Stories & Cast Interviews
ULLA - licious!
I spoke to Karyn McNay who is wowing the audiences as the tantalizing Ulla! She said:
I grew up in Quincy, Illinois. Its a fairly small town on the Mississippi River. My immediate family was simply my parents and one older brother, but nearly all of my extended family lived within a few blocks from our house. No one in my family, to my knowledge, has ever been involved in the arts whatsoever. I was lucky that the community had such an incredible support for the arts and wonderful outlets for kids to experience.
I sort of became an actor unintentionally, really. I have always wanted to be a singer. That's really where my talent lay as a child, and it’s what drew me to performing. I knew early on that I loved musicals, loved the fact that songs could tell a story and convey feeling. I went to college for musical theatre at Illinois Wesleyan University and had some wonderful professors who really inspired me to explore my love of the theatre and acting as well as my love of music.
I have so many musicals that I love, and truthfully, most of my dream roles hold that place because I want so badly to be in the show itself. I’d love to play Eva Peron in Evita. Mother in Ragtime. Then there are the ones I literally will never play, but this about dreams, right? Anita in West Side Story, Effie in Dreamgirls, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha!
Being on the Road itself is always an adventure. My favorite thing about performing The Producers in so many different areas of the country was seeing how every person in every culture reacted to all of the comedy. Everyone would laugh.. a lot. How can you not? Mel Brooks’ humor is incredible. But what they found funny changed drastically from place to place. It was fascinating. Gosh, I wish I had gotten the opportunity to meet Mel Brooks. I’m not through yet, though.... maybe we’ll cross paths eventually.
There are certainly those who just are naturally hilarious, but I don’t think anything is beyond the realm of learning. It just takes time. I feel very lucky to have gotten to work on this show so much, with so many seasoned comedians. It makes it a lot easier to learn by example.
I’m obsessed with arts and crafts. I’m always knitting or sewing, I make my own crystal jewelry. I love to paint and redecorate my apartment. There is always something. I also am a puzzle enthusiast. I do crosswords, sudoku, logic or mathematical puzzles almost every day. My iPod has all sorts of things on it. Beatles, Feist, John Mayer, Tons of musicals, The Format, Running Still, Lots of 50’s/60’s. Jazz standards...... I have to keep my options open!