Meet the Stars :: Katy Grenfell

Katy Grenfell covered the role of Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray on Broadway 2002-2003.

Question:   Which was your first performance as Tracy Turnblad?

My first performance was on Friday, September 20th.

Question:   When and how did you learn you would be going for the very first time as Tracy?

I got a call from my stage manager at around 3:45 in the afternoon that I would be on for the entire weekend, so I called my parents, and they got in the car and drove out to see me from St. Louis, MO.

Question:   How much rehearsal time had you had prior to that performance?

Well, I had been with the show since rehearsals began in April, and had watched it hundreds of times, and had several understudy workthroughs, but never a complete run through of the show.

Question:   After you knew you were going on, what was your pre-show preparation?

I didn't really have any time to prep for the first show, I was too busy calling my agent, family and best friends so they could wish me luck, then I just crossed my fingers and went out there. The backstage stuff was the most difficult having not done any of the traffic or quick changes, so I just did as my dresser told me, and let them all toss me about in the wings. I got the hang of it after a show or two.

Question:   How often do you continue to rehearse the role of Tracy?

Usually I get to rehearse about every other week. It's much fun.

Question:   What was that *first* performance experience like for you?

That entire weekend was the most fun I have ever had in my life. It is what we as actors work so hard for, you know? It was hard work, and took a lot of concentration, and all of that just made it all the more exciting.

Question:   I've heard that your Tracy is very different from Marissa's. How do you approach the role and was there ever any pressure from the producers or director to be more like Marissa?

I really haven't had any pressure to be more like Marissa, which I think is good, only because we are so different in life that to try to be like her on stage would be ingenuine. Most people realize (I hope) that any understudy is not going to be a carbon copy of the person they cover, and most people are very giving and willing to be open to the differences. As far as the director and producers, I have had nothing but support - they have made me feel very comfortable within the theater.

Question:   Are you planning on staying with the show after Marissa leaves or possibly doing the tour?

This show is so much fun to do, and the role is one of a kind, I would love to stay with it as long as possible. At this point I'm just trying to enjoy the experience, and it's much too soon to plan around tours and what-ifs.

Question:   How has it been to be in a big hit show like Hairspray?

It has been a whirlwind ride! It's so much fun; I can't begin to describe it. Playing to a packed house, and hearing the thunderous applause after each show gives me goosebumps. It's so cool!

Question:   Do you cover other roles besides Tracy?

Nope, just Tracy.

Question:   Are you at the theatre every night?

I am there every night.

Question:   What is your background/training?

Well, I have been dancing since I was about 8, singing for as long as I can remember (but only singing well since about the age of 12), and acting as much as I can.

Question:   What do you do to relax away from the theatre?

I mostly read, go to movies, and hang out with my friends. Massages are always good too.

Question:   Now that you are in a hit show on Broadway, what are your other goals career-wise?

I have many other goals. My Broadway goals continue to grow, and I would love to do film and TV stuff. I really want to do a little of everything, and a whole lot of theatre.

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