Katie Klaus’s credits as a Broadway actor include The Bridges of Madison County, Bonnie and Clyde, A Catered Affair, and Inherit the Wind. Her first show at Near West Theatre, while she was a student at Brunswick High School, was Brigadoon (2001). She graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2006 with a degree in musical theater.
1. What’s one strong early Near West Theatre memory you have?
Warmups with Stephanie Morrison Hrbek and Bob Navis are a memory I won’t ever forget. I was nervous to join NWT, but after Stephanie and Bob got in front of the cast and wiggled around with no inhibitions, my nerves instantly melted away. It was so freeing to be around them and the cast.
2. Now that you’re a professional actor, what’s something that sticks with you even now from your Near West Theatre days? I always bring myself into my work. NWT gave me a safe place to shatter my boundaries and explore who I am. Because I learned that freedom, the work I do as an actor has a uniqueness found only in trusting yourself and
the people around you to create something wonderful together. This is a gift from NWT I am very grateful for.
3. What’s your hope for Near West Theatre now that we’re about to open our long-awaited new building and a new chapter in our history?
I hope that the summer shows won’t have to perform in 100-degree heat anymore! (just kiddin’!) Although that will be a welcomed perk, I know the NWT, with the group it was when I was there and the people it consistently attracts to do shows, will always give people a place to let their creativity fly free and grow. My hope is that it reaches an even wider group of people in Ohio and shows them what a unique and amazing place it is. Ohio needs more places like Near West Theatre.
— Hans Holznagel
Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing operating support from the Ohio Arts Council, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences. A version of this article was also featured in the January 2015 edition of Near West Theatre’s monthly e-newsletter, The Near West Circle.