TITANIC INTERVIEW - Jennifer Piech

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Jennifer Piech and co-star Jody Gelb applying makeup
Jennifer Piech and co-star Jody Gelb applying makeup Photo by Photo credit: Starla Smith

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Jennifer Piech -- Kate McGowen

She was the peachy Pinchwife in Off-Broadway's Lust, now she's ambitious, optimistic Kate in McGowen in Titanic. Jennifer Piech told Playbill On-Line that doing her first Broadway musical has been both exciting and "a tremendous learning experience. The difference between Off-Broadway and Broadway is the amazing number of people involved here. I've never been part of something where the show has changed so much. To get rewrites daily, for everything, musically as well as scene work. You really have to be on your toes. At the same time, I'm struck by how intimate the show feels; that's where the drama is, not so much the technical side. Titanic depicts human drama in a beautiful way." Piech's character is "a young Irish girl come to America to start a new life. Back then, children were shipped off to America because there were no jobs in Ireland." Though she doesn't have a solo number, Piech's Kate is featured on the song, "Lady's Maid," which she describes as "a dream of grandeur of what the three characters named Kate will do when they get to America. The whole third class gets involved, starting as maids and then dreaming of being millionaires." Piech is very much living a first-class Broadway life these days: her husband of two years, Carl Pasbjerg, is the company manager for Steel Pier. "Both our loyalties are divided, of course, but we both want our shows to be big successes. We don't have kids yet -- we're just enjoying each other -- but I share a dressing room with two actresses who do have families, and I'm struck by their having careers in this business and children. It can be done, and they're living proof." Though she doesn't have a particular opening-night ritual, Piech does make sure to warm up extensively and find some time "to get away from everybody" and get centered. She said director Richard Jones' best piece of advice to the actors was, "don't work too hard. Just relax into it." She said of Jones, " He has such a clear vision of where he wants to go with the show. You know where you fit in, what your journey is supposed to be. He lets you in on the whole process, not just your own part. Also, he makes you feel so free, it becomes a very creative atmosphere. You try whatever comes to you."

--By David Lefkowitz

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