Current Direction of Creative Energy
Hayley: Kate, can you tell us about what you are excited about creatively right now?
Kate: Oh, gosh. Okay. So I just came off of a very intense summer opening a pre-Broadway production of The Devil Wears Prada in Chicago. It is a Herculean effort to bring a show, any show, to life. But particularly one of this scale. I say that for context, because the truth is, as tired and as raw as I feel after this experience, I am still really creatively motivated. Like, I just wanna keep going. There’s so much that we learned. And there was so much that, due to time, due to COVID, due to circumstances beyond our control, we had to leave on the table, and that is a brutal feeling. And yet no less motivating.
So while I need a break like nobody’s business, I cannot stop thinking about the show and what I wanna work on, going forward. That’s a relatively new feeling for me. As an actor, I think there’s a finality that gets trained into you. You have no control; you never did. You have to get comfy with the ephemeral nature of those things.
Being the writer is different because it still feels very much alive. The show is still very much in the lab, bubbling away… We all kind of have to walk away, look at it, stare at it, make decisions, and then go back in and start mixing potions again.
Hayley: Like people in a gallery staring at a giant painting, then backing up and looking at it from a distance, staring at the one dot…
Kate: And then realizing that it actually has nothing to do with that dot and instead has everything to do with the weird tree on the other side that you thought was fine.
Hayley: Yeah, exactly.
Kate: The tree is the real problem.
Amy: What are you doing to deal with that creative energy?
Kate: Talking my husband’s ear off about it.
Hayley: Yay support systems!
Kate: Yeah, you gotta lean on your support systems. We were on a walk yesterday and I said, “Permission to talk about Prada for the 800th time?” and he stopped me. He said, “Kate, you talk about it as much as you want.” So he’s been really awesome. Also, nature is a big one for me… just being outside. I’m really into birds. My dog, trees, animals, husband, food, gin and tonics. Really, really basic stuff. I wish I could be like, “Well, I’m going on a silent retreat,” but no, I’m not.
Amy: No, you’re grounding yourself in your own life. Yeah.
Hayley: One of the things we’re trying to do with this project is to get more information out there to artists and creatives-
Amy: About how to take care of yourself while building a career in this industry, basically.
Kate: One of my specific goals for this week is to turn my attention to another project. Cause I actually think that will be really helpful. So it’s not about turning things off. It’s just redirecting them to another creative outlet, because if I am thinking creatively about something else, when I finally do turn my attention back to the other thing, it will be with a fresher perspective.
Hayley: Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re working on creatively? What are those other projects you wanna put time and energy into?
Kate: Sure. I have a commission from the Phoenix Theater Company to write a musical about Cass Elliot. And that’s been percolating for a while. So it will be a songbook musical, but not just of the Mamas & the Papas music; there will be songs from her folk years before she joined the Mamas & the Papas, and then some of her solo work after she left the group. It’s in its infancy. I’m still in the hunting and gathering phase.
I joined the creative team of Ever After during the pandemic – Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich are the composing team, Marlo Hunter has been helping us develop it as a director. We did a workshop of it last November. This show has been in development and has gone through various iterations over the years. All three of those women are such talented humans. But of course they’re all very busy. So right now, the most immediate challenge is just finding the time that all four of us can be together. But I think we’re onto something, I like the direction we’re headed, so we’ll see what happens.
Amy: Awesome. Yeah. We love a team of kickass women working on a project.