Heather Cunningham '93 on "Your Program Is Your Ticket"
Artistic Director of Retro Productions Heather Cunningham ‘93 has made her career and life In New York’s comparative and creative theatre world.
She was recently featured in a podcast “Your Program Is Your Ticket,” and in a Q & A with Theatre-in-the-Now she shares her history and ongoing enthusiasm for theatre.
Why theater?: I grew up on theater. I grew up IN theater. My parents were theater people - designers mostly but my Father also directed some (and turned playwright not too long ago!). To me there is nothing like the exchange of energy between an audience and actors… even more so in small venues. I love it.
Tell us about Retro Productions: …We’ve been bringing 20th Century based plays to small venues since 2005 and it’s been quite a ride. Recently someone referred to us as “an interesting dramaturgical experiment” - I thought that was a wonderful description!
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love all theater - I’m a bit of a nerd that way. I love musicals and straight plays and dramas and comedies… but as an actor I absolutely love anytime I get to do a piece where I simply get to “be.”
Any roles you’re dying to play?: Ooooohh, that’s a hard one. Honestly, I always felt attracted to Mama Rose and Matron Mama Morton… I’m almost old enough!
What’s your favorite showtune?: I have to have just one?!?!?! “Come Rain or Come Shine” comes immediately to mind, though what show it’s from is completely forgotten to me now. Certainly “Losing My Mind” from Follies is at the top of that list (and a close Sondheim second would be “Day After Day” - clearly I love to cry) and when I’m feeling a little naughty at the karaoke bar I’ve been known to do “Mein Herr” (but my German pronunciation is terrible!). And while we’re at it - Ricardo Rust and I do a mean “Feed Me” from Little Shop - it’s our favorite “go-to” karaoke show tune! (I play the plant.)
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Anyone?!!? In the entire world!??! STREEP - although that might be intimidating. FRANCES MCDORMAND. Oh GOD, yes.