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Linda Libby’s Acting Bucket List

The Craig Noel Award winner can hardly choose just four.

Linda Libby
Linda Libby
Linda Libby, center, from The Women ca. 1992 at San Diego Rep

I’m asking veteran local actors to name five dream roles and say why. The answers not only reveal aspirations, they may put an idea in the minds of artistic directors and producers — even some choices that might seem outside the box.

Craig Noel Award-winner Linda Libby.

“Ok. This is not really fair because lately I’ve had the great fortune of playing some of my all-time dream roles: Rose in Gypsy, the Edies in Grey Gardens, Joanne in Company, and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. I’d truly love another stab at ALL of them, but CRIMINY there are so many others that have eluded me. So here goes!”

Linda Libby, 3rd from the left, from Six Women With Brain Death, ca. 1985 at San Diego Rep

1.) Mother Courage, Mother Courage and Her Children, by Bertolt Brecht. “I like to think that theater can change the world, that because someone saw a play and recognized themselves or their situation that they would make the world a better place. The Brecht piece is anti-war, and I want to send that message as often as I can. Plus, Mother Courage sings a little and gets to pull a cart like a horse.”

2.) Josie, A Moon for the Misbegotten, by Eugene O’Neill. “As a kid I was the awkward girl, the last to be chosen for the team, the ‘tom-boy’ who only went to the dance as a ‘special’ friend and longed for a Cinderella story. I also always thought of myself as a strong, big-framed person, so Josie’s been a role I’ve wanted to do for some time. I completely understand how she would strike back for feeling left out by becoming an ox and finally standing up to her father.”

Linda Libby, left, from Angel City, 1987 at Ensemble Arts

3.) Martha, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, by Edward Albee. “She’s strong and sexy and underneath all her bravado she’s as vulnerable as a character gets. I connect with Martha’s devotion to her son because I’m a mom. As my daughter gets ready to fly the nest for college, I have a whole new appreciation for the role of ‘Mom’ that I play every day — and the loss that Martha can only imagine.”

4.) Mrs. Lovett — “or Sweeney” — in Sweeney Todd, by Stephen Sondheim. “I love this score! I saw Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou do it in Philadelphia a million years ago (friend working as a dresser got me fifth row center seats). When Sweeney broke the fourth wall with ‘YOU SIR!’ I was certain I was meat for the next pie!”

5.) ”AGGGG! To choose ONE MORE IS SO HARD!! Juliet’s Nurse? Kate the Shrew? Anything by Tennessee Williams, or Arthur Miller, or O’Neill. I love to sing: jazz standards, country, blues, even rock-n-roll. I’d be great to find a character who plays guitar and put all those music lessons to good use. But If I have choose, then I’m gonna have to sleep on it. And then probably change my mind again…

“Okay…Medea. Because she does the unthinkable. Because she’s mystical. Because she’s the original feminist. Because in the end she flies.”

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Linda Libby
Linda Libby
Linda Libby, center, from The Women ca. 1992 at San Diego Rep

I’m asking veteran local actors to name five dream roles and say why. The answers not only reveal aspirations, they may put an idea in the minds of artistic directors and producers — even some choices that might seem outside the box.

Craig Noel Award-winner Linda Libby.

“Ok. This is not really fair because lately I’ve had the great fortune of playing some of my all-time dream roles: Rose in Gypsy, the Edies in Grey Gardens, Joanne in Company, and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. I’d truly love another stab at ALL of them, but CRIMINY there are so many others that have eluded me. So here goes!”

Linda Libby, 3rd from the left, from Six Women With Brain Death, ca. 1985 at San Diego Rep

1.) Mother Courage, Mother Courage and Her Children, by Bertolt Brecht. “I like to think that theater can change the world, that because someone saw a play and recognized themselves or their situation that they would make the world a better place. The Brecht piece is anti-war, and I want to send that message as often as I can. Plus, Mother Courage sings a little and gets to pull a cart like a horse.”

2.) Josie, A Moon for the Misbegotten, by Eugene O’Neill. “As a kid I was the awkward girl, the last to be chosen for the team, the ‘tom-boy’ who only went to the dance as a ‘special’ friend and longed for a Cinderella story. I also always thought of myself as a strong, big-framed person, so Josie’s been a role I’ve wanted to do for some time. I completely understand how she would strike back for feeling left out by becoming an ox and finally standing up to her father.”

Linda Libby, left, from Angel City, 1987 at Ensemble Arts

3.) Martha, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, by Edward Albee. “She’s strong and sexy and underneath all her bravado she’s as vulnerable as a character gets. I connect with Martha’s devotion to her son because I’m a mom. As my daughter gets ready to fly the nest for college, I have a whole new appreciation for the role of ‘Mom’ that I play every day — and the loss that Martha can only imagine.”

4.) Mrs. Lovett — “or Sweeney” — in Sweeney Todd, by Stephen Sondheim. “I love this score! I saw Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou do it in Philadelphia a million years ago (friend working as a dresser got me fifth row center seats). When Sweeney broke the fourth wall with ‘YOU SIR!’ I was certain I was meat for the next pie!”

5.) ”AGGGG! To choose ONE MORE IS SO HARD!! Juliet’s Nurse? Kate the Shrew? Anything by Tennessee Williams, or Arthur Miller, or O’Neill. I love to sing: jazz standards, country, blues, even rock-n-roll. I’d be great to find a character who plays guitar and put all those music lessons to good use. But If I have choose, then I’m gonna have to sleep on it. And then probably change my mind again…

“Okay…Medea. Because she does the unthinkable. Because she’s mystical. Because she’s the original feminist. Because in the end she flies.”

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