An Interview With
Once upon an Indian summer, the Alliance Theatre revived a musical legend. In the starring role was one of the theatre's most talented young actresses, giving a performance that Atlanta will undoubtedly remember for years to come. However, no sooner had we embraced this rising star than she was summoned back to the bustle of Broadway, preparing to play in one of this season's most anticipated new musicals. Before packing up and heading to NYC, I was able to share a few moments with Talkin' Broadway vet Kim Huber.
HS: Welcome back to Talkin' Broadway!
KH: Oh, thank you so much!
HS: I'm glad that you decided to say 'hi' to us on All That Chat, too. Everyone was very glad to hear from you.
KH: I know! I'll have to do it more often. I've been so busy with the cast here. We've been having so much fun. We've been out every night watching movies and hanging out, so I'm not sitting in front of my computer as much as I usually am.
HS: Well, it's great that you're making so many new friends.
KH: It's a great, fun cast.
HS: I saw Chess recently [Read Harper's review of Chess], and, without gushing, let me just say that your performance was awesome.
KH: Thank you so much. It's such a privilege; I've always wanted to do this show and sing this score. I remember hearing somewhere that the Alliance was doing it, maybe even reading it on All That Chat, that they were doing Chess, and I said to myself "I wonder who's going to do that ...? I want to do that!". I really can't believe that I'm here doing it. Nobody does it anymore, and they really should. It's such a great score and a great show.
HS: I think David Bell did a bang-up job with this production as well.
KH: I do too. He's the reason this one is so successful. Generally when people do the show regionally now, it's his script that everyone uses. It's great.
HS: I have often been told that the dialogue has had a hard time measuring up to the great score, but his version seemed to connect so well.
KH: He really streamlined it and kept it focused on the human story, the love story. That is what people want to know about. They want to follow the characters, fall in love with them, cry with them, and not worry about espionage too much!
It's interesting, too, we've gotten into playing chess backstage. We all kind of learned it in high school but never really played it. It really is an interesting metaphor for the show, how one move can change everything. I love what David has put at the end of the show, which wasn't originally there on Broadway or in London. In the original Broadway production, I think, Florence doesn't get her father in the end. In that, the moral of the story is, basically, "everybody's up for themselves and people suck." (laughing) And he doesn't believe in that philosophy. He didn't want to direct a show that he didn't believe in. So, he wrote the line at the end where Antatoly said that he believes that the players are more important than the game they play. That's what he tried to get across, and that's what is so ultimately moving about the story.
HS: That really does add a needed ray of hope at the end. It was a great touch on his part.
I have to ask you about the song, "I Know Him So Well." You and Rebecca Baty ... that was something else! I have heard the Elaine Paige/Barbara Dickson version, which is wonderful, too, but you guys nearly blew the thing out of the theatre.
KH: Rebecca is wonderful. It's so funny to me, because that is the song we all used to sing back in high school. To get to perform it is pretty fun. I remember that, when I was in high school, there were these two girls, and one of them had taken the other's boyfriend. But, they were still friends and everything turned out OK and everyone still seemed happy. And then, they ended up singing "I Know Him So Well" at this one big benefit!
HS: Talk about life imitating art!
KH: I know! But, it's really sad, because I'm leaving next week [Kim left Chess on September 16].
HS: Yes. I read that you had been cast in Marie Christine, which is wonderful.
KH: I know, but I'm so sad about leaving here! It was really a tough decision, but David Bell was wonderful about it. He told me that I just had to go do this. But, my dear friend Lauren Kennedy is taking over for me. She has played Florence before, and she will be fantastic. She's a real star. It'll be fun for us to hang out for three days, too.
HS: Let's talk a little about Floyd Collins.
KH: Oh, gosh ...Floyd Collins…I can't imagine anything touching that experience. It was really incredible. I really can't explain it . . .I loved doing Beauty and the Beast and did it for a really long time. I'm so thankful for the experience, and I loved playing Belle. But, it was different. It's not so much Disney as it is big business and the corporate mentality. There, I lost a lot of why I love the theatre, and I lost a lot of …self-esteem, I guess. I had a great time doing the show on Broadway for the summer, and I was glad to be there. But it was frustrating. I remember when I left the show, I said to myself, "What do you want to do next?". What I wanted to do was go do some great regional theatre and do some really great work, where I work my butt off with a great director and great people. And that's exactly what I got to do.
HS: You know, there has been a lot of talk about Broadway for Floyd. Would you be interested in being in the show again?
KH: I would drop anything! It is the best and also the most challenging part that I've ever done. Tina Landau is an absolutely amazing director. However, I don't really see it happening at this point. Tina is busy with other projects ... and we still have people interested in it, but the time just isn't right. I would love to be in the show on Broadway, and, hopefully, some day it will make it.
Chess plays at the Alliance Theatre through September 26, starring Lauren Kennedy, Brian d'Arcy James, and Sean McDermott. Contact the Alliance Theatre website for more info.
Marie Christine begins previews October 28 at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Center, 150 West 65th Street. Contact Telecharge at (800) 432-7250 for tickets, or visit the Lincoln Center website.