Susan Henley previously appeared on the Lighthouse stage in Norm Foster’s Halfway There, which opened to rave reviews last season. Her character, Rita, had an acerbic wit and some great one-liners, but she’s playing a much more in-depth character as Glenda in Where You Are, who has secrets she’s been keeping from her sister, Suzanne. Susan has also played Mrs. Pankhurst in Lancashire Lass at the Grand Theatre, Marilla in Anne of Green Gables at the Confederation Centre in PEI, Velma Von Tussel in Hairspray at the Princess of Wales Theatre and the 1st US National Tour, and Irma in Irma La Douce at Stratford Festival Theatre. We chatted with Susan about who’ll love seeing this show, which celebrity she’d like to see tackle this character, and what she does just before going on stage.
Lighthouse Festival (LF): What sort of person is going to love this show?
Susan Henley (SH): Anybody who is a young adult and up, end of sentence! 🙂
(LF): What’s going to surprise people about this show?
(SH): It’s how humor can come out of any situation. No matter how heavy the situation might become. There is always humor that can come out of it. And mostly it’s people’s relationships with each other. The harder they try, the funnier it gets.
(LF): Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?
(SH): Oh, well, I have to do two. First one would be Whoopi Goldberg, a slightly younger version, but definitely Whoopi Goldberg, and Olivia Coleman; those two for sure.
(LF): What’s your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
(SH): Oh, (laughs). Well, that’s easy. A matinee!
(LF): What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage / the curtain goes up?
(SH): Well, these days I have retainers in, they have to be straight, otherwise everybody’s going to see them, so I have to adjust them. But usually what happens is you wish your fellow castmates good luck and to have a good show. And after a while, that becomes a pattern, and then that pattern becomes a thing. And if you don’t do that every time before the show, you freak out and you think “oh, something bad is going happen.” Now that’s bad luck. It’s very superstitious. So whatever that pattern ends up being, it has to be done before every show with everybody!