Tony Winner Kathleen Marshall Gets Her Act Together for City Center

By Carey Purcell
16 Jul 2013

Jeanine Tesori
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
"That's obviously an issue that's still around, in terms of actresses being sensitive about their age and letting people know their age, and knowing as they get older, there are fewer opportunities," Marshall said. "We were aware of that as we were casting the show, too. It's always a sensitive thing for an actress when they first play a mother or all of a sudden, the romantic [roles] are younger than them."

As a result, Marshall said, many women alter their appearances and contribute to a false illusion of what age looks like. The result, she said, is "we're not allowing 50 and 60-year-old women to look like 50 and 60-year-old women."

Heather's attitude towards her age is a courageous one, Marshall said, because she is determined to dictate the content of her act rather than perform what is expected of someone her age.

"For Heather, being an actor and a performer, it's a bold thing to say, 'I'm not going to do what the market dictates,'" Marshall said.

I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road is not Marshall's first foray into rock and roll. She also directed and choreographed Hair at City Center in 2001 and Two Gentlemen of Verona for Shakespeare in the Park in 2005. Her two most recent musicals, Anything Goes and Nice Work If You Can Get It, however, featured large ensemble dance numbers. Marshall said she is enjoying the opportunity to focus on the personalities and relationships within a smaller ensemble.

Directing at Encores! marks a homecoming for Marshall, who was the program's artistic director from 1996-2000.

"City Center — that's one of my theatrical homes,” she said. "There's a great crew there, a great staff, and they're also bringing in new people. It's all those wonderful familiar people, and [Jeanine] Tesori is bringing this new energy and new approach, and bringing in new designers who haven't worked at City Center before."

Some new work Marshall has in her future includes the musical adaptation of the film "Diner," featuring music by Sheryl Crow, as well as the musical adaptation of the real-life Cinderella film "Ever After," which she workshopped recently. Cinderella is a family affair for Marshall, as her brother Rob is currently directing the film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods.

While Marshall has the two new musicals ahead of her, she is enjoying the blast from the past that I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road provides.

"The music is so beautiful and emotional and the lyrics are so truthful," she said. "I think it really is powerful in its own right, and not just as a sort of look back at a specific time and place in history."