Paige Price: From Broadway to Aspen to Curious' 'Sex with Strangers'

Paige Price and Michael Kingsbaker star in Curious Theatre's regional premiere of 'Sex with Srangers.' Photo by Michael Ensminger.
Paige Price and Michael Kingsbaker star in Curious Theatre’s regional premiere of ‘Sex with Srangers.’ Photo by Michael Ensminger.

On stage or off, Paige Price has been working in the theatre industry for more than 30 years. She starred as Stephanie Mangano in the original 1999 Broadway production of Saturday Night Fever and had roles in the original Broadway casts of Beauty and the Beast and Smokey Joe’s Café.

Paige Price quoteAfter taking seven years off from performing to take on her ongoing role as Theatre Aspen’s Executive Artistic Director, Price is returning to the stage in Sex with Strangers, which marks both her Denver and Curious Theatre Company stage debuts. She plays a fortysomething novelist named Olivia, one of only two characters in the play. In any two-hander, Price said, chemistry is key. Without it, it can be deadly. Luckily, Price said, she and co-star Michael Kingsbaker (a graduate of Aurora Gateway High School) have plenty.

Sex with Strangers is a provocative comedy that broke Laura Eason, a Cherry Creek High School graduate, onto the national playwriting scene. The play, opening its regional premiere on Saturday (Jan. 16), is described as a modern look at relationships – those we have with people, and those we have with our phones.

Olivia is a talented but underappreciated mid-career writer who is unexpectedly trapped in a secluded cabin with Ethan, a wildly successful and very attractive young blogger, as a fierce winter storm rages outside. Each has something the other needs. But as attraction turns to sex, both must confront the dark side of ambition.

Curious’ production is directed by Christy Montour-Larson (DCPA Theatre Company’s Shadowlands). Other frequent DCPA collaborators include Lighting Designer Shannon McKinney and Stage Manager Phoebe Sacks.

Olivia in Curious Theatre Company’s Sex with Strangers

  • Hometown: New York
  • High school: Middlesex (N.Y.)
  • College: NYU Tisch School of Arts
  • What was the role that changed your life? When I played Belle on Broadway in Beauty and the Beast, only because that fulfilled a childhood dream of being a princess on Broadway. But every role changes your life in some way – some not for the better. My first starring role that I originated was in Saturday Night Fever. While that was a really good part, the experience itself was not entirely positive, so I took a step back from acting at that point and reassessed whether I wanted to do that any longer. Those are the two ends of the spectrum.
  • Why are you an actor? I took about seven years off to work at Theatre Aspen and be on the other side of the table. Balancing this show and (my work at) Theatre Aspen just means there are not enough hours in the day. I’ve taken a step back so I can really concentrate on this job. The reason I was drawn back to this role was because Curious Theatre called me, and there were so many reasons to just say no. But all of those reasons meant that I needed another challenge. That’s why I’m doing it again, because acting allows you to take chances, to not be safe and to use the experiences you have had in life to tell a story. I haven’t done that in so long. I needed to jump off another cliff.
  • What would you be doing for a career if you weren’t an actor? I always wanted to be a sports broadcaster. I’m really kind of a sports nut, so I think that‘s the other thing I would’ve done – sports journalism. My favorite sport to watch is baseball, but hockey is a close second.
  • A Mark RylanceIdeal scene partner: Well, I would feel completely out of my league, but I would love to be on stage with Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies). He’s the most fascinating actor I’ve ever watched. But I don’t even think I could play the spear-carrier in a scene with him because he’s so amazing.
  • Why does Sex with Strangers matter? Because the writing is really smart. It’s really satisfying to do a play that has really substantial themes and words in it. The whole play is actually about not only relationships but also words and how people express themselves. It deals with social media as well, but for me it underscores how important it is to be able to be in a room with somebody and not just on a screen.  
  • What do you hope the audience gets out of it? The ending of the play is kind of ambivalent, and I think there is so much room for the audience to decide what they want to happen at the end. So I think the conversation after the show between audience members about what they wanted to happen will be really, really fascinating.

Sex with Strangers: Ticket information
Presented by Curious Theatre Company
Jan. 16-Feb. 20
1080 Acoma St.
303-623-0524 or CuriousTheatre.Org

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