Five Burning Questions with Chicago Tony Award-Winning Star Cady Huffman
June 27th, 2018
by Josh Ferri
After beginning her career as a standout dancer in Big Deal, Cady Huffman received for first Tony nomination for her performance as Ziegfeld's Favorite in The Will Rogers Follies in 1991, and won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in 2001 for now iconic performance as Ulla in The Producers. Cady is back on Broadway as Matron "Mama" Morton in another legendary, Tony-winning musical, Chicago.
BroadwayBox caught up with Cady to talk about becoming the Countess of the Clink, advice for ladies playing Ulla, & her new web series Cady Did.
1. What’s been the biggest surprise about stepping into Chicago?
What GREAT shape it's in! It's still fresh and relevant, and the cast is superb and wonderful.
2. What did you want to bring to the role of Mama to make her distinctly your own?
Me. That's where I always begin with any role. And the powers that be at Chicago allowed me to bring my own interpretations to the process. It was a ton of fun and IS a ton of fun.
3. The Cady Did teaser had me laughing out loud. What sitcom to you is as close to perfect as possible? Why? What do you love about it?
I grew up in the heyday of TV. All in the Family sticks out because each character was allowed to be imperfect and hilarious. We learned important lessons from those flawed and flawless characters. And the actors weren't all conventionally pretty, but they were all excellent. I love excellence and substance over form.
4. If you could go back to Big Deal and give yourself one piece of advice from the future, what would you tell her?
Don't take any of it personally!
5. So many women are playing Ulla now regionally or in productions at their school. If they come across this interview, what do you want to tell them about playing that role? What advice would you give these young ladies?
The first great thing about Ulla is that she exists in the wonderful, safe, funny world created by Mel Brooks. A world with no threat to body or soul. She is free to be utterly herself, and herself is fantastic.
DON’T PLAY SEXY! If you are cast to play Ulla, it’s because you ARE sexy. To help with this, I always imagined that after I was fully made-up, wigged and costumed as Ulla, that that is how Ulla wakes up. Her hair is always perfect, her boobs are always high, her lashes are that thick and her lips are that red. She is guileless and utterly truthful. She’s a sweet, smart, talented woman who falls in love.
LISTEN! English is not her first language. She speaks at least Swedish and English and even understands Pig Latin. She listens intently to what’s being said not because she is dumb but because she is very smart and wants to understand what’s being said and be understood herself.
“When You Got It, Flaunt It” is her audition song, which she wrote herself (another clue as to how smart she is). Don’t treat it like a song, treat it like a 3 act play. There’s such a great chance to take her on that all too familiar journey of an audition. From nerves, to gaining confidence, to finally busting out her big guns! Explore it. Don’t worry if it sounds good, play the reality of your first audition for big time producers.
Don't miss Cady Huffman slay the house down with "When You're Good to Mama" in 'Chicago' at Broadway's Ambassador Theatre.