Going Coastal

Valley stage stalwart Michelle Gardner is getting her act together and taking it to L.A.

NT: That must be hard for them, since you're always getting raped in every show you're in.

MG: I know! West Side Story, I got raped. Man of La Mancha, I got raped. In Unidentified Human Remains, I'm a prostitute who's giving some guy a blowjob. There's language, there's nudity, but they come to see me. They want me to be happy more than anything. I could not have picked better parents; they are incredible human beings. And every time I do an interview, I say that, and no one ever prints it. I guess because it's not interesting or controversial.

NT: I'll print it.

Taking off: Michelle Gardner is flying off to L.A.
Taking off: Michelle Gardner is flying off to L.A.

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Continues through May 20 at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Call 602-252-8497.

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MG: Could you also print that I'm really glad to be working with a woman director again? The last time I worked with a woman director was two years ago, in The Waiting Room.

NT: I hated that show.

MG: I know. I remember. But at least you write what you mean. I'm really looking forward to that in L.A., because the theater critics there aren't worried about offending a theater company. They say when you suck, and there is no better way to learn. Because if you get four bad reviews for a performance, you have to look at that and go, "Wait, maybe I'm really lousy in this part."

NT: I promise you, I never worry about offending a theater company.

MG: I know. You're the mean theater critic.

NT: I am. So, whose Hollywood career would you most like to have?

MG: I'm not going to tell you I don't want to be rich and famous. But I'd like to be one of those actors who makes good choices. Like, you look at Glenn Close, and you go, "Oh, she does really great work, no crap, and she's all over the place -- musicals, comedies, drama." It's very weird to sit here and talk about one day being famous, but if I were, I'd want to be one of those famous people who actually has a private life.

NT: Please.

MG: No, really. It happens. Do you know anything about Glenn Close's husband or children? Jodie Foster said, "I'm not telling you who my kid's father is. Bye!" And she didn't get shut out. People still want to work with her.

NT: Speaking of famous actors, do you ever get compared to any of them?

MG:Are you kidding? Janeane Garofalo. Constantly. Every single day. Whatever. I just don't see it.

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