Kate Shindle is yet another performer with a powerful voice (and not just in vocal quality)! She was crowned Miss America in 1998 and spent a year traveling the country talking about HIV prevention, AIDS issues, and safer sex. After that year, Kate moved to New York City where she exploded onto the theatre scene starring in such Broadway shows as "Legally Blonde," "Cabaret," and "Jekyll and Hyde" as well as dazzling audiences in concerts from Carnegie Hall to Birdland. Kate has also taken her talents to those outside of New York in regional productions of "After The Fall," "Restoration," "Himself and Nora," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "First Lady Suite," "The Last 5 Years," "Gypsy," "Into The Woods," and "The Mousetrap."
Her film and television credits include "Gossip Girl," "White Collar," "Capote," and "The Stepford Wives." In addition to her on stage and screen performances, Kate is an accomplished writer with articles published in "Newsweek," "Salon.com," and "The Advocate." She has three books in the works as well.
Kate just finished up a run in the too short-lived Broadway musical "Wonderland," where she played "The Mad Hatter." While one gig ended, Kate has already found her next one...Kate will be performing in "Broadway Sings Tori: A Benefit for Rainn" concert on Monday, June 27 at 8pm at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street, between 8th & 9th Ave), along with Max Von Essen, Katie Thompson, Christine Andreas, Celina Carvajal, Steven Cutts, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Natalie Joy Johnson, and Molly Pope. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline and publicizes the hotlines' free, confidential services; educates the public about sexual violence; and leads national efforts to prevent sexual violence, improve services to victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. Tickets range from $35 to $125; tickets priced $75 and above include a post-show reception featuring a two-hour open bar. To purchase tickets visit Telecharge.com or call (212) 239-6200.
For much more on Kate be sure to visit http://www.kateshindle.com!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I got the bug when I was twelve. Then I went to a really small Catholic high school, and we had basically nothing in terms of production budget. Everyone--teachers, parents, students--pitched in to put on the show every year. It showed me what you can do with nothing but the desire to be creative, and as a grown-up, it translates into writing, developing ideas, etc. Acting can be very passive if you let it be, but then you aren't exercising your creative muscles until or unless someone gives you the opportunity--which, in my opinion, is a mistake.
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Is there any theater artist who doesn't want to work with Stephen Sondheim? I love words. Singing is like breathing for me--it just happens. Interpreting a lyric is where I put most of my focus. I'd done "Into the Woods" three times by the time I graduated from college, and I wrote a couple of letters to Mr. Sondheim asking questions. I was floored when he wrote back, more than once. It still amazes me that someone like him would reply to a random college student like me, when obviously his plate is pretty full. I have a few friends who have those letters, too. All in their little frames. Awesome.
3. What attracted you to "Wonderland"? A few things. First, the idea that we all have to come face-to-face with our own cynicism, self-doubt, and insecurity, and decide how much power we want to give those forces over how we live our lives. I've always believed that the ability to look at the world with wonder is an essential part of being a functioning human being. Second, the chance to play someone who was really weird. I didn't want her to be a type. The dark side of anyone (which is essentially what the Hatter is) can be sexy, sure, but also ugly and bizarre and off-putting. I fought--and ultimately lost--some battles about how quirky she was in look, sound, physicality. And third, because the idea of playing that iconic character scared the hell out of me...which I tend to take as a sign that it's something I should do.
4. What's the best advice you've ever received? Trust your instincts. Especially when it comes to this business. At the very beginning of my career, I was trying to decide whether to take a job I thought could be life-changing, and the director told me I should listen to what every single person I trusted had to say, and then go off and figure out what my gut was telling me to do. Thanks, Mark Hoebee. It's pretty fail-safe.
5. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? New pages. Ah, the possibility. And tech, because you get to run things over and over, try them a bunch of different ways, and no one's micromanaging your choices.
6. Favorite place to practice/rehearse on your own? My bathroom mirror, right after I do my daily affirmation. Kidding. The rehearsal room is probably at the top of the list, but really, I'll work anywhere. The subway, walking down the street, rollerblading in Central Park. Whenever the mood strikes. I look like a crazy person. I am actually sure of it, because friends will tell me later that they saw me in singer mode. You know, figuring out phrasing or breathing or running lyrics or whatever.
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Anything that's a challenge. I did marathons for a minute there...century rides...I want to do a triathlon but I can't quite convince myself to swim in the Hudson. Joined a boxing gym when I was in La Jolla doing a play--I loved it so much I wanted to open one here, but my day job keeps me pretty busy. And there's this place called Physique 57 that became like a crack addiction a couple years ago, but it's so expensive that I haven't done it in a while. It's a toss-up between that and the boxing gym for the craziest workout of my life.
8. Favorite skin care product? I'm terrible at this question. Coast? In college, I was always the one who'd wash her face with the Palmolive someone left in the dorm bathroom. The best thing I do for my skin is to stay out of the sun and put lotion on my face--but even then, I'm always just going through the free lotions that I get in gift bags and stuff. I don't have a brand or anything.
9. Favorite website? Andrew Sullivan.
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman. I used to call her "woman-a-woman" when I was little. I geeked out when I auditioned for the pilot this season. I know it didn't get picked up and there was a lot of criticism of it in the industry--but seriously, that scene with the marketing meeting about the Wonder Woman merchandise was hysterical. Love.
11. What did winning Miss America do for you both personally and professionally? I always say that I found my identity through service. At that time, Miss America was completely driven by activism; 90% of what I did was about HIV/AIDS education and prevention--everywhere from high school gymnasiums to the World AIDS Conference and the National Press Club. Professionally, it has gotten me in some doors, but it really hasn't explicitly gotten me jobs. And I am absolutely certain it's cost me some jobs. It's a slippery slope; if you trade on it, you have to be prepared for the assumptions people make about you because of the stereotypes about the pageant. In the end, I'm happy that I did it, but it doesn't have a lot to do with my theater career.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I don't know if there's one person I want to dream about...pretty much everyone I want around me is in my waking life. But I do love those dreams where I can fly. Those kick ass.