Meet the cast: Amelia Pedlow of 'The Glass Menagerie'

Amelia Pedlow in rehearsal for ‘The Glass Menagerie.’ Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie

Amelia Pedlow QuoteAt the Theatre Company: Hamlet and The Liar. Off-Broadway: ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Red Bull Theatre Company); The Heir Apparent (Classic Stage Company); You Never Can Tell (Pearl Theatre Company). Regional: The Metromaniacs (The Old Globe and The Shakespeare Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice (The Shakespeare Theatre); Ether Dome (La Jolla Playhouse, Hartford Stage, and Huntington Theatre Company); Legacy of Light (Cleveland Playhouse); The Diary of Anne Frank and The Tempest (Virginia Stage Company); Death of a Salesman and Sick (Chautauqua Theatre Company). TV: “The Good Wife”; “Blue Bloods”; “Shades of Blue”; and “The Blacklist.”

  • Hometown: Philadelphia
  • Training:  BFA from Juilliard
  • What was the role that changed your life? The first role that comes to mind is Denise Savage in “Savage in Limbo,” which I got to work on in my final year at Juilliard. I was 21 at the time and (I’m embarrassed to admit) hoping for a lovely, light ingenue role to showcase myself in for our fourth-year mainstage season. But I was handed instead a sad, desperate 32-year-old virgin who spends 70 minutes onstage lashing out and reaching out to find some meaning in her life. This was a lot for me to take on at the time, and it is our job as actors to step into our character’s shoes, to sympathize and empathize with their life experience and view of the world. So I did have to take it on. I still don’t know how much truth I was able to mine, considering how limited my life experience was at the time, but my exploration into this woman who had been backed into a corner by life, friendless and loveless and now trying with all her might to connect to whomever she could, was an important one for me, as an actor and a person. She is a character who from the outside may seem selfish and harsh, but to play her, from the inside, made her the most heartbreaking, lonely woman I have ever encountered. I am so grateful to have walked a mile in her shoes.
  • Why are you an actor? Because I’ve always been in love with storytelling. My father used to read books to me growing up – everything from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to The Chronicles of Narnia. My parents also took me to see plays and introduced me to lots of wonderful, classic films. I couldn’t get enough of it. All those stories had a profound influence on the way I live my life. I truly believe storytelling in any form can increase a society’s ability to empathize, and that great stories told well can have the power to open hearts and minds to perspectives they had previously been blind to.
  • What would you be doing for a career if you weren’t an actor? I would be a literary editor, hopefully living and working in New York City. I would have gone to Princeton University (my real-life decision between Princeton and Juilliard was a painful one), majored in English and gone into editing upon graduating. My father instilled in me a deep love of the written word, and the act of simplifying, honing, clarifying and condensing the written word has always given me great, great pleasure. 
  • Katharine HepburnIdeal scene partner: This is an interesting question because it’s so different from  asking who my favorite actor is. I’m not sure I’d want to work with my favorite actresses – Katharine Hepburn – because I’d worry I couldn’t keep up. I mean, a great scene partner is someone who you discover is a great scene partner over a rehearsal process, so it’s hard to name a star as my answer because I’m really not sure how they work, or what their process is like. In my personal experience, some of my favorite scene partners have been Chris Myers, Sean McNall, Sena Rich, Creed Garnick, Frankie Alvarez, Matt Amendt, Tony Roach, Dina Thomas, Jon Bass, Liba Vaynberg, Michael Bakkensen, and Ryan Garbayo, just to name a few. All of them and so so many more actors over the years have looked me in the eye in dangerous, electric moments during a rehearsal process and said, “Yes. I’ve got you.” And together we’ve built something greater than the sum of our parts. I’m so grateful. (And yes, I know I cheated on this question …)
  • Why does this production of The Glass Menagerie matter? Because Tennessee Williams, in an incredible act of vulnerability and generosity, shares his mother and his sister and his younger self with an audience in this play. The autobiography in the work is terribly moving, and I think that is in part what has connected so many generations to this piece. Like someone who confesses some of their deepest humiliations and regrets to you, Williams’ act of immense sharing is palpable, and it has kept the heart of the play alive and beating all these years later. It really is one of the Great Plays of the American Stage. 
  • What do you hope the audience gets out of it? This is a play about family, and I hope the audience is able to empathize with the journey of having to leave home and family in order to discover who we really are and what we are really meant to do. That is at the heart of this piece and it is such a universal story that I hope audiences are able to see it from all sides, from the point of view of those left behind and from those who need to escape.
  • Finish this sentence: “All I want is …”
    “… a good, strong, solid education for every child in the world. It might not solve all of our problems, but it’s the best possible start I can imagine: Education.”

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

Amelia Pedlow as Ophelia and Jacob H. Knoll as Laertes in the DCPA Theatre Company’s 2014 production of ‘Hamlet.’ Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

The Glass Menagerie: Ticket information
• Sept. 9-Oct. 16
• Ricketson Theatre
• ASL interpreted, Audio-described and Open Captioned performance: Oct. 15
• Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
• Groups: Call 303-446-4829

Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of The Glass Menagerie:

2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics
Kent Thompson on The Bard, The Creature and the soul of his audience
Casting set for The Glass Menagerie
First rehearsal: This will be no wimpy Glass Menagerie

Additional The Glass Menagerie photos:

'The Glass Menagerie' in Denver

Photos from the making of ‘The Glass Menagerie’ in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above.

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