Molly Camp, who is currently playing Marian Almond in The Heiress on Broadway, is very similar to her character. Both Molly and Marian have sweet and upbeat demeanors that light up a stage and real life. I saw The Heiress a month ago knowing I would be meeting Molly after the show. When she came on stage in the beginning of the show, she brought the perfect burst of positive energy that the sad story of Catherine Sloper needed. Then, when I met her backstage, she did not fail to bring the same cheerful spirit she had on the Walter Kerr stage. Hurry over to The Heiress in its final performances to catch a glimpse of Molly’s delightful performance and abundance of talent.
Master Chat: When did you catch the theater bug?
Molly Camp: I was very young. I did a lot of community theatre growing up beginning when I was about 5.
Did anyone in particular inspire you to pursue acting?
I started taking acting classes because a babysitter of mine who I admired took them at a local theatre, and I thought it sounded fun. I was also really big into The Wizard of Oz at the time, so I guess you can say Dorothy inspired me.
You have a BFA. in acting from Otterbein College. Would you mind talking about how the school helped you become the brilliant actress you are now?
Hehe, you are sweet. College was a very important step for me both personally and professionally. The school really helped me to learn a lot about myself, gave me confidence, and an amazing network of friends who I am still very close to today. All of that combined helped to break down personal walls and barriers so I was open to fully inhabit whatever character came my way. The program focused on physical life in the beginning, and I find that is how I tend to approach characters. Alexander work, yoga, and dialect work are my base.
What steps did you take to begin your career after graduating?
I was very lucky to sign with an agent out of our school’s showcase. So, I moved to NYC after doing a short acting internship over the summer and just dove into the audition world. I auditioned for anything and everything. I booked my first TV guest spot within a month of moving here, so that gave me confidence. Soon after that I booked my first regional theatre gig that gave me my equity card.
You have done quite a fair share of regional theater. Which one was your favorite to perform in and why?
I have two favorites. Lieutenant of Inishmore is the most fun I’ve ever had on stage. I love Mairead (strong, fierce, feisty), and playing with all of the stage blood every night never got old, it still makes me laugh to think about it. Crimes of the Heart was another fun one for me. I’m in love with Liesl Tommy who directed the show and she really brought out the best in everyone. Babe is fun because she is all over the place. And while she appears to be waif like and dim, she actually has a lot of strength but just doesn’t know how to deal with it properly…and I got to eat cake on stage every night.
You have done a good amount of television work, as well! How does guesting on a TV show differ from being in a play?
It is very different. Being a guest star is strange, because it feels like you are dropping into someone else’s family (you don’t know the dynamics or the people, but are expected to jump in as if you do). There is a lot of waiting around and very little rehearsal. It’s also a strange thing to walk away from, because you have no idea how it will all turn out. Your performance is passed into the hands of editors and directors, which can manipulate your performance in a way you did not expect.
Currently you are performing eight times a week in The Heiress on Broadway. What has this experience been like?! Making your Broadway debut and all…
It’s pretty amazing. I admit, I say a little “thank you” prayer every day. The cast is amazing; I couldn’t ask to be working with a better group of people, which is the most important aspect of any production. It’s also nice to have the security of a long term gig (something I have not experienced). I’ve had many supportive friends and family visit from far and near to see the show, which is incredibly humbling and touching.
You’re working with some pretty great actors in The Heiress. What have you learned from working with so much talent?
The most important thing I have learned is that it is possible to be an accomplished actor and still remain grounded, have a comfortable private life, and a sense of humor. The actors I’m working with are all wonderful people and they make the environment we are working in extremely light and positive. I think that is the most important thing an actor can bring to the room.
What research did you have to do in order to perform a timepiece?
I began by reading Henry James’ Washington Square to get a more in depth sense of the world and people. We had lessons in etiquette, and a dialect coach.
What is the most important thing that you could ask for in a castmate/scene partner
Someone who is fully present, open, and vulnerable…thus allowing you to be the same.
What’s your pre-show routine?
My routine tends to change depending on the role and show. For this one, I do a little bit of yoga, tongue twisters, and visit with my cast mates.
What advice do you have for aspiring actors?
Have confidence in yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The theatre world is such a wonderful community, unlike any other. We compete against each other, but we also support one another. Be there for your fellow actors and allow them to be there for you. Also, if you don’t truly love the process of acting, don’t pursue it. It is a really hard business and not worth all of the rejection, sacrifice, and hardship unless you truly love it.
What’s your favorite play?
I have many. I think that Crimes of the Heart is a really well constructed play. I love all of the characters; they are all very specific and have so much depth. Best of all…great women roles! ♦
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