We recently caught up with Suzi Bass Award and Atlanta Theater Fan Award winner Ingrid Cole while she was in Cincinnati with Menopause the Musical. In the musical she plays a hippie named Earth Mother, a part she also played while the show was in Atlanta. Up next she will be starring in the Atlanta premiere of GFour Productions’ Motherhood the Musical at 14th Street Playhouse. During our chat with her, she spoke about her upcoming role in Motherhood the Musical, her former student Josh Gad of The Book of Mormon, her charity ventures and much more.
In September, you will be appearing in Motherhood the Musical at 14th Street Playhouse. How did you become involved with the production?
The producers with Motherhood the Musical – I have known for years. They also produced Menopause the Musical, and I have been working with that show on and off since 2005. When I heard they were doing Motherhood, I thought, I am a 40-year-old mom. I asked if there was a part for me in the show.
What can Atlantans expect when they come to see Motherhood the Musical?
It is about four women who talk about their different feelings with having kids and one of them is just now pregnant. She is just about to have her first kid and wants everything to be perfect. There’s a stay-at-home mom who has four or five kids. Then, there is the woman who goes back to work and has to deal with all the stuff about going back work. And you have the mom who has to give her kids to their dad every other weekend. If you are a mom, have a mom or are part of a family, you will be able to relate to the show. It’s a very lighthearted, fun [show] and very true.
What character will you be playing? Is the mother you play similar to the mother you are in real life?
I play a character named Brooke. She’s a business woman who has to go back to work and deal with raising a family and also having a full-time job, which is most of the women I know. I totally relate to her. Right now I am working out of the state doing this show, and I missed my daughter’s first day of school because of it, and I hate missing stuff because of work. But, I have to work. Thank God I am able to work, most of the time, at home in Atlanta.
You won the Atlanta Theater Fan Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for your performance as Medium/Aunt Monica in See What I Wanna See at Actor’s Express. Were you surprised by your nomination and win?
I was very much surprised, not surprised the show got some kind of recognition. It was too well-received. To be pointed out specifically was icing on the cake. It was just great. I’m very lucky to be able to work from home. For an artist it is great to make a living as an actor anytime you get recognized at work it’s great and wonderful.
Actors often play multiple roles in productions, but it’s rare to have a production where Act 2 is a completely different story than Act 1. Was it difficult to not only change characters but to completely change stories?
No, it really wasn’t. Both characters I played were so caricature. One was in her 50’s and go from that to an old Italian grandmother in her 70’s. It wasn’t hard doing two characters; it was fun. It endeared it to me. It was well-written and musically challenging.
Have you seen a play or musical recently that has moved you?
I think the last thing I saw was The Judas Kiss at Actor’s Express. The acting was superb. When I see superb acting on stage, I just want to go home and take acting classes and hone my craft. I just want to be that good, you know. Oh, I saw Ordinary Days at Serenbe Playhouse, and that was so good. It was really great, and Laura Floyd won an award [Atlanta Theater Fan Award for Best Actress in a Musical] for that. There were a couple of people who were up for stuff with you guys for that show. When I get home, I can hardly wait to see A Chorus Line at Aurora Theatre. I have so many friends in it. I love Atlanta theater. I love it, I love it!
Most of your theater roles are in musicals. Is this intentional?
I think it is just what happens to come into my path. Since it is what I do most of, I am really comfortable doing it. Musical theater is just a passion of mine. But, I do industrial work and voice over work. I just finished a Good Eats episode for Alton Brown on the Food Network, and I’ve done a lot of industrial work with the American Deli.
You seem to be accomplishing the rare feat of being a full-time actor in Atlanta.
Yeah, knock on wood. You know there are times I am not working as much as others. When that happens, I teach voice lessons, and I substitute teach. For the most part I am able to pay my bills doing what I love. I’m extremely grateful.
When not performing, what are some ways you enjoy spending your time?
Just hanging out with my daughter, being a mom and doing mom stuff. I am involved with her programs at school. We’re also involved with the music and youth programs at our church. I am really involved with our missions program, Change4Children, and I’ve gone to Africa twice. My favorite thing to do is to just sit down and listen to musicals. I love listening to musicals and new shows I have never heard before. I have a girlfriend, and I have my daughter. I just stay at home and be a good girlfriend, mom and all that kind of stuff.
What is one of the latest shows that you have downloaded to listen to?
I just downloaded The Book of Mormon, and I have been listening to it constantly. My student, Josh Gad, was up for a Tony [for the show]. He was one of my students for a few years at a camp in South Florida. It’s fun to see how well he has done, and I am huge South Park fan. The show is just great; it’s well-written. I love it.
On your website, there is information about your involvement with Change4Children and Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS. Please tell us a little about those causes.
My heart is in Africa and the children of Africa. I just got back from Zambia where we built a school for about 40 kids. I am constantly going to different organizations talking about Change4Children. It’s a super easy concept. You just take your change out of pocket and put it in a basket. At the end of the year, you just start over again, and all the money goes to help feed babies. Five cents will help feed a child for a week. And I hope to do more benefits for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS. I would like to get a float for Pride for Broadway Cares and get local actors to ride in it and just bring awareness to it. Both are very dear to my heart.
Be sure to catch Ingrid in Motherhood the Musical opening September 22 at 14thStreet Playhouse. The show runs through November 20 with shows on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., and matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are available online now at http://www.woodruffcentertickets.org/, by calling 404-733-4738 or at the Woodruff Center’s Box Office, located at 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, 30309, Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Group discounts of 10 or more are available by contacting Jennifer Ruffner at 888-440-6662 x1 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit http://www.motherhoodthemusical.com/.