Victoria Clark has come a long way since she graced the Hockaday stage as Auntie Mame. She’s been in 12 Broadway plays and musicals, off-Broadway plays and musicals, and films and television shows. During her acceptance speech after winning the Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical for “The Light in the Piazza” in 2005, she said, “Thank you for not giving this role to Glenn Close or Cher.” Clark received Tony nominations for starring roles in “Gigi”, “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” and “Sister Act.” She won a festival award for Best Director in 2016. A graduate of Yale, she returned to Dallas in May for the 2018 Dallas Summer Musicals High School Musical Theatre Awards to receive the Fullinwider Award, honoring her impact on the Dallas theater community. Clark lives in Manhattan with her husband, Tom Reidy, and has a 24-year-old son, T.L. Guest.
How was the DSM High School Musical Theatre Awards?
Every year they ask the recipient of the award to perform. I said, “I’d love to sing with the students.” We did the opening number from the “The Light in the Piazza,” and I sang it with all the nominees for leading actress in the musical. We staged the number with 20 of the students, and they did an incredible job.
What are your memories of Hockaday?
It was an incredible place. It’s was the ’70s so it was right in the peak years of the women’s movement. We had speaker after speaker come tell us to grab our power, be leaders and be amazing. Every time we turned around, there was someone else telling us we could do whatever we wanted. It was an off-the-chart education — incredible teachers, incredible support systems, amazing students. I feel lucky that I grew up in Dallas.
What neighborhood did you live in?
Greenway Parks. It was like the stepsister of Highland Park. But after going back and looking at the two neighborhoods, I thought, “Hey Greenway Park, you’ve come up. You’re sassy and glorious now.”
What are you working on now?
A million things. I have a piece that I wrote. It’s a play with music, and I’m connecting with theaters so I can perform it. I’m developing several original musicals as a director and collaborating on a couple of revivals and off-Broadway productions that I can’t talk about because they haven’t been announced.
What’s your daily routine?
We recently adopted a golden retriever from Beijing. I wake up early, then I am out with the dog romping through parks in Upper Manhattan and going to puppy parties. After that I just tackle the day as it unfolds. I have about 10 projects I’m working on that are all unfolding between June 4 of this year and March of 2020.
Are you still teaching?
Yes. I’m going to do a residency this fall at Duke, and I teach privately in my studio at home. Whenever I have free time, I like to teach at universities and conservatories and keep in touch with the educational part of my journey so that I continue to learn but also pass on information to young actors.
What advice do you give to your students?
I try to inspire young people and give them support. I let them know, “What you’re thinking about is possible. Stick with it. It’s an unpredictable business, but you have to be patient and kind with yourself and let this life unfold.” Sometimes the doors that open are not the doors that we expect. I expected to be a director when I was 23, and suddenly performing doors started opening to me.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Call your mother at least once a week. There were periods when I thought, “My mom will understand if I don’t check in.” But now that I’m a mom, I see how important it is to know how your kid is doing. She was very brave.
How would you like to be remembered?
My grandmother always said the most important quality in a person is kindness, which is different than niceness. Nice is a generic word that doesn’t mean a lot. I would like to be remembered as someone who was both intelligent and kind — someone who was passionate about telling good stories that make a difference and impact people on a personal level. Performing, directing and writing are all storytelling. They are different vehicles for telling impactful stories.
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