If you do your work, people will want to work with you again, if they can, if they have the power to do it—and they’ll want to work with you years later. — Dawn Didawick
On the show today is Dawn Didawick, an LA-based actor who has worked at numerous regional theatres, has lived and worked in both DC and New York, and also has a number of film and TV credits. Dawn is also married to our previous guest Harry Groener, so now we hear the other half!
I’ve known Dawn for about 15 years and I am so thrilled that we had this conversation. She has such a rich history in the theatre, has learned and seen quite a bit, and has such a great attitude about it all. There are so many great quotes and parts to this. We have a lot of laughs, and I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this chat.
Just a bit of what we cover in this episode:
- doing industrials and dealing with fear
- having mentors and working on new plays
- sexual harassment and shame
- how to keep working
- what she learned from Yiddish actors
- passing it on and being respectful
- and lots more!
About the guest
Dawn Didawick appeared on Broadway in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, with the production winning a Tony Award for Best Revival.
Her regional credits include the Actor’s Theater of Louisville, Long Wharf Theater, Hartford Stage Company, the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, Alabama Shakespeare Theater, Seattle Rep, and South Coast Repertory Theater. She did dozens of shows at the Totem Pole Playhouse in Pennsylvania with one of her mentors Jean Stapleton (who ran the theatre with her husband, and who many know as Edith from All in the Family).
Dawn was involved in the beginning years of the Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre in Louisville. She developed working relationships with many playwrights including Marsha Norman, Colleen Dobson Baker, and James McClure.
She’s a founding member of the Antaeus Theatre in Glendale, CA, appearing in many of their productions and readings, including a recent role as Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opposite her husband (and past guest here) Harry Groener as Big Daddy.
Dawn serves as an honorary board member of The Alpine Theater Project in Whitefish, Montana. She’s appeared in the films Erin Brockovich with Julia Roberts, Breakfast of Champions with Bruce Willis, as well as in a number of independent films produced and starring younger members of the Antaeus Company—she really is all about supporting the next generation of actors, and we’re lucky to count her as a guest here!
Please enjoy my chat with Dawn Didawick!
Total Running Time: 1:46:19
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Want to hear from another regional theatre actress? Check out my talk with Anne Gee Byrd!
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let us know in the comments.
Scroll below for links mentioned in today’s episode and additional show notes…
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Dawn Didawick around the web
- Actors who could make a living in regional theatre
- How her Virginia childhood exposed her to the arts
- Her mother’s skill of dying onstage
- Doing theatre with professionals at American University
- Early years working in NY and doing industrials in DC while still in college
- The director and situation that made her think she might never go to NY
- Her education of doing 25+ plays (many leading roles) in regional theatre
- How she approaches the style of different playwrights
- Working with her husband Harry Groener
- What affects your decisions as an actor over the course of your life
- The challenges of being a middle class actor
- Why she took care of Harry during Crazy for You and how she didn’t go crazy herself
- Her experience doing Tempest with the magician Teller and Posner
- What kept her from auditioning for more film and TV, and her feelings on both
- Being involved with new works and the first year of the Humana New Play Festival
- How to be an actor that directors and playwrights want to work with again and again
- Keeping it fresh doing All My Sons in several productions with the same actor
- Learning comedy in the Yiddish Theatre
- The work ethic and on-set behavior of Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis
- Why she works with the Antaeus Company and passing the training on
- Being respectful to your fellow actors and having theatre etiquette
- Her one bad experience getting thrown by another actor
Selected People and Items Mentioned
- Jonathan McMurtry, actor
- Jack O’Brien’s Midsummer production
- David Ogden Stiers, actor
- The Alley Theatre
- US Information Agency
- F. Cowles Strickland, Arena Stage
- The Trial, play
- Mama Cass, actor and singer
- National Arts and Letters Society Scholarship
- Milton Katselas, director and teacher
- Uta Hagen, actor and teacher
- Washington Theatre Club
- J. A. Preston, Body Heat
- Randy the Amazing, with the Magic Show on Broadway
- Jean Stapleton
- The Matchmaker at Hartford, Daniel Sullivan directing, with Sada Thompson
- Antaeus Theatre
- John Drew Theatre, East Hampton
- Richard Barr, producer
- Robert Smith, Shakespeare teacher
- Oh! Calcutta!, play
- Ray Cooney, playwright and actor
- Coconut Grove Playhouse, Miami, Florida
- Harry Groener in The March at Steppenwolf
- Henry Strozier, actor
- Robert Prosky, actor
- The Tempest with Teller
- Jon Jory, Humana Festival
- The Laundromat and Pool Room by Marsha Norman
- Agnes of God and Little Heart by John Pielmeier
- James McClure, playwright
- Sheldon Epps, director
- Oskar Eustis, director
- Larry Carpenter, director
- Henrietta Jacobson and Julius Adler, actors of the Yiddish Theatre
- Bruce Adler, actor
- Larry Pressman, actor
- Dark of the Moon, play
- Victor Pappas, director
- Diana Maddox, actor and dramaturg
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