Tara Martino joins MPT for the first time as Elle Woods' nemesis, Vivienne Kensington. Keep reading to learn more about Tara, what she admires about Vivienne, and why she's well known at Red Lobster!
Are you a Madison native? If not, what brought you to the area?
I was born and raised in the north-west suburbs of Chicago and came to Madison to attend UW.
Have you done a show with Middleton Players before? If so, which one(s)? If not, what made you audition for this season?
This is my first show with MPT and I’m so excited! I had seen a few of Middleton’s previous productions (Seussical, Ragtime, A Chorus Line) and was so impressed. I knew I wanted to be a part of one of the shows and Legally Blonde was the perfect one to start off with because it is so much fun and high energy.
How do you prepare for auditions?
Typically I have a few “go-to” songs that I’ll rehearse through a few times before I’m ready to audition. I like to visualize the room, the people, and how it will go – I try to imagine that it all goes well! Usually that helps to alleviate any nerves. I also have the philosophy of going in and leaving it all on the table – that way directors will know just how much crazy is packed inside my head and they can choose to reel it in or not (I was always told it’s easier to tell someone to do less than it is to get them to do more).
What do you enjoy about your Legally Blonde character Vivienne Kensington?
I love that Vivienne is unapologetic. You may love her or you may hate her, but either way, you know you’re getting the real thing. She is smart, confident, sassy, and ultimately is able to apologize when she knows she’s in the wrong – that’s pretty admirable and not something that comes easily to all of us strong-willed females.
What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?
Getting to know the other cast members. The community aspect of theatre is always what brings me back. The rehearsal process can be demanding and stressful but the people and relationships make it all worthwhile.
What is your favorite theatrical work?
I’m a sucker for a good belt musical so I’d probably go with Thoroughly Modern Millie. Not to mention that the 1920’s has always been my favorite era and tap my favorite kind of dance, so it marries 3 of my favorite things into one hilarious and action packed show.
What was your strangest experience in theatre?
I performed with a group in college called the Wisconsin Singers. We would tour around the state and country performing for communities and doing workshops with local students. A couple of summers ago I was recognized in a Red Lobster as being “one of the singers” as if I was some kind of notable celebrity. That was pretty strange and has not happened since!
What do you do when you’re not performing/working in the theatre? Do you have a daytime job?
I work in Human Resources as a recruiter for Epic, a large healthcare tech company in Verona (you’ve probably heard of it). I work with a small team to source and interview all of the wonderful employees who end up working for the company.
What would you like MPT audiences to know about Legally Blonde?
There is a lot more substance than meets the eye. This show is fun, engaging, and light but it will also send you home with a wonderful message about being true to yourself and setting your dreams beyond even what you think you’re capable of.
Give us a fun fact about yourself—do you have any special/hidden talents?
I can’t make a peace sign with my left hand…there’s something wrong with it. The right one is totally fine but for some reason, my left hand doesn’t want to do it. Ask me – I’ll show you!