PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: 3C and "Veep" Star Anna Chlumsky
By Matthew Blank
July 3, 2012
Anna Chlumsky, currently back onstage in the world premiere of David Adjmi's comedy 3C, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Chlumsky has appeared onstage in such productions as Measure for Measure, Darwin in Malibu, Half Life, The Butcherhouse Chronicles, The Fabulous Life of a Size Zero and Unconditional.
Her screen work includes the lead role in "My Girl" and "My Girl 2," "Uncle Buck," "Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain," "Cupid", "Law & Order" and "30 Rock."
She currently plays chief of staff Amy on HBO's "Veep."
Full given name:
Anna Mary Chlumsky
Where you were born/where you were raised:
What your parents did/do for a living:
Mom: Public school music teacher
Dad: Chef/Culinary instructor
1 half-brother. He rocks. :)
Needlepoint and crochet
Something you're REALLY bad at:
First Broadway show you ever saw:
The Secret Garden
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be?
The original Into the Woods or Sweeney Todd
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations as a young actor?
Inspirations: Vivien Leigh, Bernadette Peters, Bette Davis, Ann Miller.
Also, as a kid, I had this choreographer named Brenda Didier. I loved everything about her. I would wear warm-up clothes to school - jazz shoes, legwarmers and all - because I was so into her.
Current show you have been recommending to friends:
One Man, Two Guvnors and Once
Favorite showtunes of all time:
"I Am What I Am"
"The Impossible Dream"
Some favorite musicals:
A Little Night Music
Into the Woods
La Cage aux Folles
Some favorite modern plays:
The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
Some favorite modern playwrights:
Edward Albee, John Guare, Nicky Silver, Rebecca Gilman, Amy Herzog
Stage or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:
Jimmy Durante, Eddie Cantor, Gene Kelly, Marjorie Main
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
My family and I saw the revival tour of Show Boat at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. At the finale, the full company performed "Old Man River," and I get chills just thinking about it.
Music that makes you cry, any genre:
Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Bernstein can all really get to me. Also, when PBS airs the clip of Zero Mostel performing "If I Were a Rich Man," I'm a mess.
You personal acting idols:
Bette Davis, Karl Malden, Vivien Leigh, Jimmy Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Emma Thompson, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, I could go on...
MAC or PC?
art.sy, shopstyle.com, goodreads.com
Most played song on your iPod:
Lately the most-played is "Déjame Entrar" by Carlos Vives.
Last book you read:
"Devil in the White City"
Must-see TV show(s):
"Veep" (duh!), "Girls," "Game of Thrones," "Downton Abbey," "Nurse Jackie," "Justified," "So You Think You Can Dance."
And a good dose of "RuPaul's Drag Race" can't hurt. ;)
Last good movie you saw:
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Some films you consider classics:
"American in Paris," "Gone with the Wind," "The Godfather," "The Third Man, "Star Wars" trilogy, "Singin' in the Rain," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," "It Happened One Night" (again, I could go on...).
Three favorite cities:
New York, London, Brussels
Football (both American and European - it's a toss up)
Bears and Barça
I've got a little crush on Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid, I must admit.
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
The Housewives on Bravo. All of 'em.
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" by the Beatles
First stage kiss:
I think it was this little Off-Off-Broadway showcase called The Colonel's Holiday.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
Watching Mercedes Ruehl serve it in The Goat.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal:
A pre/post-show meal is always great at 'Nizza on 9th. With a nice... (see next question)
Favorite liquid refreshment:
... Campari and Soda.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
I like to vocalize and run my lines every day. At the show, putting the face on always gets me in gear. Wishing "merde" to the company. Doing a little roll up and down of the body to check in right before hitting the stage.
What drew you to this project?
It goes all over the place, and I was more than game for that ride. I love material that doesn't let anyone off the hook. This show's got balls. Kooky, wacko balls. :)
Was there any particular research or pre-preparation that went into this character?
"Connie" likes to draw connections between her life and the world around her, (as she sees it), so I watched several movies from 1978, just to touch on the pop culture of that year.
Then Denny Terrio taught us some great disco moves. And - most importantly - there's the whole rehearsal process, which helped me to really dive into the character herself.
Any upcoming projects you can talk about?
My show "Veep" has been picked up for another season. Yay!
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
I said a post-spit-take line before the spit-take. So during the spit-take I panicked and did some weird Mr. Mooney-esque blubbering with my face, swishing my cheeks around and making a mess. Yipe!
Worst costume ever:
Some of the outfits in "Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain" were pretty rough - though accurate for the role.
Worst job you ever had:
Fact-checking in a window-less room for a year.
Some favorite screen or commercial roles:
I'm pretty partial to "Amy" in "Veep". I also really enjoyed the role I played in an episode of "Covert Affairs" - "Vivian." She was a hoot.
Who have you played on "Law & Order"? What editions?
I played a bad nanny and a loyal law student. Both on the "mothership."
Leading lady role you've been dying to play:
Leading man role you wish you could play:
Ricky Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross
Something about you that surprises people:
That I have a membership at Midtown Comics.
Something you are incredibly proud of:
Being a show person
Something you're embarrassed to admit:
Sometimes I'll choose TV over yoga.
Career you would want if not a performer:
Equestrian rider? Wine grower? Hard to say. I really like being a performer. :)