Five Burning Questions with A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder Star Catherine Walker
October 30th, 2014
by Josh Ferri
After understudying leading roles in Broadway’s Mary Poppins and Ragtime, Catherine Walker steps into the spotlight in her first starring role on the Great White Way: Phoebe D'Ysquith, the romantic aristocrat with an angelic voice, in the Tony-winning Best Musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. BroadwayBox chatted with lovely Ms. Walker about backstage dance parties, boozing with Lady Salome and the magic of Into the Woods.
1. “I’ve Decided to Marry You” is so forward for Phoebe at that time, what’s the most forward thing you’ve done to get a date?
When I met my husband [Jacques Mitchell], I didn't make the first move—a friend introduced us after a show he was in with my friend. But once he made the first move, I was like, 'Oh my god.' He always jokes with me because he was really sweet and sent me a text, 'It was really great to meet you. Thanks so much for coming to support our show. We should get together for coffee or something.' And I literally wrote back to him my entire schedule for the week. I thought, we are going to make this happen; here's my schedule. And he was like whoa and replied, 'We could just play it by ear.' Then I was like, 'Oh yeah. Totally. Of course, just play it by ear. Great idea.' I wasn't going to let that opportunity slip away because I knew something was there.
2. What’s the biggest guilty pleasure TV show on your DVR?
Oh, there's a lot. At the top of my list, probably Scandal or Revenge.
3. What album did you absolutely play out growing up?
Into the Woods. Obsessed still. It's just the best. I'm a sucker for fairytales anyway—I will often sit backstage with Tangled just on a loop on my Kindle—so then you add that and Sondheim music...does it get any better?
4. What’s something we’d be surprised to learn about backstage life at Gentleman’s Guide?
There are so many inside jokes and rituals that we have. One really great backstage moment is at the end of act one, before all the ensemble comes onstage, we always have a dance party on stage left. The crew guys are over there and they will get into it, and you have the PSM bopping around in his seat, and it only lasts maybe a minute. It will have different themes every day too, and someone will pick a theme and we'll all go with it. It's my favorite; it's a good stress releaser.
5. Which of the eight D’syquiths would you’d like to sit down and have a full happy hour moment with in real life?
I would say Lady Salome 'cause she's so flamboyant and fabulous. I think it would be so great to hit the town with her; she would just be living and giving it to you. I feel like she would fit in really well at Lillie's, and she would sweep in with her feathers and you'd get a table in the back where she'd tell you all her old theatre stories.
Catherine Walker stars in ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’ at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre.