As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to some of our favorite artists to see how they are coping with the self-isolation on a daily basis, both physically and creatively.
The series continues with Ann Harada, who was most recently seen Off-Broadway in Keith Harrison and Laura Schein's new musical comedy Emojiland. Best known for creating the role of Christmas Eve in the Tony-winning Best Musical Avenue Q, Harada has also been seen on Broadway in Les Misérables, 9 to 5, and Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella. In addition to her comedic gifts, the actor also possesses a rangy, powerful belt.
What is your typical day like now?
Well, a couple of weeks ago my husband had fever and coughing, so I moved to the window seat in my living room and gave him the bedroom. And, a good thing, too, as now I have an intermittent slight fever. And, my kid has a slight fever. So when I wake up, I take everyone’s temperature (everyone who is up, anyway). Then I check my phone for messages from pals who are ill. Do I have to do a pharmacy/grocery delivery to them? Then I check social media for updates on people who are hospitalized (like Nick Cordero). Breakfast, which is leftovers from dinner. Read the New York Times. Is Governor Cuomo on yet? Is there a Stars in the House I’m particularly interested in? Do I have to mask up and buy bread and milk? Have I bugged my kid to do his Google Classroom work? Is he actually doing anything? No idea. Eat something that requires no effort for lunch (peanut butter on crackers, cinnamon toast, clementines, that sort of thing). Discuss what we might excavate from the freezer for dinner, which is challenging, especially when you’re not much of a cook. (See lunch.) Change out of pajamas! Participate in Zoom meetings. Sometimes they are friend group chats, sometimes more formal get togethers with theatre students. Be embarrassed about how terrible my hair looks on Zoom. And in person. Watch friends’ videos, catch up on some Amazon Prime, do a little reading. Or just nap. Deal with dinner. The cooking, eating, and cleanup really kills a ton of time. Is it time to go to sleep yet? Take shower. Highlight of the day. Put on pajamas again. Temperature check. Sleep. Repeat for the foreseeable future.
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
OK, I have very specific tastes in escapist entertainment. I like period drama, I like it even more if British people are involved, and I favor stuff set during either Victorian England or WWII. One of my favorite romcoms is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on Netflix. Action/romance: Restless, starring Hayley Atwell, Rufus Sewell, and Michelle Dockery on Amazon. I enjoyed the recent Sandition on Masterpiece Theatre. I’m watching the new Julian Fellowes show, Belgravia, on Epix. My all-time favorite show is Penny Dreadful on Showtime but, trigger warning, the last season does involve the End of Days, so if you think that’s a little too relevant, I get it. But Patti LuPone is so good in it. And dreamy Reeve Carney. There’s going to be a new Penny Dreadful set in L.A. starring Nathan Lane, so I’m really looking forward to that.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation?
Call or FaceTime or write or email someone you love and trust. They will be so happy to hear from you. I loathe FaceTime normally, but yesterday a pal reached out and it was so great to see his face. We are all together in this terrible boat; let’s embrace joy as much as we can.
How are you keeping your creative juices flowing?
Um, trying to help my friends who are putting together videos. I’ve participated in “Avenue Quarantine” that Gwen Hollander Schrader is producing from L.A. and “Life After Lockdown” by the London cast of Avenue Q. It’s about all I can do, with the help of my husband, to self tape and record voice memos, and I have very little desire to perform right now, but there are some things planned that I’m not able to discuss yet.
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
No. I’m eating a lot of ice cream.