This week Liv Rooth answers our five questions about theater, life and the roles she’s dying to play. You might’ve seen Liv on Broadway in Venus in Fur or Born Yesterday. Or Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center or Primary Stages. Or on TV in The Good Wife or Elementary. Regardless of where you’ve seen her in the past, you can currently see her on stage at the Bank Street Theater in Nice Girl, which runs until June 7th. Let’s learn a little more about what makes Liv Rooth tick.
1. When did you realize you wanted to be an actor? What was your first appearance on a stage?
Beginning when I was five, I spent countless hours putting on plays with my friends for my parents — always with huge flashlight spotlights, programs, tickets (at least 10 cents!), and elaborate costumes from my several overflowing dress-up trunks. The defining moment came when I was eight years old, though. I played a little girl in a professional production of Gigi at Tulane Summer Lyric Theater. This meant I spent a few numbers on stage with a great company of actors and, most thrillingly, the beautiful actress playing Gigi. I watched her, enraptured, every night. She also let me and the other little girl in the play come sit in hair and makeup with her before the show. I loved how she spoke to us so warmly, treated us like professionals, and answered all of our questions about being actors when we grew up. I think the special onstage and offstage interactions I had with that young woman fascinated and inspired me so completely that I was hooked forever.
2. What’s one piece of advice you’ve received during your career that’s really stuck with you?
I was taught to give every bit of everything I’ve got and get the hell out of my own way. To be always generous with my fellow actors, and to risk, fail spectacularly, then risk again.
3. In Nice Girl you play Sherry, Josephine’s unlucky-in-love co-worker. What are you most looking forward to in terms of bringing this character to life?
Sherry is one of the best characters I’ve ever worked on. Sherry’s got a HUGE heart and is funny as hell. She’s completely screwed up, brash, brave, aggressive, and messy. My favorite thing about her is that she is very selfish, but also very generous, and that combination helps her discover so much about herself in the play. I think by the end she’s experiencing a depth of feeling and strength of character she never thought she had.
4. What’s your favorite thing about doing theater?
No way to answer that! Everything! I love it all, except when I don’t, but even then, whatever it is I don’t like in that moment makes me appreciate another aspect of the theater even more.
5. What’s one role you’re dying to play?
I have no answer to this one either! The extremely rewarding roles I have played — the ones that have strengthened me, given me courage, made me better and fiercer — at least half of those are parts I never thought I was right for, or wasn’t sure I could pull off. I never, ever, ever wanted to touch Nora with a ten foot pole, but I was offered the role and worked on it last year at a beautiful theater, with a director I love and trust, and with a team of exceptional artists. It was one of the great challenges and joys of my career. All of the plays I’ve done with David Ives taught me to believe I could do comedy and also be a ferocious leading lady. So now I want to tackle any great role, play hard, and do my job even better with every performance.