Much Ado About Martha Wilkinson

Martha Wilkinson as Leonata

Martha Wilkinson as Leonata. Photo by Rick Malkin.

Likelihood is that if you’re an avid theater-goer (and even if you’re a casual one) here in Nashville, you’ve been privileged to see one of Martha Wilkinson’s performances. She’s a woman about town but can often be found onstage with the Tennessee Repertory Theatre and at Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theatre (where she is also the Artistic Director). Much Ado About Nothing is her second production with us, the first being the role of the Nurse in last summer’s Romeo & Juliet.

Interview conducted by Marketing and Development Intern Blythe Cate. Capital letters and emoticons are Martha’s.

Martha’s role in Much Ado: Leonata, the governor of Messina and owner of Leonata’s Supper Club.

What does it take to be a great actor?
PERSEVERANCE, LISTENING, CONTINUE GROWING, A THICK SKIN AND TEAM WORK. AND OF COURSE, TALENT. : )

Where do you find inspiration?
GREAT FILM ACTORS, EXERCISE AND RESEARCH. AND MY DAD WAS A FILM & TV ACTOR FOR 20 YRS. I GLEAN A LOT FROM SEEDS OF WISDOM HE INSTILLED 🙂

What is your most marked characteristic?
MY HUMOR

What would surprise me to know about you?
I WATCH SONS OF ANARCHY AND I DON’T HAVE A TATTOO

What is your favorite thing to do in Nashville?
THRIFT STORE SHOPPING FOR FAB VINTAGE FINDS. AND MARGARITAS AT ROSEPEPPER!!

What is your favorite Shakespeare play?
TWELFTH NIGHT

Which Shakespeare character would you most like to play?
QUICKLY IN HENRY IV OR MARIA IN TWELFTH NIGHT

And which Shakespeare character do you most identify with?
MARIA – I LOVE A GOOD TRAMPY BROAD ; )

What is your favorite line in Much Ado About Nothing?”
“WHAT THE GOOD YEAR ?”( CONRAD)

MY FAVE LEONATA LINE IS : “BUT WHEN YOU DEPART FROM ME, SORROW ABIDES AND HAPPINESS TAKES HIS LEAVE.”

Martha as "Nurse" in Romeo & Juliet (2011)

Martha as “Nurse” in Romeo & Juliet (2011)

What talent would you most like to have?
JUGGLING & TAP DANCING

Who would you like to engage in conversation (living or dead)?
MY DAD ( HE’S DEAD : /) AND ROBERT DOWNEY JR

How were you introduced to Shakespeare in the Park?
AT A PARTY OVER COCKTAILS : )

IVE BEEN IN NASHVILLE AS A WORKING ACTOR FOR 26 YRS AND HAVE KNOWN DENICE FOR LO’ THESE MANY YEARS. SO I WAS AWARE OF NSF, OF COURSE. I HADN’T EVER AUDITIONED FOR THEM UNTIL LAST YR (2011) WHEN DAVID WILKERSON ASKED ME TO COME TO CALLBACKS FOR R & J [Romeo & Juliet] AND I WAS CAST AS THE NURSE : ) AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH! I THINK ITS A BLAST AND SO VERY NEEDED IN OUR CITY!

This production of Much Ado is set in the 1940’s. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned about this time period during rehearsals?
STYLE & ATTITUDE. IT WAS SO IMPORTANT AND GRAND AND RICH IN THE 40’S! I WISH WE STILL CARED AS MUCH AS PEOPLE DID THEN ABOUT HOW WE DRESSED

And most importantly: What is your favorite picnic food?
DEVILED EGGS

To learn more about Martha read this great write-up over at Broadwayworld.com and then vote for your favorite Martha role!

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