Talking with Liz McKendry - The Buffalo News

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Talking with Liz McKendry



Kenmore native Liz McKendry has but one Broadway credit under her dance belt – the Mel Brooks comedy “The Producers” – but she’s no stranger to stage life, with numerous off-Broadway, regional, television and film credits to her name. McKendry explores the “euphoria, disarray and survival” of her stage dreams in her solo show, “From Buffalo to Broadway,” which she recently performed at New York’s illustrious Metropolitan Room. McKendry brings the show home to Hallwalls at 4 p.m. Saturday, with Eddie Schnecker on piano. Here’s a quick Q&A.

In what style of theater are you at home?

I really don’t have a preference. Musicals can touch us in places we didn’t know we had places. It’s live theater, a living thing unfolding in real time before your eyes. It’s a breathtaking experience. If it’s going to be a musical, let it be a comedy. I love comedy, a gasping-for-breath-as-you-laugh comedy. Lately I’ve been attracted to plays the same way I’m drawn to movies – the moments of silences, the subtle movements and language of the writer. Something organic, with substance and roots planted deep into the earth.

Name your dream role and dream scene partner.

I have so many dream roles. A role that I originate, standing up to injustice, sharing the truth, raising social consciousness. Roles with loads of layers, overwhelming complexities, that [make] an impact on society, to make you think, three-dimensional characters. All different kinds of roles, from Hollywood glamour to chopping wood in the prairie. I’m versatile. My dream scene partner would be an actor who doesn’t get as much recognition, like Frank Rossi from Buffalo.

What did you learn about yourself as a performer from your Broadway debut?

Not to let fear get in the way. Struggle is good, its growth. I work well under pressure. I learned that I am not just a dancer or a singer, a tall showgirl, or a funny character lady, but an actress. A working actress. What a great thing! It really can happen, dreams.

Why do you love being on stage?

I feel alive on stage. To make people laugh, feel and reflect, tell stories, and bring a script to life. I feel safe on stage. I get to walk in someone else’s shoes for a few hours a night, to appreciate their life and to extend their legacy. To interpret lost songs, to be their voice, characters like you and me. That’s what our work can do.

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