Actor and producer Heather Cunningham is a study in passion. She lives two lives as many who are passionate do — she works a normal day-job and lives by night her real life. The life that puts her front and center on stage at the Workshop Theater Company’s Mainstage Theatre (312 West 36th Street, NYC).
In a recent interview, Cunningham reveals that a stage manager once told her she was born in a trunk and it’s not far from the mark. Both of her parents were devoted to theater and her mother furthered that love by becoming a professor of theater. “I…remember napping in [the] last row [of the theatre], coming in and out of consciousness during a rehearsal of some beautiful people on the stage going through a scene. It was as home to me as the home where my stuffed animals were.”
Cunningham is the the lead actor in the currently running play “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg”. (Watch the trailer below!!) In her own words Cunningham describes it this way: “[It’s] a dark comedy about a couple trying to deal with the hardest kind of parenthood – their only daughter has cerebral palsy, is wheelchair bound and cannot communicate – and their marriage is on the brink from the stress of her afflictions.”
Cunningham’s favorite line in the play revolves around a triumph of her daughter when the child was 12 months old. Cunningham shares, “I’ve been told her entire life that she is a “vegetable.” Now I’m reminiscing about a time when she was just 12 months old or so and she saw a stack of colored plastic bricks and managed to knock them down. Part of the memory is, of course, the incredible labor it took the child to manage this feat. The line: “A vegetable couldn’t have done that!” is so filled with pride in the child and despair for her illness and disgust for and anger towards the doctors who for ten years have said she will never improve. It’s a cocktail of emotions, a roller coaster in one line…”
And, yeah — I know Heather Cunningham!! She’s funny, fabulous and a great actor. Check out A Day in the Death of Joe Egg!