FITA : The Stage Play Interview with Kali Russell (Cathy Dollanganger)


Kali Russell will be the first actress to play Catherine Dollanganger on the stage and from what AtticSecrets hears the first actress to actually portray Cathy in the way Lifetime couldn’t manage ….

Here Lorraine Elgar catches up with her to speak about the upcoming premiere , performing as Cathy and THAT love scene……

Hi Kali , firstly tell us a bit about yourself  …

Well, I am a 22 year old New Orleans native that has been working as a professional actress/ performer for the past ten years. I have been trained in musical theatre from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts as well as NYU Tisch in the Stella Adler Studio, and I’ve recently graduated with a BA in Theatre from Loyola University New Orleans. But when I’m not slaving away academically, I enjoy eating an extremely unhealthy amount of fast food, practicing characters for my (obvious) upcoming Saturday Night Live career, and, of course, kissing my brother… Just kidding… I’m an only child.

Fans are already saying you represent the Cathy we ‘ve always imagined – beautiful,  feisty , humanly flawed – is that how you see her yourself ?

You all are too kind with the beautiful part, but I absolutely agree with those descriptors of Cathy. She is first and foremost a young girl who does not know who she is or what she wants. Her feisty nature comes from a stunted emotional growth from being locked up with no outside influences other than her family. Cathy must be humanly flawed, for we are all, by the nature of being human, flawed. Cathy is no Christ figure and to play her as such would take away an essential part of the tragedy, which is that the fate of the Dollanganger children is unavoidable -making them forever question their morality and their self worth.

Were you aware of the story before you auditioned ?

I had heard the title, but I had never read the book or seen the films. But I did watch the first film and read the book before I auditioned.

What is your personal view of Cathy ?

Cathy is a series of paradoxes. She is resilient yet defeated. Strong but fragile. She exerts her emotions but is still detached and reflective. I intend to play all of these by being fully aware that Cathy doesn’t have a clue who she wants to be, and that confusion in the midst of all the atrocities that occur in the attic will be really exciting to play with each night.

How important is it to you that you get the love scene just right ?

Very important. Am I right, Christopher Bentivegna???

But in all honesty, the love scene is the one of the most difficult moments in the play. I actually like that the scene is not the same as the book, for it is all the more tragic that these siblings choose to consent to this act because they must in order to survive the next few moments after Cory is taken to the hospital. The sex has to happen but the guilt they feel must also be shown as well as them liking the feel of each other. It’s hard because we have to love it and hate it at the same time – and for the fan girls out there… That’s hard to do with Levi Hood being such a total babe. The scene is visually and emotionally provocative and all I have to say is… The audience will be devastated by the time the lights go off.

Wow ! I am totally blown away by Kali s insight and enthusiasm and I honestly think shes going to nail the role of  Cathy! Lifetime take note …. this is the Cathy we wanted 😉


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