Actor Katy Geraghty wants more body diversity on Broadway
The triple-threat performer shares her journey playing Little Red Riding Hood in "Into the Woods" and the changes she wants to see in the theater community.
KATY GERAGHTY: I think we all need to check our own prejudices. Keep asking yourself the question, like, why did I think that?
I had a patron when I was playing Tracy at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and she said something along the lines of like you are such a brilliant dancer for your size. And I just stopped her, and I just said, ma'am, you can just say that I'm the best dancer on the stage because I am. That's it.
I'm Katy Geraghty. I am an actor based in New York City. I play Little Red on Broadway in "Into the Woods," and I am here with In the Know.
Little Red was always a huge dream role of mine, and this is my fifth round playing her. My first time I was nine.
So now to do it again at 28, I thought that I had outgrown it, honestly. I didn't even realize how much of a dream it was until I actually started doing it, and then it was overwhelming to say the least.
I got into theater really young. So when I was first doing theater, I was just like any other kid, which is just kind of like lanky and androgynous and, like, just small. It didn't occur to me until the first time that I was passed up for a role-- which wasn't because of size or anything like that. It was because it's a little boy. And I was just like all of a sudden starting to just not look like androgynous anymore.
But then Little Red was actually my first role that I played after I got that no, and she was so funny, and she was so sassy, and she got to eat in the show, and I got the biggest laughs. And I was like, oh, wait a second. Maybe the way that I look is a good thing, and this is how I get cast.
Also I will always, always, always credit the teachers that I had at that time. They never made it about my body ever. So for me, just because I had a bunch of people tell me that the way that my body was a good thing as it kept developing and I kept staying so active, it never felt wrong. So by the time somebody said their first really ugly thing to my face-- which was a teacher, of course, as it always is-- I just kind of knew that they were wrong.
I think right now when diversity is such a hot topic in Broadway, it drives me bonkers that we forget that size needs to be a part of that. I've used "Hamilton" as an example all the time. Like, yes, that show is incredibly diverse, but, like, you never see someone who is over a size six, especially female presenting, in that show. It's rare. We're kind of underestimating our audiences in that way. It's like, just let these people be people, and the audiences are not going to be offended by this. They're going to like it.
I think that we're moving in the right direction for sure. Broadway is definitely becoming more inclusive in so many wonderful ways, but the work just can't stop.