Laura Kerrigan

She'll empty ashtrays and even clean the lobby toilet, but don't ask Laura Kerrigan to make your dog a star. By day, Kerrigan is Desert Stages Theatre's marketing director; by night, she's likely to be found reading a trashy novel, stumping for a mattress firm, or pushing her company's latest show — even ones she secretly doesn't love.

I knew I wanted to be in show business when, well, I actually never wanted to be in show business. I actually wanted to make money. Which reminds me: Am I being paid for filling out this questionnaire?

My worst theater experience ever was dealing with the stage mother of the dog who played Sandy in Annie. She wanted her mangy mutt to have his share of press, and when he didn't get it, he deliberately threw up those beef jerky sticks on my publicity fliers.

The happiest day in my life was — and is — every day. How sappy is that? I'm just a happy person. I know, I know — I belong in Disneyland. Except there are actors and stage mothers there, too.

If I could be anyone other than myself, it would be anyone at all, because then they would be answering these questions instead of me.

It's not entirely true, but I sometimes tell people that I love every show our theater puts on. (Though I really do love the process it takes to bring a show to the stage. It's just amazing.)

The fictional character I am most like is Elaine from Seinfeld. My family thinks I dance like her.

I am utterly terrified that we will add Annie to our lineup next season. After five different productions of this show, I truly don't care if the sun ever comes up tomorrow.

I laugh uncontrollably at Monk-e-Mails. If you've never received one, go to and be prepared to waste several hours.

The one thing I absolutely refuse to do for my theater is pretty much nothing. I'm a theater slave. I've emptied ashtrays, cleaned bathrooms, loaned pieces of my household to various sets, entertained the audience while waiting for a lead actress to show up for a performance, even replaced actors on stage in a pinch. Just another day in the life of a busy marketing gal.

Something I have never admitted to anyone before is I did a taped testimonial for a mattress company. Maybe you've seen me on some obscure cable channel. If so, please don't call me at 10 p.m. to tell me that you just saw me on TV. And no, I can't get you a free mattress.

Currently I am reading trash. I love trash. Girl meets boy. Girl and boy have fling. Girl dumps boy and lives happily ever after. There's no thinking involved. Just pure lust and heavy breathing (hopefully not mine).

The first time I got drunk, I was way too young but was lured to Nun's Rock, a huge boulder that sits behind a nun's convent by my childhood home, to drink beer with my brothers. We hung out there often; it probably skewed my religious upbringing, but luckily no priests were involved.

Like my father used to say, "If you're going to hoot with the owls, you've got to scream with the eagles." He obviously didn't understand the sleeping habits of theater people.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela