Maggie Roop has been earning admiration and loyal fans for a while now at Barksdale, Theatre IV, and other theatres around town. She contributed mightily to the musical merriment of Honk!, Seussical, Annie and Guys and Dolls, played a conflicted nun in Doubt (see photo below and to the left, with Irene Ziegler), and a recalcitrant organist in First Baptist of Ivy Gap. Now, in Becky's New Car, she's the young heiress who longs for a life more real. The Buzz caught up with Maggie to ask her a few questions about her flourishing career.
Q - Thanks, Maggie, for agreeing to take a test drive in our new interview series on the Barksdale blog. Billy Christopher Maupin, the director of Becky's New Car, made me promise not to ask anything that might give away plot points, so forgive me in advance if any of my questions sound cryptic.
A - No problem. I like cryptic.
Q - Before we all fell in love with you on our three stages, you must have come from somewhere. Where?
A - That wasn't cryptic at all.
Q - I haven't gotten to the cryptic part yet.
A - I grew up in Herndon, VA which is in the D.C. area near Dulles airport. My first show was a production of Oklahoma! with a children's theatre company in Northern Virginia in which I played one of a herd of gingham-clad square dancing children and I loved it. Then in High School I was cast as Essie in You Can't Take It With You and I was completely hooked. That was when I really knew that I needed to be in theatre. I originally went to the Boston Conservatory as a musical theatre major. It was an excellent program but it didn't focus enough on the theatre side of things for me. I liked the productions I saw at VCU prior to attending and my friends who went there had great things to say about the instructors. So I applied and ... that's how I wound up in Richmond.
Q - Were there any professors who influenced you significantly?
A - Joe Sampson was my acting professor for one semester my first year at VCU and he really taught be to be fearless. He pushed us to make strong choices and I learned from him how to compose a character in terms of the intensity of that character's needs within a play and a scene. My junior year I had Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates as an acting instructor for Shakespeare. Her instruction, in conjunction with the work I was doing that year with Janet Rogers in Voice and Speech, helped me make a huge step forward in my actor training.
Q - You married a fellow VCU theatre grad, the talented scenic artist, Adam Dorland (see picture to right). How did you and Adam meet?
A - Actually, Adam and I met in middle school. We both grew up in Herndon and became close friends in high school. At first we went separate ways for college but we both wound up transferring to VCU (ok, it wasn't exactly a coincidence). We've basically been together since I first moved to Richmond and then we got married last year!
Q - Like a lot of actors, you made the move to NYC following graduation. What was that experience like? What brought you back to Richmond?
A - I moved to New York for one year after I graduated from VCU. Adam graduated two years prior and had been in "the city" during all that time, so I wanted to be with him and give New York a whirl. I had some really wonderful experiences that year teaching theatre to kids. I loved that opportunity. But the city itself wasn't right for me. The culture was thrilling and it is a dynamic and wonderful place, but we all know how expensive it is. I missed a more intimate city with a more laid back pace, like RVA. Someplace that made sense financially. My experience living in NYC and RVA has created in me a great passion for the smaller theatre community. I am a strong believer in this town and the ability we have as a cohesive and tightly involved theatre community to keep growing and maturing and making theatre that is at the caliber of the larger cities and beyond. So, Adam and I decided to make the move back. And we're glad we did.
(to be continued)