This week Playbill catches up with Caissie Levy, currently part of the cast of the world premiere of the new musical The Bedwetter, based on Sarah Silverman's best-selling memoir and featuring a book by Joshua Harmon and Silverman with lyrics by Silverman and Adam Schlesinger, who also composed the music. Directed by Anne Kauffman, the Atlantic Theater Company production plays the Linda Gross Theater.
It's been a busy season for Levy, who was also seen on Broadway in the recent, Tony-nominated revival of Caroline, or Change. Her other Main Stem credits include Elsa in Frozen, Fantine in Les Misérables, Molly in Ghost (also in London), Sheila in Hair (also in London), Elphaba in Wicked, and Penny in Hairspray as well as Maureen in the national tour of Rent. Off-Broadway audiences have also seen the Canadian native in The Public's First Daughter’s Suite and MTC's Murder Ballad. Levy's solo EP is entitled With You.
What is your typical day like now?
Every day is hectic but wonderful. My husband and I are up overnight once or twice with our baby girl (maybe not always wonderful?) and then again for the day around 6 AM when our six-year-old son wakes us all up serenading us with various Disney hits and/or asking questions about hurricanes and tsunamis. Very into weather right now. After we get him on the bus to school, our incredible nanny comes and takes over with the baby, and then my husband and I head to work—me to rehearsal for The Bedwetter and he to Stockton University, where he's a theatre professor. I rehearse all day and then jump right into dinner/bath/bedtime with the kids, although we begin tech this week, so I'll start being gone until late night again. It's mayhem for sure, but pretty great mayhem.
You were on Broadway earlier this season in Caroline, or Change. What was it like to return to the rehearsal room/stage following the shutdown?
It was surreal and strange and very emotional. In some ways it felt like we had been there all along. But so much life had been lived...I had another child, I moved out of the city, the world changed so much—we were all different when we came back to the show, and as a result, it deepened and freed up everyone's work in a beautiful way.
Do you have a favorite memory, either onstage or backstage from Caroline?
John Cariani and I were always commenting on how much fun and how satisfying Caroline was to do each night—which is not what we would have guessed going into it. Because it's such an intense piece, we got completely ridiculous with each other backstage. John was my partner in every sense during our run; we really leaned on each other. My favorite moments with him were improving into my various phone calls throughout the show—we had some fun with those moments. Chip Zien and I joked around constantly—adore that man. There was a lot of hiding and scaring people backstage, which is my absolute favorite. Sammie Williams and I got creative in our dressing room hiding on each other, but my crowning achievement is that I once hid in the bathroom of Sharon [D Clarke]'s dressing room with a crazy mask over my head and jumped out at her at the end of the show. She screamed bloody murder, and I was very proud of myself.
Tell me a bit about the role you will be playing in The Bedwetter.
I play Sarah's mother, Beth Ann. She loves her kids and is navigating a tough relationship with her ex-husband, all while dealing with her own mental health issues. She's bedridden for this chapter of her life and dealing with some trauma. She finds comfort in escaping into her favorite movies and TV shows. Just like all the characters we meet in this show, she's doing the best she can. The show is hilarious and heartfelt, and I think it's very special.
Are there any parts of the role or the musical that seem particularly poignant/relevant following the events of the past two years?
The issues of mental health, depression, and anxiety were front and center for so many of us over the last couple years, and I think now, more than ever, Beth Ann and Sarah's stories will resonate even more with audiences.
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?
That although work has begun, nothing has been solved yet. We still have a long road ahead to get to more equitable, inclusive spaces, and we all have to use our voices ongoingly to advocate for what's right.
What, if anything, did you learn about yourself during the past two years that you didn't already know?
Having theatre taken away from us for a time showed me not just how deeply I love it and missed it, but also how valuable my time with my friends and family truly is. I've learned more about creating balance in my life and that sometimes saying yes too often costs too much.
Do you have any other stage or screen projects in the works?
I'm starting to develop an idea or two with some of my favorite theatre makers, but it's early stages at the moment. I'm always traveling for concert work and will be heading to Tokyo in July for some shows and on a Playbill cruise this fall with some dear friends, which I'm very excited about. And, of course, still trying to book that perfect dark comedy indie vibe TV show...