Tony nominee Kerry Butler is once again dazzling Broadway as she stars alongside James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen, and Eric McCormack in Gore Vidal's "The Best Man," about the race to the presidency, as two front-runners vie for their party's nomination in the midst of backstabbing, double-crossing, dirty-dealing and all the games politicians play. Kerry's previous Broadway credits include "Catch Me If You Can" (Drama Desk nomination), "Xanadu" (Tony and Drama League nomination), "Rock of Ages" (Clarence Derwent Award, Drama Desk/Outer Critics Circle nominations), "Little Shop of Horrors" (Outer Critics nomination), "Les Miserables," "Blood Brothers," and "Beauty and the Beast." Kerry has delighted Off-Broadway and regional audiences in "Bat Boy: The Musical," "The Opposite of Sex" (Williamstown), "Miracle Brothers" (Vineyard Theater), "The I Word" (EST), "The Folsom Head" (Currican Theater), "Prodigal" (York Theatre). In 2008, Kerry released her solo album "Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust."
In addition to the stage, Kerry has light television and movie screens in "Blue Bloods," "Rescue Me," "30 Rock," "Cupid," "Lipstick Jungle," "Borough of Kings," "One Life to Live," "Sesame Street," "Hometown," "Another World" and "Twins" (pilot).
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was inspired at age 9, when I saw Annie on Broadway. I knew that was what I wanted to do.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I would LOVE to work with Ron Howard, or Judd Apatow. I love their work so much!
3. What attracted you to Gore Vidal's "The Best Man"? They sent me the script and I was struck by how topical it was. I loved reading it, and couldn't put it down. It was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to do next in my career!
4. What do you identify most with about your character of "Mabel Cantwell"? I loved how full of life Mabel was. She is very optimistic and driven, and I can relate to those characteristics. Although I hope I never go to the lengths Mabel goes to in order to get what she wants. She is not a bad person, just gets blinded by her own ambition.
5. What excites you most about performing with this amazing cast? It's exciting to see everyone's process. I'm always watching how people prepare. It's also been great to get to know everyone, and it just amazes me that in a cast with such big names, everyone is so lovely and down to earth!
6. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? My favorite part is rehearsal, playing and finding the character. I also love previews, when you try things out on an audience.
7. In 2008, you released your debut CD "Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust." What made you want to record your own CD and how did you come up with the idea for this album? What do you get from recording your own music that you don't get from being in a theatrical show? I always wanted to record an album. It is an opportunity to give something as yourself, and not hide behind a character. I am obsessed with anything Disney. I go to Disney World at least 3 times a year, but for me my love for Disney World isn't about the rides. I just love sitting on main street and watching the happy families come in. I love the ideas behind Disney World - Like It's a small world. So That's why I decided to do all disney related songs. I had worked with Alan Menkin on two shows - am a huge fan of his music, and he agreed to let me put a few songs on my CD that were never released. So that was very exciting!
8. In addition to being a performer, you are also a mother. How do you balance working on Broadway and being a mother? Has being a mother changed the roles you want to audition for? Being a working mother is extremely challenging! I constantly feel guilty for leaving my daughter, and then I feel guilty if I take off a show to be there for her. So it definitely is a balancing act. I am getting better at it. I am much more picky about what I take, because I won't want to work unless I really love the project. I turn down a lot more things, which may not make me very popular, but it makes me a better mother and wife.
9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I learn something new with every part I take. I often think I get the roles I get for a reason. I am meant to learn something from that particular character. Feeling what it is like to live in someone else's shoes makes you a compassionate person. With "Mabel," I'm not sure yet what I'm supposed to learn. It could be about not putting your work, or your needs above everything else, which makes you lose sight of what is truly important. But I don't know.
10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Do your best, and be happy with small successes-like a callback.
11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Why can't I dream about anyone? Are there rules?
12. Favorite way to spend your day off? Going to the Bronx Zoo with my family - or Disneyworld!! Either one is good.
13. Favorite way to stay in shape? I love playing dance central!! I think/hope it keeps me in shape, and think /hope it makes me an awesome dancer. I'm not so sure about the second part - we'll have to wait for my next musical to see if I there has been any improvement in that department.
14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Superpower?!! Now we are talking. I would love to be able to fly, or breath under the water, and live under the sea. Maybe I could be some kind of flying mermaid!