Ann Harada has appeared on Broadway and London’s West End, among her numerous film and TV credits, including Theresa Rebeck’s musical-drama series, Smash. Harada is also the co-creator and writer of Christmas Eve with Christmas Eve – an annual cabaret supporting Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids. Ivan Steel Presents caught up with the funny Harada during a break in rehearsals of Jerry Herman’s limited engagement musical, Dear World to talk about her newfound love of 19th-century London and revealing which sycophantic cartoon character she was nicknamed by Smash co-star, Jack Davenport.
Growing up in Hawaii, it was a big deal when large scale productions like Miss Saigon and Cats played at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall. That’s my earliest memories of the theatre. At what age did you first discover your love for the arts?
When I was in 3rd grade I remember watching the 6th graders do a play and being completely amazed at how good it was. My parents were very good about taking me to a variety of events at the Blaisdell (then known as Honolulu International Center or HIC) and I remember seeing a tour of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and The Sound of Music when I was small. My love for the theatre really kicked in in high school when I auditioned for The Importance of Being Earnest and got cast as Merriman, one of the butlers. From then on I was just in every play or musical.
Your career spans over two decades now. You’ve starred in many different productions and played an array of unique characters, some you’ve originated. Which one do you hold dearest to your heart and why?
In the new production of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, there are some political undertones throughout the story. What are your thoughts about it?
Let’s discuss the fan-favorite phenomenon Smash. You played Linda, the stage manager. After appearing in 18 episodes, I would imagine you have some behind the scenes stories to share?
Too funny! And of course you got to work with Angelica Huston. What was she like?
Angelica Huston is exactly as you think she’d be — gorgeous, charming and kind. Sometimes I couldn’t believe I was actually eating lunch with her off of paper plates at a cafeteria table (TV is very glamorous).
Two years after the series ended, the cast reunited for the Bombshell concert. One of the highlights of the evening was getting to hear you perform “I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn’t Love to Howl.” How did the idea come about?
I know that you’re currently in rehearsals. What can you tell us about your new project at the York Theatre Company?
Wow – Break legs on your opening! With your very busy work schedule, what do you do in your free time to regroup and unwind?
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