day, Mike Nichols is still my favorite director and I continue to find new aspects to appreciate in his astute and thoughtful way of directing. The iconic cinematic stamp this film has produced was not lost on me and continues to draw me in throughout my lifetime. I have lost count of how many times I have seen this film! I also happen to be obsessed with 1960’s fashion, architecture, and music, which are stunning in this film. This film continues to remain at the top of my favorites list. 

You’ve said that this is a dream role for you. What draws you to this character?

How often do you get to say you are playing a role where everyone, in the art world or not, knows exactly who the character of Mrs. Robinson is? And then there is, of course, the brilliant Simon & Garfunkel song which everyone seems to know the lyrics to as well! Iconic role indeed. This may be the first time I have played a role that everyone already has quite an opinion about! It is the most delicious role I may have ever delved into because, while I am a lover of the film, I have been able to make this well-known role completely my own. That, to me, is challenging and the most rewarding opportunity as an actress. The play is very similar in story and content to the film but some of the characters, especially Mrs. Robinson, have more complex character development, and scenes that never existed in the film are now showcased, which is exciting! I have a much different overall journey than Anne Bancroft was given in the film. This play version allows me to “honor” what we know and love about Mrs. Robinson but enlightens the audience to more depth and vulnerability as to who Mrs. Robinson truly is, with more insight into her pain, humor, and humanity. I can relate to so many aspects of Mrs. Robinson (no, not the affair with a younger man!): being a mother, hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, isolation and emptiness, and, above all, aging and all the emotions that are tied to a woman getting older. I appreciate how this role is written in the play and I love being able to walk in Mrs. Robinson’s heels for a moment in time. I believe I have been waiting to play this role my entire life! 

How did you prepare to inhabit the persona of Mrs. Robinson?

I was already very familiar with the film, I then read the novel, I had seen the Broadway production, and read a fantastic book titled “Seducing Mrs. Robinson” that gave me in-depth information about the making of The Graduate as well as more insight into the role of Mrs. Robinson. I am a lover of research in everything I take on as an actor and director. I even watched a wide array of films such as Class and Afterglow that showcased the older woman/younger man relationship. It was an exciting role to delve into for research, obviously!

The last time I saw you, you were playing the role of another mother, Judy Boone, in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Sacramento Theatre Company (STC). While it differs from The Graduate in a lot of ways, both Judy and Mrs. Robinson are unfulfilled in their lives at home. Do you relate to one character more than the other?

Yes, quite interesting to play back-to-back complex mother roles in both The Curious Incident and now in The Graduate. Both roles require you to go to a very vulnerable place and never pass judgement. You can never judge a role you are playing; you must always play the truth and draw upon any similarities you may have. So, I have had to find and navigate how I personally relate to each role. I would say that each role resonates differently with me. The gut-wrenching pain of playing Judy Boone, a mother who is not able to communicate with or raise her autistic son, was always a rollercoaster of emotions to research and perform. That role required me to live in a darker place during the duration of our run, whereas Mrs. Robinson embodies a level of power, glamour, and humor that felt I could really sink my teeth into as well as understand perfectly how Mrs. Robinson becomes who she is, why she makes the choices she does, and how she will survive the “bed she’s made!” Judy’s struggle is so very painful that I continued to seek out all available information to portray that character to the best of my ability. I don’t know many Judys, but I know quite a few Mrs. Robinsons. This is a role I would love to play forever (well, until I age out of it!). I fall in love with her every time I speak her truth. 

You’ve teamed up with some former coworkers from the Sacramento Theatre Company, including former Executive Director, Michael Laun. I think I also see one of my favorite Scrooges, Matt K. Miller, in the Playbill. How is it working with them in a different venue? Was this a happy coincidence?

What an incredible coincidence indeed to have Michael Laun be called in to become our stage manager for this production. The current situation of Michael stepping down from being at the helm of the Sacramento Theatre Company, where he has been the steady successful fixture, has been devastating. Personally, the upheaval of STC and the company not having any upcoming professional season of productions has left me without my artistic home, one that I have devoted myself to for the last eight years. It is saddening and it has been a bewildering and frustrating personal loss and a loss for our theatre community in Sacramento. It has been very comforting to have my dear friend, Michael, here by my side exploring this new adventure together, a true blessing. It definitely feels as if I am back in high school going to theatre camp with my close friend! And then to also have the stellar Matt Miller play my husband is pure joy! Matt and I have had the pleasure of working together several times before. The last time we shared the stage was with his Scrooge to my Ghost of Christmas Past in STC’s 2021 production of A Christmas Carol. I am one lucky gal to get to work with such talented friends as Michael and Matt. It is also a blast to be working at the incredible Sierra Repertory Theatre! Sac talent represents in Gold Country! 

