minister's wife On Broadway she was Will Rogers' wife (no folly there), and the head Madame when the The Best Little Whorehouse went public. What's next for an actress to play but...a mother.
Unlike some actresses, who see playing "mother roles" as a warning sign, Dee Hoty takes her matronly part in Footloose in stride. "I'm the mother. It's fine, it's a nice part, and it's a great company. I come from regional theatre, where one week you're the maid, the queen, the sister, the servant... It's what we do as actors. And besides, Susan Sarandon plays va-voom roles even after playing the mother. Granted, it's always more difficult for women, there. But I've got a nice part in a fun show."
Hoty admits being pleased at being able to kick up her heels a bit at the end of the musical. "In an early version, the parents were just chaperones doling out punch. I'm glad they finally let the adults dance in the finale."
Asked what she liked most about Mrs. Shaw, the minister's wife, Hoty told Playbill On-Line, "She's so centered. Many of the adult women in this piece try to keep the center of the family together and going. As opposed to the men, who are all over the place. The men run the town and make the big decisions BUT the power is at the kitchen table. And my character sees all the points of view. Although she sees validity in those choices, she tends to side more with her daughter, because of her own experiences. She's also trying to keep her family intact after a tragedy [a dead son]."
"It's a different world today," continued Hoty. "I can't imagine what it means to be a parent. I see my siblings wrestling to this day. It all comes out as neat as a pin in a Broadway show; in life it's just not that easy." I remind Hoty that it isn't so easy on Broadway either. Her co-star, Martin Vidnovic, left the show due to artistic differences weeks ago. (Understudy Stephen Lee Anderson now plays Rev. Shaw.)
Asked about the cast change, Hoty said the move "was handled gracefully and graciously. I can't speak for the choices made there, though Marty's fine; I've spoken to him since. The company is thrilled for [Stephen]. Ultimately, he has more of a centered quality that [Rev. Shaw] would have had from the git-go. A sense of self he brings to the part... Marty has strength and virility that's ferocious. It's a different choice. So the change is not a 180, but Stephen is more tender."
What with The Will Rogers Follies, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public and Forbidden Broadway in L.A., to name a few, Hoty has seen her share of opening nights, yet she has no set ritual for the event. "I try to slough off superstitious hinkiness [sic]. It distracts me. (Okay, I do do the Scottish play thing, but that's about it.) On opening nights I get to the theatre early. Not as a superstition; there's just a lot going on. I get a lot of sleep and remember to eat."
Thinking of previous shows, Hoty remembered that, "Will Rogers was an exciting opening night because I felt we were all a part of something wonderful. City of Angels was a total dark horse. In fact, our new conglomerate of producers had wanted to post notice at intermission! City of Angels was also the first role I created on Broadway, rather than stepping into someone else's part. I left that show to do Will Rogers, which I knew would be a special project."