As Broadway and Off-Broadway begin to reopen, Playbill is reaching out to artists to see how they are physically and creatively responding to a changed world.
The series continues with Sharlene Cruz, who is making her New York Theatre Workshop debut in Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok’s Sanctuary City, which resumed performances at Off-Broadway’s Lucille Lortel Theatre September 8 prior to an official opening September 21. The recent City College of New York graduate originated the role of Witch 3 in Erica Schmidt’s Mac Beth at the Lucille Lortel and reprised the role at Hunter Theater Project. Cruz's other credits include The Climb at Cherry Lane Theater, Den of Thieves at Harlem Repertory Theater, and BLU at Aaron Davis Hall.
Cruz co-stars with Jasai Chase-Owens and Austin Smith in Sanctuary City, about two DREAMers negotiating the promise of safety and the weight of responsibility in America.
What is your typical day like now?
Very uneventful! Just lots of preparing for Sanctuary City since previews start September 8!
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
If you’re looking to escape, there’s about 900 episodes of One Piece and seven seasons of Love Island.
How did this part come about?
I did a show at the Cherry Lane that Martyna Majok mentored. Then I got an offer to read Sanctuary City at NYSAF. And, a month-ish after that, I got an offer to play the part for NYTW.
Tell me a little about the role you will be playing in Sanctuary City.
G’s playlist consists of Slipknot’s entire self-titled album and 2000's Outkast.
How do you feel about returning to live performances?
So ready. I saw Pass Over the other night. Just walking into the theatre was emotional. Pure joy.
What would you say to audience members who may be feeling uneasy about returning to a theatre?
No rush. Take your time. The theatre will always be there.
During this time of reflection and re-education regarding BIPOC artists and artistry, particularly in the theatre, what do you want people (those in power, fellow actors, audiences) to be aware of? What do you want them to consider further?
To those in power—an email blast claiming solidarity is not enough.
What advice would you give to someone who may still be struggling with the isolation and/or the current unrest?
I’m struggling right with you, so I have no advice!!