BroadwaySelect met with the larger than life talent, Kristy Cates (currently performing in Finding Neverland on Broadway) to discuss life, show-business and motherhood.
Q: What is it like balancing motherhood and being on Broadway?
A: Balancing Broadway, being Creative Director of Musical Theatre at NYFA (New York Film Academy) and having a one and a half year old is….CRAZY! Because I am so busy and always have a million things to accomplish, my biggest challenge is just being present in each moment I am in. The great thing about being in the show is that when I am on stage, I am truly focused on the storytelling. Being a mom is the greatest thing in the world and while she is still too young to see the show, we sing together all the time. This child can belllllt! HAHA! It’s tough….it really is….to not put her to bed every night but my husband gets to be home with her a lot and they have a really special bond – and that’s the sweetest thing to see. Being a teacher has definitely made me a better actor and I feel so lucky when my students, both past and present, come to the show!
Q: What, in your opinion, is the most important message that Finding Neverland delivers?
A: I think there are two important messages in Finding Neverland: to believe in yourself and what you can achieve AND to honor the child inside of you so that you never lose touch with your imagination. Like any good piece of art, it speaks to people on many different levels, based on each individual’s perception and how they connect with the show. The first time I saw it, I cried several times – simply because I was able to connect with the show in such a profound way. I think a lot of people leave with that same feeling of connection.
Q: What do you love most about being in this show and playing Miss Bassett?
A: The best thing about this show is the cast, crew and everyone who works on the show. Truly. This is one special group of people and I actually look forward to seeing them all and hearing about their days. Everyone is supportive and kind and funny – oh my God are these people funny! I replaced the awesome Jessica Vosk (currently playing Fruma Sarah in FIDDLER) back in early September and in 7 short months, these people have become like family. I am also so appreciative about how much the show touches the audience. I have had a ton of students, friends and friends of friends, come to see the show. Every single person tells me they “felt all the feels”. Truly, you laugh and you cry and you feel nostalgic. Miss Bassett is a diva with a sense of humor. What else do I need to say? Ha!
Q: What has your greatest challenge been with this show and/or character?
A: I do a lot in this show – a lot of dancing and moving and walking around in a really heavy mermaid costume. I’m not 25 anymore so I would honestly say that keeping myself physically ready to do the show 8 times a week has been the biggest challenge. On the other hand, I feel like I am vocally stronger than I have ever been in my life, so even though I am singing all over my voice, my vocal cords are holding up terrifically well!
Q: Why do you think people should go and see Finding Neverland.
A: I went to see the show before I auditioned. I had heard some mixed reviews about it and so I wanted to check it out…and I am so glad I did. I cried AT LEAST 5 times. I texted my husband after hearing Matthew belt out Stronger and said “you really should have come with me tonight…you would love this show” (he’s since seen it 5 times). I was so utterly blown away by the visual effects – which are some of the best ever to be executed on a Broadway stage. Laura Michelle Kelly was absolutely divine to watch and continues to be equally divine all these months later. Alfie Boe who has just taken over the role of JM Barrie is a DREAM both onstage and off. It is a gorgeous show with catchy tunes sung really well, fantastically original choreography, beautiful effects and a story that touches people in many different ways It’s just – really special. Come visit us in Neverland soon!