The ever-working Carolyn Hennessy has finally found the time to mount the LA boards again. Carolyn is taking on the lead role of Mehitabel in Dan Gilvezan’s The Secret World of Archie and Mehitabel, which premieres September 10, 2022 at the Whitefire Theatre. Musi Dryer directing the cast Bill Chott, Richard Horwitz, Kelly Stable, playwright himself and Caroline.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Caroline!
The last time I saw your incredible acting skills on stage was in September 2017 on the Garry Marshall stage when you played Maria Callas in Terrence McNally’s Callas. What took you so long to rewire the LA theater boards? Too many TV and movie commitments? Were there any theatrical works that interested you?
To tell you the truth, I’ve been too busy working in television and film over the past few years to even consider doing another production. This, of course, is to some extent luck for me, but there is nothing better than honing your skills in front of a live audience.
What drew you to this production?
Musi Dryer’s direction was a huge draw; I have worked with Moosie before and it was a creative explosion. Dan Gilvezan’s performance and the fact that Dan was the lead was also too tempting to resist; Dan has always been one of the funniest yet deepest people I have ever known. The role of Mehitabel is a real feast for any actress and I am so grateful that they thought of me. And I just love White Fire.
Have you worked with any of the actors or creatives behind The Secret World of Archy & Mehitabel before?
Only Musi Dryer.
Were you familiar with the works of Don Marquis dating back to 1916 before this project?
I haven’t been, but you better believe that I will now.
You are the author of The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli with General Hospital characters, as well as a series of children’s books based on your character Pandora. Can you find similarities/comparisons between your books and Don Marquis columns? Topics? Target audiences?
Not really. Perhaps only that, like most good works, they say a lot about the universal qualities of human existence.
If you were to submit Mechitabel to an adoption site, what qualities would you list?
Gorgeous if a little worn, will be supremely loyal if you feed her regularly, enjoys a good potted grouse and a jeweled collar, ignores aloof nature and scratches behind her ears regularly for best results and… most importantly.. . .. keep Tom at a distance if you ever want to see her again.
What feline flaws would you miss?
What are the disadvantages?
In an alternate universe, under what circumstances and in what place would some of the characters you inhabited (Mehitabel from Archy & Mehitabel, Diane Miller from General Hospital, and Maria Callas) come together? Rock concert? Sale in Barney? Happy hour at a popular dive center? Pet Shop?
Diana was called to represent Mary in a lawsuit where she threw a prop (but heavy) inkpot at (and hit) the head of a tenor who constantly sang out of tune in the Tosca production, and Mechitabel was subpoenaed. as an expert witness to demonstrate how terrible his singing really was.
I met you at various charity events. 2016, and (you were named a celebrity ambassador for the American Humane Association). Which charitable organization are you most passionate about?
One, no. American Humane and my Los Angeles Zoo are the companies on this continent that I pay the most attention to. Leka Chailert Elephant Nature Park in Thailand is my heart abroad.
Based on your years of disciplinary experience at the General Hospital, studying the pages of dialogue, what advice would you give to a beginner in acting on memorizing a script?
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t remember something quickly to begin with; no one can do without photographic memory. This is a muscle that takes a very long time to strengthen. And even veterinarians sometimes have problems. Take it easy with yourself.
Many years ago I saw you practicing trapeze at the Tippi Hedren reserve in Shambhala. Do you still put on a swimsuit from time to time and fly through the air?
I never stopped!
Did your aunt Barbara Rush ever give you acting or career advice?
Her advice was meager and not consulted, as it was never the best or appropriate for my generation.
What’s next for Caroline Hennessy?
Two features: Wineville and Echo Base. More GH. A little travel and a lot of trapeze!
Thanks again Caroline! I can’t wait for you to work your magic on stage again.
For live performance tickets The Secret World of Archy & Mehitabel until October 15, 2022, click on the button below: