PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: The Winslow Boy Star Charlotte Parry
By Matthew Blank
November 5, 2013
Charlotte Parry, who stars as Catherine in Roundabout's Broadway production of The Winslow Boy, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Parry previously appeared on Broadway as Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest, Young Thomas Ledbury in Coram Boy and Debbie in The Real Thing.
Other theatre work includes the Bridge Project's Cherry Orchard and A Winter’s Tale, As You Like It (London/ BAM), Equivocation (MTC), Rainbow Kiss (Play Company), The Master Builder (Irish Rep), Pygmalion (Old Globe) and The Turn of the Screw (Westport).
Full given name:
Charlotte Jane Parry
Where you were born/where you were raised:
Birmingham, England. Grew up in Birmingham, Oxford, Vienna and Massachusetts.
What your parents did/do for a living:
Father advises the government of global warming, and my mother did hardest job on earth: raised a family.
Older sister, Joanna. Lives in London with two little girls and one little boy.
I make a mean truffle. I can wiggle my ears.
Something you're REALLY bad at:
Where to start? Patience. Cooking (because of the patience issue). Finishing my paintings (because of the patience issue).
First Broadway show you ever saw:
Well, being from England I guess I'll do West End: Cats. Loved it. Wanted to be a cat.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be?
August: Osage County. I think I'm the only person in New York who didn't see it.
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations as a young actor?
Lynn Redgrave. She still inspires me.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends:
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
"Somewhere" from West Side Story
Matilda, West Side Story
Some favorite modern plays:
Rainbow Kiss, Bluebird
Some favorite modern playwrights:
Music that makes you cry, any genre:
Anything written by my ex-boyfriend who now makes music in Texas.
The one performance attended - that you will never forget:
Cats. (yes it's not cool but yes it's true)
Your personal acting idols:
Emma Thompson, Edie Falco
MAC or PC?
BBC radio 4/World Service
Most played song on your iPod:
"Stronger" by Mandisa
Last book you read:
Um...Grisham? Last "classy and impressive" book I read was about 6 months ago. No idea what it was, though. Oh - probably anything by Barbara Trapido.
Must-see TV shows:
"Modern Family" and "Nurse Jackie"
Last good movie you saw:
"The Wings of The Dove" on Netflix, as research for the period The Winslow Boy is set in (1912-ish).
Some films you consider classics:
"The Tall Guy." Anyone who hasn't seen it has such a treat in store.
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
"Dance Moms." Sadly no longer screening.
Three favorite cities:
NYC, Madrid, London
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
"All I Ask of You" with Sarah Brightman - 7" single!
First stage kiss:
I went to an all-girl's school and was playing Orlando in As You Like It. So I got a big snog from the girl in the year above me playing Rosalind.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
When I realized I didn't have an academic bone in my body. And that I liked to try cheering up my family by making them laugh.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where)
Green symphony. Though there's only so much tofu a girl can eat. Otherwise Joe Allen's.
Favorite liquid refreshment:
Robinson's orange squash
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
I'm a bit wanky. I do warm up properly, even though in Britain it's terribly uncool. I always have to sing "Danny Boy" at the end.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
Several- one of which was the large foot-long sheet of toilet paper I brought onstage (attached to my foot) at the beginning of Act 2 of Earnest. It floated about the rose bushes for the rest of the play.
Worst costume ever:
As Lavinia I was naked but for Saran wrap in a production of Titus Andronicus after returning from being raped by Chiron and Demetrius. I was wrapped up so tightly with so much fake blood that you couldn't see anything naughty though.
Worst job you ever had:
The Disney store in Oxford. I lasted two weeks.
Craziest audition story:
Probably the one for Winslow Boy! In the annex of a library in Covent Garden Hotel that looked like something out of "Downton Abbey" on a Sunday afternoon.
I left thinking, "If I get that job I'll eat my cat." My friend Will who was in the room as my reader took me to get drunk in Regents Park and told me, "Sweetheart, there's not a hope in hell's chance you booked that."
What drew you to this project?
Working with this cast, this director (Lyndsay Posner), this brilliant play, the Roundabout, the beautiful role.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
It's a little like doing Shakespeare meets Chekhov. The music and clarity of the language are so important, while filling in the complex and unpredictable emotional life of all these wonderfully full characters. So, I guess, how to do it justice?
Oh- and dancing and speaking at the same time.
Most challenging role you have played onstage:
Shazza in Rainbow Kiss at The Play Company was a real challenge, as I just had to let go of all my inhibitions.
Leading lady role you've been dying to play:
Can I have more than one?
Rosalind in As You Like It
Rita in Educating Rita
Most of those strong Shakespearean women
Yelena in Uncle Vanya
Masha in Three Sisters
Almost anything by Mike Leigh After Miss Julie
Oh- and still Juliet
To name a few
Leading man role you wish you could play:
Something about you that surprises people:
I'm actually as much American as I am British- one parent of each.
Career you would want if not a performer:
I'd like to open and work in a little tea shop that made beautiful cakes and chocolates. By the sea.
Three things you can't live without:
Good British tea
Cats (the real thing, not the musical)
"I'll never understand why "
1. people throw rubbish on the ground when there's a bin on every corner.
2. whenever I make plans, God has a better idea.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
Work really hard. Put in your time. Give it time. Have an escape.