Kay Cole is known for her award-winning work as an actor/dancer/singer in the original Broadway production of A Chorus Line, which garnered the Tony, Pulitzer Prize, Drama Desk, and Theatre World awards –among others. Other credits include: director/choreographer: 22%, Love Songs, Spelling Bee, Rose Bowl Queens, Bark! No Strings, Desperate Writers (Off-B’way/LA), Flunky, The Dining Room, Nuncrackers, Judy’s Scary Little Christmas, Frog & Toad, A Chorus Line, choreographer: Hunger, Nightmare Alley, Atlanta, Great Expectations, Triumph of Love, Dancing at Lughnasa. Pasadena Playhouse: 110 in the Shade, Do I Hear A Waltz. Hollywood Bowl: Mame, Bernstein’s Mass, My Fair Lady, Music Man, Camelot, Reprise!, Three Penny Opera, City of Angels, Company, 20th Century, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Most Happy Fella. Other Los Angeles: Atlanta, Paint Your Wagon (Geffen); Grave White Way (Hudson Theatre); Dogeaters, Gaytino (Kirk Douglas Theatre); Six Dance Lessons (Falcon, Geffen, B’way); Snoopy, Blockheads (London West End). Film/TV: Country Rules, Santa Clause 3, Six Dance Lessons… Website: www.kaycole.net
She is currently directing Group rep’s production of a new musical Love Again, book by Doug Haverty, music by Adryan Russ, and lyrics by Russ and Haverty.. With its stories unfolding everywhere from the Louvre to a hospital room, this trio of contemporary mini-musicals places each of its characters in challenging situations, adding up to one sure-to-be-entertaining world-premiere production.
by Steve Peterson
When did you first get interested in performing – what spurred you on?
It was a play. I was six years old and taking ballet class, when a director who was taking his daughter to class asked my mom if I would audition for his play. I did and got the role in Me Candido. It was a lead role and I was the only child. I started the show with a monologue. I knew this is where I wanted to be, even at six. It felt like I was home.
How did your involvement with the original production of A Chorus Line come about?
I auditioned for the show because director Michael Bennett asked me to after seeing me in Sammy Cahn’s Words and Music on Broadway.
You recently attended the 40th Anniversary of A Chorus Line in New York City. Tell us a little about the celebration.
It was an absolutely amazing three days and nights of being celebrated by the brilliant Hamilton company and The Public Theatre. To be honored in that way happens once in a lifetime if you’re lucky. There is a permanent plaque at the Newman Theatre honoring A Chorus Line and all of the original cast members.
When did you make the transition from performer to director, and how did that opportunity come about?
It happened naturally. I transitioned by being a choreographer first, then wanting to expand my vision I began directing. I have always loved plays and the language of theatre. I was also with the Los Angeles Repertory Company for many years and had the opportunity to stretch my skills as an actress and director.
Have you had a mentor or mentors who have encouraged in some way or had an effect on you in some way?
So many people along the way…their care and guidance and love have always surrounded my artist’s spirit. But Tom O’Horgan was the director I felt molded my director's eye. I worked with Tom O’Horgan in Hair in Los Angeles at the Aquarius Theatre, and in New York on Broadway; and Jesus Christ Superstar in New York on Broadway (original company) and several shows at La Mama in New York. Working with Tom on many shows taught me the value of risk and trusting your instincts.
Besides being a triple threat performer (actor/dancer/singer) and director, you have also written for the stage. Can you tell us something about your writing?
It has been a secret dream of mine to be a writer. That is where it all begins. So being able to express your deepest feelings by creating on the blank page is a gift. I have always written poetry and children’s stories. I had my first screenplay written with Brent Beerman optioned this year, and a play I wrote with partners Mark Salyer and Kirsten Moomey is scheduled to be produced next year.
Do you have a favorite play or musical that you were in or directed (please include why it is a favorite)?
I adored directing The Dining Room, a play by A.R. Gurney, at the Victory Theatre in Burbank. It was a great production with an amazing cast and the play spoke to my heart.
What were some other favorite theatre experiences as a performer, director and choreographer?
My favorite performance……..when I portrayed Madame Thenardier opposite Gary Beach in Les Miserables at the Shubert Theatre in Century City. Favorite show I have directed #2….No Strings…for Reprise starring Scott Bakula. Favorite choreography….Assassins at LATC in downtown LA……Favorite experience #1….choreographing the film of Six Dance Lessons... in Budapest for 3 months. Favorite experience #2 … choreographing Snoopy on London’s West End…..I adore London…I am anxious to get back.
What’s special about this new musical Love Again?
It is a sweetheart of a musical like The Apple Tree – 3 plays in one celebrating love.
I am directing a web series that I am also producing with my producing partner Myrl Schreibman.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention about you or the production of Love Again?
Just to thank GRT, Doug Haverty, Adryan Russ, and all the wonderful collaborators and actors who have made Love Again a beautiful production.
Love Again plays May 15 – June 28. Fridays & Saturdays 8PM. Sunday Matinees 2PM. Ages 13+. Admission: $25. Buy Tickets/Info: www.thegrouprep.com or (818) 763-5990.