Molly Ranson, the young actress seen on Broadway in the award-winning August: Osage County and Jerusalem, is currently offering a breakthrough performance in MCC's revised revival of the cult classic Carrie, the pop musical based on Stephen King's novel about a young woman with telekinetic powers, which continues through April 8 at Off-Broadway's Lucille Lortel Theatre. Ranson, who delivers a thrilling, show-stopping performance of the title tune, also paints a moving, vivid portrait of a teenage girl bullied by her peers to the brink of hysteria, whose home life with a religious zealot of a mother (three-time Tony nominee Marin Mazzie) is as equally unforgiving as her school environment. About two weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with this gifted performer, who spoke about her work in the Stafford Arima-directed Carrie, her co-star and more; that interview follows.
Question: Since we've never spoken before, I thought we'd go back to the beginning. Can you tell me where you were born and raised?
Molly Ranson: Yes, I was born and raised in New York City on the Upper West Side, where I still live.
Question: When did you start performing?
Ranson: I started performing when I was in elementary school. I did a lot of musicals in elementary school, and I did a lot of ballet as a kid. I was in the School of American Ballet, so I did all those ballets... Then, that kind of morphed into musical theatre. I went to LaGuardia High School on the Upper West Side as a drama major, and that's when I really got into acting.
|Photo by Joan Marcus|
Question: At that point, where there any actors or singers that you particularly admired? Anyone who influenced you?
Ranson: Well, I mean I really admired Marin. [Laughs.] I weirdly played the role of Mother in Ragtime in my high school production. [Laughs.] I've always loved Barbra Streisand, of course, and Bernadette Peters. I grew up on a lot of movie musicals, so anybody in a movie musical, I really looked up to them.
Question: Was there ever a time when it clicked that performing would be your career or did you always know that?
Ranson: I don't know. I don't think there was ever a specific moment. I think I always kind of knew that performing was what I loved more than anything, particularly theatre.
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