It must also be an exciting experience to dive into a new environment after so many years spent dedicated to STC. Did you feel any growing pains or was it a seamless transition?

I was at a loss regarding my future career plans, except that I knew I was going away to Sierra Rep to play Mrs. Robinson since I was cast in this role last November. As an Associate Artist at STC, I was always set to direct a show and act in two per season. This season, I was planning to go into a one-woman show to run in November/December in the Pollock Theatre, which is no longer happening. So, coming into this production at SRT was a little different than I anticipated because I did not have another confirmed show to go to after this. As an artist in this industry, having another show lined up is everything. Thank goodness everything about my experience at SRT has been a dream. The company, the cast, the crew, and the patrons have made me feel as if I have been performing here for twenty years! I am so grateful to have had this role to look forward to working on, as it helped ease my concerns about what happens beyond STC.

What was the one-woman show you were slated to work on? Do you have any plans to produce and perform it here in Sacramento independently?

The one-woman show is I’ll Eat You Last, about the life of major talent agent Sue Mengers. Bette Midler did this on Broadway and this is everything! Janis Stevens will direct this. We were set for STC but now it may be done independently.

The pitfalls of getting older – I keep thinking of Benjamin Braddock’s character as a teenager, but he is actually an adult. Was it uncomfortable in any way interacting so intimately with John Wascavage, the actor playing that part?

Oh, how fortunate I am to share the stage with John as my Benjamin. He is a very professional, generous, and kind actor. I felt comfortable with him from our very first read-through. He is a New York City-based actor, and we have mutual friends in common, which helped build our comfort level with one another. It is essential to have trust in the actors you share the stage with, especially due to the intimacy of this play. Getting to “play” in the sandbox with John is such fun! 

What do you think it is about Sierra Rep that keeps talent coming back season after season to work in the Sierra foothills, an area that is not a hub of theatre activity?

Sierra Repertory Theatre certainly has built quite a following for themselves. The community is completely devoted to helping support SRT. I have been swept up by the enthusiasm that the patrons have demonstrated towards all of us involved. Scott Viets and Jerry Lee are revered here and it is well-deserved, I might add. The two of them have assembled a very talented company and have managed to keep the bar high in professionalism and make everyone feel as if they are a part of this family. The designers that they hire for the productions are some of the best I have worked with! They consistently bring in some of the best designers, cast, and crew, and have wonderful local talent to boot. They provide the community with such outstanding professionals and their audiences are reaping the benefits. I also believe that when they find talent, they want to hang on to what works! Making it feel like home is something Scott and Jerry have perfected. For me, I would love to come “home” anytime. 

Why will audiences love The Graduate? Is it a universally appealing show?

What I will say about seeing this story as a play is, it isn’t simply the film on stage. I believe the story and the characters are what the audience remembers from the film.  I also believe we have just the cast to beautifully convey these “new” scenes that are in the play. Allie Pratt, who plays my lovely daughter, Elaine, demonstrates such multi-layered character development in her portrayal which is uniquely different from how her role is written in the film. I saw this play on Broadway with Kathleen Turner as Mrs. Robinson, and the production and how it was directed did not live up to the potential of the piece. However, my takeaway was how much I thought this play stood on its own and how, ultimately, it was quite different than the film. The story is reliable. Someone who saw themselves in the role of Benjamin, may now really identify with and understand Mrs. Robinson. I must add that Scott Viets’ direction of this play is dead on how it veers into the comedic elements much more in every way than what I saw in the Broadway production. Scott brought out the balance of drama, comedy, and overall humanity of all of these characters, which are universally relatable. And yes, I am trying to seduce you! 

Back to Natasha. You’re a big draw for this show. People will come to see you in a role that you were clearly made for. They’ll also want to know what’s next. Will you come back to Sacramento? Will you help resurrect STC? I have a feeling that you’re just getting started and we will be hearing a lot more of your name. 

I reside in Sacramento and hope to work back in the theatre community again in the near future. Although currently I don’t have an artistic home, I hope to produce, direct, and/or act this upcoming year in Sacramento. My husband, Don, is truly the most supportive husband and encourages me to take the job that fulfills me the most in my career and I know he would enjoy seeing me do something else in town post STC. Next year is a major milestone as my daughter, Neely, will be off to college pursuing a degree in film directing next fall. So next year Don and I are empty nesters, and I will have some more freedom to take job opportunities elsewhere. I would love to make a return to SRT in the near future and perhaps go a little further from home to work at some companies that I have always admired but haven’t had the luxury to do so. My journey may take me back to New York City or Boston, which would be fantastic. I will say I have quite a few plays that I am dying to direct and many roles that I am about to age out of that now I need to find a way to make happen! 

The Graduate plays at Sierra Rep in the Fallon House Theatre through October 29th. More information may be found at or by emailing

Photo credit: Lucas Blair

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