Heather Smith: Tell us a little about yourself; born and raised? First interest in theatre
Dancing, singing, piano playing?
Donna Lynne Champlin: Born and raised in Rochester/>, NY-/>/>
Began dancing at 4yrs, piano at 7 yrs, flute at 9 yrs, singing at 11 yrs, but never really truly understood acting at all until I went to college at 18 yrs.
HS: You attended/trained at the acclaimed Carnegie/> Mellon/> University/>/>
Tell us a little about that experience
DLC: CMU was great for someone like me- I didn't need much sleep and thrived on stress. Seriously, the training was really wonderful, especially for music theatre majors (MT's) because we all got the same training as the "straight dramats" did. In addition to the basic training we had an additional 12- 15 hours a week of dance and voice training on top of it. Granted- we also got less hours a week to sleep and do our homework
. but I got a much fuller education as an MT at CMU than I would have gotten most anywhere else.
The best thing about CMU was that we were all required to study the classics and basic techniques in voice, speech and movement regardless of our specialties. I hated it then, but I'm so grateful for it now. I firmly believe that if you train classically in theatre- you can cross over into ANY other acting form. However, I don't believe it necessarily true the other way around.
HS: When you first came to Manhattan/>/>, you were playing piano at AMDA. What was that like?
DLC: Playing piano at AMDA was a fascinating experience. First of all it was a job I was extremely grateful to have. I was temping and working as a janitor (ugh) in a GYM (blech!) up until then and it was wonderful to get paid for something musical and creative. It felt like I was
."thisclose" to actually working as an actor, I guess.