Interview with Mary Beth Luckenbaugh

Mary Beth Luckenbaugh as Elsa.

Hannah: How did you come to audition at the 1st Stage?
Mary Beth: I belong to the Actor’s Center which is an awesome online group that provides all sorts of services for actors including an audition hotline. I actually auditioned for another show at 1st Stage called Parfumerie which I was not cast in but found on the Actor’s Center hotline. My headshot and resume were on file so I was invited to audition for Flora.

H: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects/scenes of doing this musical?
MB: I loved getting to play so many wildly different roles. I played 6 of the 25 roles. It was really a lot of fun to find a different voice and physicality for each of them. As for my least favorite, probably standing frozen in the picket line mainly because by that point my feet start hurting!

H: Do you feel like there is something your main character Elsa wishes she could say throughout the play that she can’t?
MB: I think it would be easy to fall into the trap of playing Elsa as dumb, insecure, and unable to stand up for herself. I always saw her as a woman who has tremendous interpersonal intelligence. She understands people. It’s not that she lets Flora walk all over her; it’s more that she allows Flora to make her own mistakes and then supports her as she works them out. I actually think that Elsa is one of the characters in the play who is most secure with her own voice.

H: Elsa is an aspiring fashion designer. Do you feel like if she were a real person, she would be any good at the job? What kind of clothes do you feel like she would create?
MB: Oh no! She is TERRIBLE! Watch close and you’ll see Elsa prick her finger on her needle multiple times. Plus she’s the one who made that abysmal brown dress with the velour ruffles that Flora steals for her interview. I think what’s charming about Elsa is that she really has no idea how talentless she is. She just keeps going because she loves it so much.

H: You and the cast have a great dynamic and chemistry. Is it rare that everyone gets along so well? What is it that you feel brings you all together?
MB: I wouldn’t say it’s rare but it definitely doesn’t happen all the time. I think the thing that’s great about this cast is that we’re all so different that we balance each other out.

H: What is your theater history in the DC area? What are some of your favorite moments/plays you have done?
MB: I went to Catholic University for musical theatre. I’m still working on getting my foot in the door but have been blessed to work with Keegan Theatre, Adventure Theatre, and the American Century Theatre along with 1st Stage. My all time favorite role is probably Rona Lisa Peretti in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which I did at CUA my senior year.

H: What projects do you have coming up?
MB: I’m doing Marathon 33 at the American Century Theatre and James Joyce’s The Dead at Quotidian Theatre.


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