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Connecticut Theatre Company

Spotlight On: Susan Bailey



Connecticut Theatre Company’s “Spotlight On…” series continues with a look into our talented cast and crew of Cabaret. Get to know Susan Bailey who is portraying Fraulein Schneider!



Introduce Yourself to Our Audience:

I am playing Fraulein Schneider in “Cabaret” and am very happy to be back for my second production at CTC. In the spring I was in their production of “Calendar Girls”, playing the antagonist, Marie. It’s been great fun swapping out Marie’s Yorkshire accent for the fraulein’s German one


Why did you want to be involved in this production?

“Cabaret” is one of those keystone musicals in the American canon that tells a powerful story, yet it’s the kind of show where each production is unique and I wanted to be a part of that creative process. I also think it is an especially important show politically.  A cautionary tale that resonates in our own time.


How do you prepare for a new role or character, and what techniques do you use?

I love developing a character’s back story. This fuels the motivations for the things the character does, and the decisions she makes as she moves through the story.


What do you love about your character?

As she will tell you — she is a survivor. Still, hers is a tender and bittersweet story as she has spiraled lower and lower in life from youth to old age. Then comes a last chance at happiness, …


What challenges did you face bringing the script to life?

My own life is not much like Schneider’s, still, I needed to draw from things in my own experience to align with her emotional ups and downs to help me play her in a meaningful way. And boy does she have ups and downs!


Who do you look up to (as an actor/director/etc.)?

At the moment, I’m inspired by Bebe Neuwirth.  As  an older actor myself, I am inspired by her current work in things like the Julia Child biopic, “Julia” where Neuwirth was wonderful as Child’s close friend, Avis DeVoto; and, of course, her current turn as Fraulein Schneider in the revival of “Cabaret” now on Broadway!


What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage / the curtain goes up?

Before the show starts I start running the first act in my head. This allows me the get up to speed so I can hit the ground running when the curtain opens.


What is your favorite film or theater production and why?

I’d have to say my heart is with the stage production of “Come From Away” at the moment. Having seen it a couple times, in different places, I think it is a near-flawlessly built show. Then, of course, there is the utterly compelling story. As we know, it is about the week after the 9/11 attacks, when the small, Canadian town of Gander opened its arms to the world to help thousands of stranded airline passengers.

It means a great deal to me because not only are there many pilots in my family, but as a child, I lived for a time in Newfoundland, and even visited Gander in the days when it was still a US air base.  I grew to love Newfies and understand the people and personalities seen in Come From Away. The minute a CT theatre adds it to their season, I’m in!


Cabaret opens July 19th and runs through August 4th at Connecticut Theatre Company. Tickets on sale now!


“A stunning musical… this marionette’s-eye view of a time and place in our lives that was brassy, wanton, carefree and doomed to crumble is brilliantly conceived.”– Walter Kerr, The New York Times

“Stunning… a masterpiece of musical theater penned as a cautionary tale and not at all leavened by the embrace of paradox.” – Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune