My favorite thing in the world is to connect with people, break the fourth wall, improvise, make people laugh, and talk directly to the audience. Cabaret is basically everything I like to do, all in one.
As a new mom, you must be pretty busy. Any parenting tips?
Be here now. If I start thinking about stuff I have to do instead of what I’m doing with Ella right now, I miss things. I keep reminding myself that she’s not going to be this age forever. One day she’s going to grow up and I’m going to miss this time. So I try not to wish it away, even though I’m exhausted.
When you were a kid, your parents wouldn’t let you audition for professional theater productions, even though you grew up right outside New York City. Why not?
They wanted me to be a normal kid. Also, I was really tall, and looked a lot older than I was. I was as tall as I am now (5-foot-7) and looked like a woman when I was 11. I couldn’t have played, say, Annie. I would either have been asked to play adult roles that were beyond my understanding, or I would have been rejected. I think they were trying to spare me that.
Were you the queen of your high school theater department?
There were no theater kids at my high school. I had 89 kids in my graduating class, and nobody cared about theater except me. When I was a junior, the principal suggested that I do a half-day at school, and then take a bus into New York City and go to acting class. So as a senior, I started working at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey. It became a lifeline for me.
Who told you you’d make a great Melania?
I was on The Late Show before the election, and they put up side-by-side photos of Melania and me. Then after the Republican National Convention, I got frantic calls and emails from them, asking if I could do a full impersonation—like, right away. At the time, it was scary because I’d never really heard her talk. But five hours later, I was doing it.
What’s your take on her?
I try not to be mean to her in my impersonations. Instead, I use her as a vehicle to satirize her husband. I don’t want to be cruel to her, because I think of her as America. We’re all reluctantly married to Donald Trump now. She is us, and we are her.