CUE & A: Disgraced Star Karen Pittman on the Challenges of the Project, Her Cooking Skills and Beyonce | Playbill

News CUE & A: Disgraced Star Karen Pittman on the Challenges of the Project, Her Cooking Skills and Beyonce Karen Pittman, who stars as Jory in the Broadway production of Ayad Akhtar's Disgraced, fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Karen Pittman

Pittman has appeared on Broadway in Good People and Passing Strange. Other theatre work includes Domesticated (Mitzi Newhouse/ LCT), Disgraced (LCT3), When Last We Flew (Fringe), Love in the Wars (Bard College/SummerScape), Neat (Kitchen Theatre) and Two Things (Denver Center Theater, world premiere).

Screen work includes "Blacklist" (NBC), "The Americans" (FX), "House of Cards" (Netflix), "The Good Wife" (CBS), "Law & Order" (NBC), "Law & Order: SVU" (NBC), "White Collar" (USA), "30 Rock" (NBC), "Kings" (NBC), "Medium" (CBS), "The Rewrite," "Begin Again," "The Bourne Legacy" and "Last Night."

Full given name: Karen Pittman
Where you were born/where you were raised: I was born in Mississippi and raised in Nashville, TN. A true steel magnolia.
Zodiac Sign: Aries
What your parents did/do for a living: Both my parents were scientists and educators.
Siblings: I have three sisters and one brother.
Special skills: Unlike my character in Disgraced, I'm an excellent cook (and always give my kids homemade hot chocolate. NEVER macaroni and cheese from a box.)
Something you're REALLY bad at: I have a very hard time receiving a compliment. It's awkward.
First Broadway show you ever saw: Frankie and Johnny (at the Claire de Lune) with Stanley Tucci and Edie Falco. I still have the poster. (Also produced by Araca)
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Original Porgy and Bess
Current or recent show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Our Lady of Kibeho by Katori Hall (I read the script. It's gonna kill you...)
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "Ladies Who Lunch" by Stephen Sondheim
Some favorite modern playwrights: Ayad Akhtar (I mean...), Bruce Norris, Lynn Nottage, Amy Herzog
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would have most loved to perform with: Lena Horne, Sammy Davis Jr.
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: Viola Davis in Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Hip Hop Gospel (seriously), Yo Yo Ma, the overture to Porgy and Bess
Your personal acting idols: Ruby Dee, Diana Ross, Viola Davis, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep
MAC or PC? Totally MAC
Most played song on your iPod: "XO" by Beyonce
Most-visited websites:,, and of course!
Last book you read: "Fire Shut Up In My Bones" by Charles Blow (breathtaking)
Must-see TV show(s): "The Americans," "House of Cards," "OITNB"
Last good movie you saw: "Towheads" by Shannon Plumb - BRILLIANT!
Some films you consider classics: Most things by Spike Lee, Joel and Ethan Coen, Stanley Kubrick, Kurosawa
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Beyonce (I know, it's a cliche but I love her!)
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Perusing those glossy real estate mags in the Sunday Times with a ridiculously strong cup of coffee
Best holiday or birthday gift you ever received: A boyfriend used to give me jewelry from Tiffany's for every birthday/anniversary. Sometimes spectacular but mostly just small lovely trinkets...
Favorite Halloween costume you ever wore: Wonder Woman
Three favorite cities: Paris, Vancouver, Barcelona
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814"
First stage/screen kiss: Doesn’t every kiss feel like it's on stage or screen?
Favorite pre-/post-show meal: Chicken Caesar salad and a Diet Coke (Bond 45 is delicious!)
Favorite liquid refreshment: Sancerre (anytime of the year) or a margarita
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I read my script, brush my teeth, put on my makeup, do my hair. We circle up 5 minutes before show starts, and then I meditate for 10 minutes alone in my dressing room, lights off.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: I've got good Karma. Nothing crazy yet...
What drew you to this project? The story. It's original.
What has been the biggest challenge so far? Living through the last 4 minutes of Scene 3. Just living through it...
What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of this show/character? The most fulfilling part of this job is that I get to laugh with the audience. And then, make them giggle as well.
Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about? I could tell you-- but then I'd have to kill you.
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Frankie in Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune
Leading man role you've been dying to play: King Lear
Something about you that surprises people: I'm very claustrophobic. It's not debilitating but I do get anxious.
Three things you can't live without: Art, beauty, love
"I'll never understand why…" … people are mean.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Don't listen to advice. Listen to your heart.

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