Broadway Spotlight: Interview with Anna Camp

Bright Actress of Film & TV Returns to Broadway

Blonde and bubbly starlet and South Carolina native Anna Camp, best known for her love-to-hate character Aubrey Posen in Pitch Perfect (#3 of the franchise premieres December 22), heads back to Broadway in Time and the Conways opening October 10 at the American Airlines Theatre. The limited engagement through November 26 finds Camp joining Downton Abbey star and Oscar nominee Elizabeth McGovern, Hand to God‘s Steven Boyer, and an ensemble cast at the helm of Tony-winning director Rebecca Taichman (Indecent).

Time and the Conways was first staged in 1938, and the revival tells the story of the Conway family in Northern England over three acts including two in 1919 at a 21st birthday party and Act 2, a fast- forward where the characters’ lives have changed for better or worse. Anna Camp plays the birthday girl Kay’s elder sister Hazel and
is back on stage after many years on TV and film. Camp previously starred opposite Daniel Radcliffe in Equus in 2008, alongside Morgan Freeman and Frances McDormand in The Country Girl, in The Scene with Patricia Heaton and Tony Shalhoub, and more. With an impressive résumé that includes Good Girls Revolt, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, True Blood, Mad Men, The Office, How I Met Your Mother, The Help, Café Society, and more, Camp has proven herself as both a dramatic and comedic force (not to mention a talent for musical fare as well). Anna spoke with New York City Monthly about her love for the theater and why this is an important show to see this season…

After so many major TV and film roles, what drew you to this stage drama about time and being present in your life?

I always want to be acting no matter what the medium is. It’s something I hope to continue to do for a very long time. I get that itch; I want to be in front of a live audience and I want to work on what it means to be an actor and have that rehearsal process. You get to really unpack a script, I’m pretty much in theater heaven.

It seems that you almost have to develop two sides of a character in this show. What’s the biggest challenge going from celebrating a 21st birthday to nearly 20 years later, aging your character, perhaps with added wisdom and life experience and with things sort of falling apart?

It’s really fascinating. When I was reading the play I didn’t realize what was coming next. There’s something so interestingly moving and surreal when you’re actually playing it and my character is such a cheerful butterfly – “joie de vivre” – “lust for life” in Acts 1 and 3 but in that 2nd act, just to feel like my wings have been clipped and broken, and just having that physical feeling. To really feel what it means to be so still in Act 2 is something that’s hard for me. I’m kind of an actor that likes to move, so it’s been a challenge for me to rein it in, but I’m learning what it means to be so still. It’s a wonderful and fulfilling and challenging thing for me to play.

In Pitch Perfect 3, which is coming in December, you are of course singing, dancing, and acting again like you have all along. With so much of your theater work being non-musical, what can you say about your love of music and could we see Anna Camp in a musical down the road? Is that a dream?

I would love to be in a musical to be honest. I know it takes so much work and so much vocal training. My first was at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, a show called God Hates the Irish, where I got to sing so many really lewd, dirty, fantastic songs. Michael Friedman was the composer and wrote the book and it was just wild. I would love to be in a musical again; I think it would be so fun and such a challenge. Pitch Perfect definitely  put me on my heels and we did six weeks of shooting, but you don’t get to do that so much in TV and film. I would die to do that.

With so much hot material out right now on Broadway, why would you hope theatergoers check out this show?

I hope that people come to see the show because it’s truly about family and about what you do now in the present, sowing the seeds for the future. Like every little thing that we do in acts 1 and 3, you see how it plays out in the future. If it can be any kind of warning or message of hope, that’s why I feel like we do theater – warning to be better, and to be good and to let you know that what you do now affects the future. What we do nowadays, we need to plan for the future in a way I don’t think we have done in the past, and also be good to each other because it can all go down so fast.