Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival co-founder Marni Penning moved to New York three years ago to try her luck on stage and screen. She returns to Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival to star as irrepressible Kate in The Taming of the Shrew (Sept. 18-Oct. 12) and to help celebrate its 10th anniversary season. Shrew marks her 45th Shakespearian production.
What's Kate's girl power? Kate is one of the original feminists. She wants to be under her own power, responsible for herself.
Does she have a happy ending? She goes about her crusade a little too recklessly at first so no one takes her seriously, but once she learns to use her feminine wiles wisely, she triumphs in the end.
Why is she the one? "Marni Penning is a fantastic actress who portrays both beauty and intelligence with grace, all the while with an undercurrent of passion that makes her a powerhouse. It's a terrific match!" says director Nick Rose.
Your five-year plan? After Shrew, I'll head back to New York and focus on my voice-over career. I've also started doing some film and television work, including a small role in Julia Roberts' new film Mona Lisa Smile, which is due out in December. I'm in the trailer three times!
I already support myself fully as an actor now, and I've only been (in New York) three years - I hope to continue exceeding my expectations!
Favorite place to hear live music: Kaldi's Coffee House. I love the intimate feel there. I'm a mellow music appreciator, as well as a bookworm and aspiring writer. The atmosphere there is perfect.
Favorite Graeter's flavor: Amaretto Crunch in a sugar cone. I love the almond flavor, and crunchy things. And it's pink! What could be better?
How high are your heels? I walk everywhere in New York, so low heels are the most comfortable. But because I'm only 5-2 (and my boyfriend's 6-1) it's fun to party in four-inch pumps once in a while.
What's next? I've started writing. I'm working on a couple of new play ideas that I'll flesh out. There's also a possibility of mounting my own one-woman show in New York. Right now, I'll just keep an open mind and lots of irons in the fire. But before I leave Cincinnati, I'll get one last bratwurst from the guy on Fountain Square. You can't get good brats outside of Cincinnati.
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