Pippin Star Annie Potts Holds Nothing Back In These Five Burning Questions
June 30th, 2014
by Josh Ferri
Oh, it’s time to start living for Annie Potts. The Emmy-nominated star of TV’s Designing Women and GCB, as well as the films Ghostbusters, Pretty in Pink and Toy Story, brings Broadway audiences to their feet with her show-stopping performance as Berthe, the feisty, high-flying grandma, in the Tony-winning musical Pippin. We caught up with the wonderful Ms. Potts to talk Pippin, the movie role that almost was, her next big play and what current political headline makes her want to go full Julia “Terminator” Sugarbaker.
1. When you first saw Pippin and watched “No Time At All” from the audience of the Music Box, what thoughts were racing through your head?
My husband tells a funny story about that because he was sitting next to me, and I think my blood pressure went up so much he thought I might expire. I thought, ‘Oh the trapeze, maybe I could do that.’ And then it began and I said, ‘Holy smokes!’ So it was a bit of a heart-stopper but it’s such an effective theatrical device who could resist?
2. This cast looks like a good time (a mix of Broadway legends, newcomers and circus performers), what memory of this gang are you going to treasure most?
It’s hard because my longstanding trapeze partner just left. I’m going to cry if I start to talk about this because it’s such an intimate relationship—that kind of partnering—especially 30 feet in the air. Your life is in someone else’s hands. [Audibly emotional.] I will treasure that. When you do an act that’s a two-hander like that you become so attached. There’s nothing like it. All the dancers and acrobats are so splendid—they are all heart, and I’ll remember that.
3. Is there a role that got away that we’d say now, ‘OMG, that was almost Annie Potts?!’
Hm. The only thing I can think of is that they were interested in me for a role in Beetlejuice. I had just come off Ghostbusters and they wanted me for the role Catherine O’Hara ended up playing, and I turned my nose up at it because I wanted to play the ingénue. But things always work out just as they are supposed to because I believe Catharine met her husband on that film, so fate is as it is. But that’s the only I look back and thought, ‘I probably should have gone in on that audition.’ [Laughs.] But at the time I thought I was making a sound choice.
4. Designing Women was my everything growing up. I love Julia’s big terminator rants, and even Mary Jo started having some big ones later in the run. So I want to know: what would you want to do a terminator rant about now?
Oh boy. Well I would say probably political things, like all the Republicans in the House voting against equal pay for women. That makes me insane. I don't know how they could hold that idea and still hold their office. Why anyone except old, white men would think that’s a good idea. Don’t even get me started on that or I will go full Julia Sugarbaker.
5. Is there a theatre role you’ve been eyeing? What’s next for Annie Potts?
So many. I feel I’m at an age now where there’s a lot of Tennessee Williams that I’m ripe for. I’m about to do Steel Magnolias. My longtime friend Judith Ivey is directing that. We’re doing it in Atlanta [Alliance Theatre October 22-November 9], and we have our eye to bring it into New York. M’Lynn is a role I’ve really wanted to play.
Don’t miss the high-flying Annie Potts in the Tony-winning musical ‘Pippin,’ thrilling Broadway audiences at the Music Box Theatre.