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 Judy McLane, who performed over 4,000 shows in the Broadway production of the international hit Mamma Mia!, first as Tanya and later as Donna Sheridan. McLane, who garnered Drama Desk and Drama League nominations for her performance as Vienna in Off-Broadway's Johnny Guitar, has also been seen on Broadway in Kiss of the Spider Woman, Aspects of Love, and Chess, while her national and international tours include Into the Woods, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Big, and Side By Side By Sondheim. The multi-talented artist was most recently seen regionally in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard and Off-Broadway in Mark Saltzman’s Romeo & Bernadette: A Musical Tale of Verona and Brooklyn, which was scheduled to transfer to Theatre 3 at Theatre Row before the current pandemic postponed those plans.
What is your typical day like now?
Each day is different, but there are some things that are fairly consistent. First thing in the morning, I sit with my tea and journal, then I write down five things I’m grateful for and one happy moment memory. I move my body with yoga, pilates, or just dance around my apartment. Several times a week I FaceTime with my niece, Ella, and help her with her ballet and modern dance (that’s been on my grateful list more than once). Then I’m either teaching my voice students, singing, playing piano, practicing the ukulele, working on home projects, FaceTiming friends or family, taking long walks around the Cloisters, or tuning into Governor Cuomo (my new crush that I’ll be wrestling Randy Rainbow over—game on! #cuomosexual).
Every night at 5 PM my building joins together for an out-the-window sing-a-long. At 7 PM I’m on my fire escape gratefully cheering for the essential workers. Afterward, I’m cooking a vegetarian dinner, catching up on shows, Zoom-ing cocktails, or playing virtual Bananagrams with friends. Every Saturday it’s a group Zoom or FaceTime with my entire family.
I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to be more gentle and compassionate with myself as I strive to be to others.
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
And if the pandemic wasn’t stressful enough, I’m finally catching up on Homeland, with the brilliant Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin!
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation?
When it comes to the isolation, I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to be more gentle and compassionate with myself as I strive to be to others. It can be a roller coaster of emotions…honor them. A few things that have helped me—learning something new, reaching out to friends or family, (safely) taking long walks and focusing on nature’s beauty, and listening to inspiration from Abraham Hicks on YouTube.
How are you keeping your creative juices flowing?
Learning new music, learning to play the ukulele, trying new recipes, and teaching my students are some of the ways I’m trying to keep the creative juices flowing.
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
I did a Zoom reading of a wonderful new piece by Michael Heitzman and Ilene Reid called Genius with Douglas Sills, Beth Malone, Kara Lindsay, Kirsten Wyatt, and Eddie Korbich. I continue my involvement as a volunteer with OUR BROADWAY, performers with developmental disabilities from the AHRCNYC program. If fact, we just recorded or first virtual concert, Ten Minutes of Joy, with Broadway guest stars. This week was longtime volunteer, Gavin Creel.