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  • Natalie Wisdom

Dana Winkle Ogilvie, Professional Actress.

[Interview Date: December 28, 2020]

National Tours: An American in Paris, Pippin, Chicago, 42nd Street and more.

Where were you on March 12, 2020, the day Broadway shut down? And what was the week leading up to it like for you?

For us, it was all about school, as we’re parents. School was still open that week, but we were getting wary about whether we should still be sending our son or not. Over the weekend, we decided we wouldn’t be sending him in that Monday, and on Sunday, the school emailed to let us know they would officially be closed starting that Monday, the 16th.

Did you initially anticipate that Broadway and other theatre productions would be closed for this long?

Not this long! I had a show I was excited about that was supposed to start in June, I think. I very quickly realized that probably wasn’t going to happen, but I definitely had no concept in the beginning of how serious and long-term this shutdown of our industry would be.

How has the shut-down affected your family? How have your priorities changed, if at all, as a result of the pandemic?

Well, we’ve been remote schooling since March! That is major. Instead of doing shows or going to auditions, I’m helping my son with school all day. Instead of dancing, I sit with him while he’s doing his work. I am a very active person, and it’s been very difficult for me to, all of a sudden, have a more sedentary lifestyle.

The first 3 months of the pandemic, we barely left our apartment! I would do ballet class in my bedroom, but it’s been 9 months now, of not being able to go to dance class or aerial class, or work-out in a gym. During the summer, we could at least be outside a lot and hike and things like that, but since school started in September, we’ve been a lot less active. We were very lucky, to be able to leave the city in June and spend time close to family, but it’s still not the life we were leading before. Priorities are family, which they always are, but it’s more extreme. Of course, my son is always the center of my world, but now, there is no focus or consideration of me and my career at all because it doesn’t exist anymore.

What have you been doing over the past several months or so to stay sane? What has helped you the most?

Not much! Ha! But about a month or so ago, a friend brought me to a “bring a buddy” class for her gym, which has gone online with its classes, and now I’m doing that regularly, and it’s been the greatest thing for my sanity. I feel like I am, in a small way, reclaiming some part of my pre-pandemic self.

What has been the hardest thing about the past months since the shutdown for you?

Missing my art. I miss singing. I miss dancing. I miss doing shows and going to aerial classes and creating and feeling like an artist. Also, I wish that my son could be in school. I hate that he is missing out on a normal school experience this year.

What positives, if any, do you think have come out of this time of quarantine for you?

Well… we bought a vacation home! A tiny, old, in need of much renovation. Cabin on a lake. We bought it to have a place to escape to while this virus runs its course, but it’s going to be a lovely place to go even beyond that.

What do you miss the most about live theatre?

Connection to other people. Stepping into a character’s shoes and telling their story.

What’s your favorite theatre memory?

Hmmm… That’s a hard one, but one of my favorites was definitely getting to go on as Mabel in Mack and Mabel at the Goodspeed Opera House opposite Tony winners Scott Waara and Donna McKechnie (Donna McKechnie!!!). A thrilling blur of a night for a young understudy! My parents hopped in their car, and my boyfriend (now husband) hopped on the train, and they all made it to Connecticut in time for the show. A perfect night!

What is the thing you’re most excited to do when live theatre is back?

Two things—1) Sing and dance on a stage. 2) See a show! First on my list is Ain’t Too Proud, because that cast has been appearing on all the holiday specials, and they look amazing!

What advice do you have for young Broadway hopefuls during this time?

You have so much time. Theatre will come back. Broadway will come back. Find a way to stay sane, and trust that theatre always comes back.

Lightning Round:

Favorite Broadway Musical: Cabaret (also A Chorus Line, Les Misérables, Once, and Hamilton)

Favorite Broadway Play: The Ferryman was absolutely stunning.

Favorite role you’ve played: Cassie in A Chorus Line

Dream role: Sally Bowles in Cabaret

Favorite Movie Musical: Chicago

Movie that you think should be a musical: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Rehearsal bag staple: Foam roller (can’t live without it!)

Favorite Dressing Room Item: Pictures of my family

Favorite Dance Step: The hand flick in the An American in Paris ballet—iconic.

Favorite Broadway Choreographer: My love of Fosse definitely shaped me as a young dancer. My favorite current Broadway choreographers are Joann M. Hunter, Josh Rhodes, Denis Jones, and Christopher Wheeldon. All wonderful storytellers, with a deep humanity to their work.

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