This week Playbill catches up with Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, who originated the role of Delia in the Tony-nominated musical Beetlejuice, which returned to Broadway in April at its new home, the Marquis Theatre.
Kritzer, who received a Drama Desk Award nomination for her work in the musical based on the film of the same name, has also been seen on Broadway in Something Rotten!, Elf, Sondheim on Sondheim, Legally Blonde (Clarence Derwent Award), A Catered Affair (Drama Desk nomination), and Hairspray, while her Off-Broadway credits include The Robber Bridegroom (Lucille Lortel Award, Drama League, and Astaire Award nominations), Gigantic (Lucille Lortel nomination), ROOMS: A Rock Romance (Outer Critics Circle nomination), The Memory Show, Nobody Loves You, and The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Drama Desk nomination). Her screen credits include First Lady, Bridge & Tunnel, New Amsterdam, Slugfest, Difficult People, Kevin Can Wait, Younger, Vinyl, and Law & Order: SVU.
What is your typical day like now?
They are always changing. The only thing that is constant for the most part is getting on the train to work everyday. One day I can have a few auditions, laundry, taking care of my mom and doing errands. Then the next I could be at a Mets game with my best friend and husband, getting tapas afterwards, and watching TV. I just roll with it!
What was it like returning to the Beetlejuice rehearsal room for the first time following the pandemic?
It was an emotional experience and also surreal. To see our Beetlejuice family, some new and returning cast, was such a joy. It sort of felt like coming home.
Are there any parts of your role or the musical that seem particularly poignant/relevant following the events of the past two years?
I sing a song in the show called "No Reason," and many of the lyrics really resonate with me. I have had major loss and illness in my family over the past few years. Putting things in perspective is so important. Singing this song in the show actually forces me in the moment to remind myself to look at the positive, and when I'm in a pessimistic dark place, to turn it around. I can choose that. I have so much to be grateful for, and remembering that is so key in my life.
What would you say to audience members who may be feeling uneasy about returning to live theatre?
I understand where they are coming from. I do feel, however, we need to find a way to move through this, but everyone needs to feel comfortable. I think getting vaccinated and boosted is so important to getting through this.
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 artists, audiences) to be aware of? What do you want them to consider further?
I think a lot of action has taken place already, and there is more to come. Inclusion and awareness are key to moving forward in this industry. I'm excited for the future and especially the younger generation of people who are really the ones pushing for change. We have learned a lot from them. The model in which we have operated under doesn't work anymore because the people want change, and that is how it will get done. It's time.
What, if anything, did you learn about yourself during the past two years that you didn't already know?
I like alone time and quiet time. I am usually a workaholic and get antsy when I'm not doing something. The pandemic taught me how to slow down because I literally didn't have a choice, and I really liked that.
Do you have any other stage or screen projects in the works?
I do have a project I'm writing based on the Ghislaine Maxwell trial I attended this past year. I am excited about that! I'm also playing recurring characters on Epix's Bridge and Tunnel, NBC's New Amsterdam and was just in The First Lady on Showtime as Martha Graham. More stuff to come, but I don't like to jinx anything.
What organization would you recommend people learn more about or donate to during this time of change?
Black Theatre United, Black Lives Matter, ACLU, The Loveland Foundation, The Trevor Project, The Jed Foundation.