Actress Kim Blanck ‘06: From “Bear Stage” to Broadway

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Kim Blanck ‘06 recently had her Broadway debut as Ruza Wenclawska in the show Suffs, covering the suffragist movement in America. 

Blanck fell in love with theater as a student at M-A, acting in several productions. Blanck said she was watching an M-A production of Othello when she decided to try theater. “It totally transfixed me,” she said, “I was so moved by the energy leaping off the stage and the way these actors honestly just looked like they were having the time of their lives.” 

She tried out for Little Shop of Horrors with a rendition of “Not for the Life of Me” from Thoroughly Modern Millie. Unfortunately, she was off to a rocky start; she said, “I thought I absolutely slayed. I didn’t get a part. But luckily I didn’t let that stop me: I kept auditioning and got roles in my junior and senior year, eventually directing a show off-campus in my final semester.”

“I love the collaborative aspect; I love that it cannot be done alone. It requires community and trust and I’ve yet to discover anything else that excites me in the way building a new theater piece does. Making theater encourages you to leap out of your comfort zone. Whether it’s in an audition or stepping onstage in front of an audience for the first time, it’s an absolute rush, and I never want to stop chasing that feeling of exhilaration. It feels like jumping off a diving board. I’m obsessed with it,” Blanck said.

Making theater encourages you to leap out of your comfort zone.

Blanck has acted and collaborated in the creation of many TV and stage productions such as East New York (CBS), The Tattooed Lady, and Alice by Heart. She got a BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch and an MFA in Acting from UCSD. After graduating, she worked with friends in New York. They did small shows in black boxes and sketch comedy shows across the city. Blanck said, “For the past 9 years, I’ve been lucky to work pretty steadily professionally both in New York and in regional theaters, and am thrilled to be originating a principal role in a Broadway musical (a longtime goal since my Thoroughly Modern Millie obsession days).”

Working on Broadway is all about the community, Blanck said, “You meet your people and just keep finding ways to hire each other. For example, the writer of Suffs, Shaina Taub, is an old friend from our college a cappella days. We’ve done lots of things together since then, but that was the seed of our friendship and longtime creative partnership: singing a cappella together when we were teenagers.”

Blanck isn’t the only M-A graduate on Broadway as alum Will Brill is starring in Stereophonic right across the street from the theater housing Suffs

So far, Suffs has been Blanck’s favorite project to date. “I’m especially proud to play an immigrant woman in this show, and one with a heavy accent who takes no s**t,” she said, “Ruza is Polish, but there’s so much of my Chinese mother living in my version of her, from her fiery rebuttals to her full-bodied cackle to an ‘ai-yah!’ I’ve slid in there.”

Blanck wants to make an impact with her art as well. Because the show is the story of young revolutionaries, it carries a powerful message. Blanck said, “I’m excited to be a part of this piece about the power of collective action: when we sing ‘The Young are at the Gates,’ I feel the energy of the young people right now using their voices all over the world to instigate change. It’s an honor to represent them even for a moment in this small way.”

Mackenzie is a junior at M-A and in her first year of journalism. She’s interested in writing about a variety of topics, especially those concerning our community here at school. She enjoys reading, hanging out with friends, doing art, and participating in theatre.

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