Victoria Pérez can do anything, it seems—straight drama, musical comedy, run a theater company (the fantastic Raíces). But this summer, a first: Shakespeare! Pérez appears in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” with Shakespeare in Delaware Park through July 16. She recently shared a few thoughts about her life on and off the stage.
Tell me a story about a time you were recognized in public for your stage work.
A while ago I was in a production of “Once on This Island” at Ujima. At the end of one of the performances a young lady came up to me and told me that I didn't know her but she felt like she knew me. She was also an actress, and was bigger than most, like me. She said people had told her that no one wanted to see someone her size on stage and that I had proved them wrong. We both cried and I never saw her again. I think about her a lot.
In your opinion, what is the best musical theater song ever written?
“It’s a Quiet Thing” from “Flora the Red Menace.” It perfectly explains moments where you’d expect to have this humongous celebration, fireworks, excitement, loud music, etc., but that in reality provide a beautiful quietness.
What is a current weakness of Buffalo’s theater industry?
A few years ago, I would tell you that the theater scene had little to no diversity. Now people are more aware of the need for diversity. It brought me great pride to see so many people of color at this year’s Artie Awards. Things are getting better and we have a long way to go, but we need to keep advocating to tell our stories and, in turn, make them universal stories. I think we are constantly trying to achieve this. And that should be our jobs as artists.