DIVA TALK: Tony Nominee and Fun Home Star Judy Kuhn Ponders Her Dream Roles

By Andrew Gans
01 Nov 2013

Bernadette Peters in Sunday in the Park with George
Photo by Martha Swope
Dot in Sunday in the Park with George
There are roles I've always wanted to play, but I think now, "Hmmm, maybe that ship has sailed." [Laughs.] I also tend to think more about the writers that I want to do — [Stephen] Sondheim always. I’ve always wanted to play Dot in Sunday in the Park. Now, that's a ship that has probably sailed, but if someone would let me sing that score, I'd die happy.

Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music
In getting ready for this interview, I've been writing down ideas about things I want to do. And, I realized there's a theme of women who are where I am in life, a point in life where you really examine your relationships and … what you thought your life would be like and what it turned out to be. And, [Desiree] is at that particular moment when she’s looking back on what she’s given up and what she wants. A certain part of her life is gone, and so she’s looking at how she can have the thing she’s missed, which is love, really. And, of course, there’s the music. I just think Night Music is a beautiful piece.

I haven't [ever performed "Send in the Clowns"], and there’s such a challenge there because it’s the Sondheim song that even if people don’t know who Sondheim is, they know that song. To take on something that you can find a way to own and make it new again – I love those sort of challenges.

Sally Durant Plummer in Follies
Again, it’s sort of a similar thing, of someone who is trying to understand where her life has come… It's funny because both Desiree and Sally have been performers and they have come to a certain point in their life – like, in my own life, I’m no longer the ingénue, so who am I now? [Desiree asks], "What did I give up to be a performer?" [For Sally, it's], "What did I give up by not being a performer?" She took another road — and looking at what that means, and, of course, looking at her marriage. It's interesting, too, because I’m also seeing this through the lens of the play I’m doing right now, which is also about a marriage: A woman who has a myth about her marriage and then realizes, "This is actually not the truth," and you have to face the truth about your life and your central relationship. I’m just really interested in that right now.