PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Kinky Boots' Ellyn Marie Marsh

By Matthew Blank
November 26, 2013

Ellyn Marie Marsh, who appears in the Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots, fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Marsh has previously appeared on Broadway in Enron and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Full given name: Ellyn Marie Marsh
Where you were born/where you were raised: Born in Berkeley, CA, and raised in Oakland. And yes, I have an L.A. face and an Oakland booty.
Zodiac Sign:Pisces
What your parents did/do for a living: My mom is a landscaper (second career) and my dad does stuff and I have no idea what that stuff is.
Siblings:Brothers John, Joe and Jeremy.
Current audition song/monologue:Bhahaha. Um. "Think" by Aretha Franklin. But I’m unable to sing more than my cut and I've sung "Meadowlark" since college, and that's always a solid go to.
Special skills: I'm really good at multi-tasking.
Something you're REALLY bad at:Cooking, being quiet, not talking.

Oh and if something goes wrong on stage, I'm really bad at going with the flow. Nine times out of ten I laugh. So yeah, hope I'm in your next show for a solid scene partner.

First Broadway show you ever saw: Angels in America. Blew my mind, changed everything about what I thought about life. Seriously.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? Gosh, contemporary, I was pretty bummed I missed Next to Normal and for an old timey musical, the original A Chorus Line. No wait, West Side Story… yeah West Side. Both of those shows still give me chills.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Always Jersey Boys. I don't care, call me an old Long Island lady playing mah jong, love that show, I always have a good time. And I hear Pippin is sensational. Haven't seen it yet, but I've told people it’s amazing.
Favorite showtune of all time: Really not fair question. ONE? Uuuhhh I have to go with the "Quintet" from West Side Story.
Some favorite modern musicals: Hairspray, In the Heights, Miss Saigon and Legally Blonde. I love a catchy show tune.
Some favorite classic musicals: Above mentioned shows (A Chorus Line and West Side Story).
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Liza. Obvi.
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: Liz Callaway. Her voice is effortless, pure, clean. It just soars and she makes it look so easy!
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: The first time I saw Rent. I had never been moved by theater before. It stayed with me for days.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Adele. Duh.
MAC or PC? MAC. What's that other thing?
Most played song on your iPod: Right now? Jake Bugg's album. Obsessed with him.
Most-visited websites: Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, friends’ blogs
Last book you read: The People magazine on my bus into work.
Must-see TV show(s): I don't watch that much TV cause of my schedule BUT if I do watch something I do it marathon style. "Orange is the New Black," "Homeland," "Boardwalk Empire" and "Modern Family."
Last good movie you saw: My husband and I were just laughing, we haven't seen a movie in forever that wasn't a cartoon or on our Netflix queue.
Some films you consider classics: "Wizard of Oz" (it was an exciting day to show my daughter for the first time), "Labyrinth," "Breakfast Club," "Mean Girls"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Beyonce. She puts on a great show!
Pop culture guilty pleasure: The Real Housewives of wherever
Three favorite cities: I’m going to disclaim- besides NYC... Boston, Vienna, Barcelona
Favorite sport/team/player: Yeah what?
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: En Vogue
First stage kiss: Hilarious. I was doing a show at a community theater at age 16? 17? and I was playing Ilona in She Loves Me opposite my 30-something Kodaly. And we had to kiss. I was mortified and 17, never a cute combination.
What are some of your most memorable roles as a kid or teenager and how old were you? I was a pretty stellar Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Ernest.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: I don’t remember a time where that wasn't my answer for "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I think my parents thought it was a phase. A long, long phase.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where) Carnitas salad at Chipotle
Favorite liquid refreshment: Supa Dupa at Juice Generation
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: We have a girls' floor at the theater, so we usually have our doors open chatting about our days. I'm usually the LAST person downstairs, and we have a group "Oi! Oi! Oi! Shoes!" (act 2 it's boots) with all hands in. Tradition since Chicago.
Most challenging role you have ever played: A swing in Priscilla. That show was a beast, lots of numbers and harmonies. Two words a swing fears.
Craziest audition story: Okay. Four days before my wedding, I'm going in for a production of Hair. I tell Rachel Hoffman I'm a little stressed and out of it (last minute wedding details, family starts flying into town-mayhem) and she assures me it will be fine.

The room totally has a sense of humor about it; in fact, the piano player played "Not Getting Married" from Company as my entrance music. It was hilarious.

I get ready to sing my go-to song "Think" which I've sung 876 times and I go, "what you I got it..........” Seriously? I start singing "Respect." I have NEVER sung that song in public, let alone an audition. I died laughing. So did they. I didn't get the part.

What has been the biggest challenge about this project? Just balancing motherhood and a show schedule.
Most fulfilling or fun aspect about the project: Taking it from workshop to Broadway. Though I've been in three original companies, this is the first time I took it from the workshop phase. And that's been amazingly special. And of course working with Broadway's dream team.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: This is hilarious. And it JUST happened. At the top of the show, I take 13 pairs of shoes off a conveyer belt and place them on a shoe rack. Okay. So one day. Said shoe rack? Not there.

But that conveyer belt was flying. So I start grabbing them trying to manage. 13 pairs of shoes... that's TWENTY SIX shoes. Imagine "I Love Lucy" with men's shoes. I was trying to stop them with my body, all the while actually crying with tears of laughter.

But the awesome thing is? I have a rock solid company that I can always turn to in times of need. Oh no wait, they were all pissing themselves laughing. Finally I chuck a handful to Andy Kelso then run stage left and load them off with Rich, our props master. It was not only my funniest moment, it was the world’s. The world’s funniest moment on stage.

Worst job you ever had: I worked for Be Our Guest restaurant group. Anyone who works or has worked there gets it. Oy!
If you could trade roles with anyone in the cast for a week, who would it be? Oh, Billy for sure! What a journey he gets to go on. And the costumes! I'd love to do that. In all honesty I could probably only handle a week.
Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about? I generally post everything on my twitter: @ellynmarsh if you want to have a follow.
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Elle in Legally Blonde - and I'm not delusional, I know I will NEVER play it. It's cool. Don't worry about me. I'm okay. A girl can dream.
Leading man role you'd like a shot at: Usnavi in In the Heights, no question.
Something about you that surprises people: I'm super sensitive. And a homebody.
Something you are incredibly proud of: My family and I found a way to put me through private collage even though we couldn't afford it. I worked several jobs all the time because I wanted it that bad. I loved my time at Emerson and wouldn't trade it for the world. All the hard work paid off!
Career you would want if not a performer: A nurse. I've many a time thought about leaving the Broadway for nursing school.
Three things you can't live without: Excluding my family right? cause.... obviously. My phone. That's it really. My phone. Ask anyone who knows me well.
"I'll never understand why…" … people don't do what I say all the time.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Work. Sleep. Study. Don't put naked pictures of yourself on the internet. EVERYONE will Google you.