Friday, May 24, 2013

"Kiss Me, Kate" Cast Spotlight: Ruth Planey

Ruth Planey has been involved at Asheville Community Theatre both onstage and backstage since moving to town in 2003.  She's helped to build or paint almost every Mainstage set over the past decade, but has recently stepped into the spotlight.  Ruth is also out and about performing around the area: from harmonizing on a bluegrass tune at the Fletcher Feed and Seed to singing the National Anthem at an Asheville Tourists baseball game, Ruth loves an opportunity to let her voice ring! Plus, she's pretty darn funny -  

Why did you audition for Kiss Me, Kate?
Two reasons: I love to sing and wanted the chance to wear a pretty medieval costume. Since I’ve been typecast as the old lady or bag woman I’m hoping that as the Wardrobe Lady in Kiss Me, Kate, I’ll get to wear something other than a raggedy, old dress and support hose.

Which shows have you done at ACT? 
Diva*licious in 2010, and back to back shows in 2011: Guys & Dolls and Dashing through the Snow

Three's Company: Ruth with her husband Steve
 and trusty dog, Scout
But you've been involved at ACT for much longer, right?
Yes! My husband and I answered ACT’s ad in the Mountain Xpress when we first moved to Asheville in 2003. We’ve volunteered with the set build crew and formed strong, lasting friendships that I treasure. We love it when the actors come and help build the set. It gives us a chance to get to know them a wee bit and it’s always nice to be able to say HI. Since I’m usually dressed in paint splattered clothes and ugly hair, a lot of people don’t recognize me when I clean up but – they always remember our dog, Scout. If you come join us for set build, she’ll be the furry one laying in a pile of sawdust in the middle of the stage.

Have you met new friends in the cast?
It’s good to see familiar faces, but even better to meet new folks. I love the fact that ACT brings in new blood for each production. It keeps the theater vibrant, alive and exciting. 

Plus, I have to say the female ensemble is amazing.  These women have such strong, beautiful voices and have way more stage experience than I do that I'm in awe of them.  We've jelled as a group, support each other, and get together in the dressing room when we're not needed on stage to run over our parts which has been a great help. 

Which number in the show are you most excited about performing? "Bianca" Why? I’m so used to singing the melody or a third above that finding my note in four part harmony way below the melody line has been a real challenge. Besides we get to lust after Bill, Bianca’s boyfriend. 

Are there people in your life who have never seen you on stage? What do you think will surprise them?
I wish my parents had lived long enough to see me perform. Lesson learned - don’t put things off. My hat is off to the fabulous young people I’ve met at ACT who have the guts and passion to go for it – whatever IT might be. 

At what age did you first know you wanted to act or sing or dance?
I always said I wanted to sing and dance on Broadway so when I was reincarnated I’d come back as Shirley MacLaine. Wellll – at age 60 I finally got to appear – off Broadway in ACT’s Diva*licious fundraiser. Now I might decide to come back as Megan Hilty – that girl can sell a song! - except I’ll keep my dark hair. Unlike my two sisters, I’ve never wanted to be a blonde. 

If you could appear onstage with any classic actor or actress, who would it be and why? 
This isn’t the answer you were looking for, but Cheryl Burke from Dancing with the Stars. The woman is amazing! I’d give anything to make my body move like hers, and she always gets into the character of the music. She becomes the song and is believable. Let’s hope I can do just a smidge of that on stage.

Kiss Me, Kate opens June 7 - and from what we've seen of the choreography, we think Cheryl Burke would be pretty proud of Ruth! Don't miss the show - get your tickets

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