I make no bones about the fact that I adore Anne Allgood. I’ve been a fan ever since I sat at the audition table when she was brand new to town, auditioning for Showtunes Theatre’s very first show, Anyone Can Whistle. She wasn’t cast, but it had nothing to do with her clearly abundant talent.
Anne arrived here with tons of Broadway, Off-Broadway and National Tour credits. Though she continued to tour after moving here, she and her husband Bill definitely call Seattle home. Such local credits as Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret, Mary Queen of Scots in Mary Stuart, Anna in Old Times, Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man, Hannah and Ethel Rosenberg in Angels in America, and The Old Lady in Candide only skim the Seattle resume of the versatile and riveting actress.
Now in previews for Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Luna Gale (opening Wednesday March 9, 2016) she squeezed in a few moments for this interview.
David-Edward Hughes: The last time I recall seeing you in a Seattle Rep show was your hilarious role as the saucy and salty maid in Boeing-Boeing. This play is not a comedy. What can you tell us about your role?
Anne Allgood: My character, like all of the characters in this play (I believe), has flaws and scars and is just doing her very best to cope with a lot of stresses. And aren’t we all, really? One of the most interesting aspects of this play is the way characters are revealed through the decisions they make. Just when you think you have it all figured out and you know who the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ are, you get surprised and, hopefully, shaken into having to rethink your judgments. It would be easy to judge my character harshly and be done with it, but I hope to bring her humanity and vulnerability to light in such a way that you can’t just write her off.
DEH: You have done a series of musicals most recently. Is it good to be in a drama again, and a new one at that?
AA: Sure! I’m so grateful and happy that here in Seattle I can do both musicals and plays, and not be pigeonholed into one or the other. But I’d say that most of the musicals I’ve been in recently have also been dramas! I think people can sometimes tend to think of musicals as “light” or “fluffy” when many of them deal with huge and dramatic stories and emotions.
DEH: You were absolutely dead on brilliant as Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret at Village Theatre. What made that role special for you?
AA: Thank you! And, case in point, Cabaret is no comedy! I especially loved sharing scenes with the marvelous Peter Crook, and getting to work with director Brian Yorkey for the first time. He’s wonderful. And even though playing that part was hard, sad work, I’m always drawn to stories that are true. I was struck often by the parallels in that story to current events. We were in rehearsal on the day same-sex marriage became legal in the US, and the song Married took on an incredible new resonance. Kind of took our breath away.
DEH: Favorite scene partners in town? People you still crave to act with? AA:
AA: There are SO many fabulous actors here. It’s hard to pick! I adore Bob Wright and the aforementioned Peter Crook, both of whom are so relaxed and generous; I love Suzanne Bouchard and Chuck Leggett, because they are so vigorous. I have to bring my A-game and I love to spar with them onstage! I love Julie Briskman because she is brilliantly funny and has enormous heart. How much space do you have? I could go on and on, truly. As for a wish list, I have always wanted to share some stage time with Amy Thone. Would someone please cast us as sisters?
DEH: What was the best part of revisiting Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music at the 5th Avenue Theatre (which you had done the Broadway revival of), this time playing the venerable and wise Mother Abbess? Now that you have played the other R&H Earth Mother roles, Aunt Eller, Nettie, and Mother Abbess, are you craving to play Lady Thiang in The King and I as well? What roles are on your radar?
AA: Not only was I in the Broadway revival of The Sound of Music, but it was also my high school musical my senior year. I played Maria. So it’s always been dear to me – and maybe to just about everyone of a certain age group? Didn’t we all learn to sing with Julie Andrews? This time around I especially appreciated David Bennett’s commitment to bringing the feminine energy and power in the story to the forefront. And singing that beautiful choral music with all the nuns was a sublime gift every night. I literally got to thank God every show for the experience! It was also a nice change to play a character who wasn’t having a problem. The Mother Abbess pretty much has life figured out and just gets to share her bliss with the world. She’s climbed her mountain and found her dream already.
As for Lady Thiang, well, it’s a pretty song! I wish I’d had the chance to play Anna in The King and I but I think that ship has sailed. Dream roles, in a perfect world, might include Margaret in Light in the Piazza, and more Shakespeare! Really, anything well-written.
DEH: In your copious free time between shows, what do you do and your husband do for fun ?
AA: We are both kind of homebodies! I love to cook and bake, so I tend to do that to relax. We both love getting outdoors as much as we can. The beach is my favorite place on earth, but more often it’s camping, hiking, or even just taking a walk or hanging out in the backyard. We spend most of our waking hours during the summer outside. And during the winter, what’s that phrase the kids are using these days? “Netflix and chill….” (hee hee!)
Anne also graciously obliged by answering our Inside the Actors Studio questions:
What is your favorite word? Lots of them, but “resonance” for its many meanings, and “ameliorate” for its sound.
What is your least favorite word? That changes, too! But generally any word that is slavishly, trendily overused. My current list would be “amazing,” “totes,” “Kardashian,” and “Trump.”
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? The natural universe. Our capacity for wonder and awe. The infinite little joys of everyday life.
What turns you off? Bigotry and bullying. Hypocrisy. The cult of celebrity for its own sake.
What is your favorite curse word? Fuck.
What sound or noise do you love? Ocean waves.
What sound or noise do you hate? Weed whackers and leaf blowers.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Pastry chef.
What profession would you not like to do? Subway track repairman or rodent exterminator.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Your Mama is here waiting to hug you.
Seattle Repertory Theatre presents Rebecca Gilman’s critically acclaimed new play, Luna Gale, a powerful and arresting drama that follows the story of a social worker – played by veteran film, television, and theatre actor Pamela Reed – grappling with decisions that will forever change the course of a foster child’s life. Hannah Mootz (Bo-Nita, Seattle Rep) as Luna Gale’s teen mother, Karlie; Anne Allgood (Broadway’s Imaginary Friends; Boeing Boeing, Seattle Rep) as Cindy, Luna’s devout grandmother. Drew Highlands (Balconies, Annex Theatre) as Luna’s father, Peter; Pilar O’Connell (Christmastown, Seattle Public Theater) as Lourdes; Alex Matthews (Tartuffe, Seattle Shakespeare Company) as Cliff; and Adrian LaTourelle (Bell, Book and Candle, The Old Globe) as Pastor Jay round out the cast. Directed by Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director Braden Abraham, Luna Gale runs through March 27, 2016 in the Bagley Wright Theatre.
Tickets are available now through the Seattle Rep Box Office at (206) 443-2222 and online at seattlerep.org.