Q & A with Judy McLane who stars in the lead role of 'Donna Sheridan' in the Abba inspired Broadway musical Mamma Mia!, playing at the Broadhurst Theatre.
Place of birth?
Scranton, PA but, my hometown is Olyphant, PA.
You now live in?
New York City
Did you go to training school, if so which one?
I went to Ithaca College as a classical singer. I got my Bachelor of Music in Voice.
Your first stage performance was?
I was about 6 or 7. It was for a July 4th picnic at an institution for the mentally ill where my next door neighbor worked. And so it began.
Career highlight to date?
I feel lucky to have so many, but, the night of the Mamma Mia!’s 10 year anniversary lighting the Empire State Building and performing on an outdoor stage with fireworks on Broadway was pretty cool. Or singing with the Bolshoi Orchestra in Moscow.
What roles would you most like to play?
A role in a new show would be great.
What's the best advice you have ever received?
In a quick change, never fight with your costume, it always wins.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
I was playing Aldonza in Man of LaMancha at Paper Mill Playhouse and my tear away skirt didn't work, the whole thing came off and the audience got more than they payed for that night, as I was carried off upside down in a thong.
What is the most annoying part about your job?
Staying hydrated, that's a lot of trips to the lady's room.
Briefly tell us how you become involved with Mamma Mia!?
I auditioned and got called back for the role of Donna. By the time the callback came they had decided on another actress for the role of Donna so they asked me to read for Tanya. I got a call the next day to do it.
Briefly tell us about the character you play in Mamma Mia!?
Donna is a strong, feisty, independent and vulnerable.
If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
Something to do with animals, owning my own sanctuary, or something in wildlife conservation.
Who are your favorite actors/actresses?
Jack Lemmon , Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Spacey, and of course, Meryl Streep, to name a few.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
I've never met either of my grandfathers, I'd love to talk with them about their lives. If they weren't available, I'd say Jesus.
Favorite after-show haunts?
What was the last Broadway show you saw?
Peter and the Starcatcher. Loved it!!!
What was the last book you read, and name some of your favorite authors?
I'm currently reading The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi but two of my favorite books are The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay and The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman. One of my favorite authors is John Irving.
Favorite TV programs?
Big Cat Diary, Jon Stewart.
Favorite holiday destinations?
Botswana or the Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques.
Do you have any hobbies?
Do you have any superstitions?
Growing up on New Year s Eve my Irish Grandmother would put an old shoe, a piece of coal, and a silver coin outside the front door to bring clothing, shelter and money for the coming year. My sister and I still do it.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
My cats Smudge, Petunia and Bruno.
What are your future plans?
Hopefully, to live one day at a time.