By Matthew Blank
07 Feb 2012
Erbe has appeared on Broadway in The Grapes of Wrath, A Month in the Country and The Speed of Darkness, earning a 1991 Tony nomination for the latter performance.
She may be best known as Det. Alexandra Eames on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." Other screen work includes "Rich in Love," "Kiss of Death," "Chicken Soup," "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "Oz."
|Full given name:||
Kathryn Elsbeth Erbe|
|Where you were born/where you were raised:||
Born in Boston, MA. Grew up in Newton, MA. |
|What your parents did/do for a living:||Dad: Research Geneticist|
Mom: Actuary and Landscape Preservationist
|Special skills:||Making the best of "challenging situations"|
|Something you're REALLY bad at:||Promoting myself!|
|First Broadway show you ever saw:||
The Rink with Chita Rivera. Growing up in the Boston area we saw many tours of shows: Annie, A Chorus Line. |
But the first true Broadway show I remember seeing was The Rink on a high school trip to see theatre in New York.
|If you could go back in time and catch any performance, what would it be?||A Streetcar Named Desire with Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy and Kim Hunter|
|Current show—other than your own—that you have been recommending to friends:||War Horse|
|Favorite showtune(s) of all time:||"And I Am Telling You” from Dreamgirls|
|Some favorite modern musicals:||The Book of Mormon, A Chorus Line|
|Some favorite contemporary playwrights:||Sam Shepard, Daniel Talbott, Moira Buffini, Theresa Rebeck|
|Stage or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:||
There are so many, but the one who just came to mind is Lynn Redgrave. I would love to have a chance to work with her again on stage or on any screen. |
She was one of my heroes, as an artist but especially as a person and a MOM.
|The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:||Balm in Gilead, Steppenwolf at Circle Repertory (1984)|
|Music that makes you cry, any genre:||At the moment, Patti Griffin's "Flaming Red" and "Living With Ghosts." I am using both albums to prepare for Yosemite before every performance.|
|Your personal acting idols:||Jessica Lange, Laurie Metcalf, Sissy Spacek|
|MAC or PC?||MAC!!!!|
|Most played song on your iPod:||At the moment, "N**gas In Paris" by Jay-Z and Kanye West. It makes me feel ballsy and like I could run another 5 miles...|
barneys.com (I am a late night shopping addict)|
cartoonnetwork.com (my son plays the games)
|Last book you read:||“The Corrections” (after reading "Freedom" and loving it)|
|Must-see TV show(s):||
"American Horror Story"|
"Friday Night Lights"
|Last good movie you saw:||"Tree of Life"|
|Some films you consider classics:||
"To Kill a Mockingbird"|
"On the Waterfront"
"Tree of Life"
|Performer you would drop everything to go see:||Jessica Lange|
|Pop culture guilty pleasure:||The Sunday Styles section of The New York Times|
|Favorite cities:||NYC, Paris, London|
|First CD/Tape/LP you owned:||Honestly, probably a Sesame Street album or Mister Rogers, but I wore out my copy of the Annie soundtrack.|
|First stage kiss:||Playing Stella and kissing Stanley at Steppenwolf|
|Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:||In kindergarten, playing the Little Red Hen|
|How you got your Equity card:||The first play I was ever paid to do was The Grapes Of Wrath, with Steppenwolf, on Broadway.|
|Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where)||French Fries at Cafe Un Deux Trois|
|Favorite liquid refreshment:||Water|
|Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:||Yoga, reading the script, listening to music|
|Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:||
In The Grapes of Wrath I played "the woman who gets shot in Hooverville," and one night the gun didn't go off. |
Thankfully, I chose to stay "in the moment" and not pretend I got shot anyway. I actually considered pretending the gun went off! SO embarrassing !!!!!
|Worst costume ever:||Curlers in Breathing Lessons|
|What drew you back to the stage and this role?||
Yosemite blew me away after reading it for the first time. I knew in my gut I wanted to be a part of it. I fell in love with the characters and their story. |
I was terrified of the emotional journey but knew I needed to do it anyway, or actually because it was so scary. I crave acting onstage and have missed it terribly.
|A few of your favorite screen roles:||Maggie in "Stirs Of Echoes," Lucille in "Rich In Love," Liz in "Dream with the Fishes"|
|Something about you that surprises people:||That I was a high school drop-out at 16 who ended up going to an alternative HS, graduating and going on to NYU.|
|Career you would want if not a performer:||Teacher|
|Three things you can't live without:||My kids (that's two) and books|
|"I'll never understand why…"||... life isn't FAIR!|
|Words of advice for aspiring performers:||Do everything you can to feel good about yourself and don't let rejection discourage you!|