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Grace - Broadway

Paul Rudd and Michael Shannon star in Craig Wright's suspense.

Kate Arrington on Childhood Hair Memories and Co-Starring with Real-Life Love Michael Shannon in Grace

Kate Arrington on Childhood Hair Memories and Co-Starring with Real-Life Love Michael Shannon in Grace
Kate Arrington photographed by Jenny Anderson at Del Frisco's for Broadway.com
'I was blown away by Mike [Shannon] and the production—I felt like I couldn't breathe.'

Age & Hometown: 37; Raleigh, North Carolina

Current Role: A divine Broadway debut as Sara, a devout Christian housewife who has a monumental change of heart in Grace.

Let the Sunshine In: Growing up in the Bible Belt, Kate Arrington attended Bible camp, “not because I was Christian—it’s just what you did if you wanted to have friends.” At age six, she found a new group of pals in the North Carolina Theatre production of Camelot, starring two-time Tony nominee Terrence Mann as King Arthur. “I’ve probably done more plays with that man than anyone else,” says the actress, who also counts Broadway vet Lauren Kennedy among her childhood theater friends. To support her love of acting, Arrington’s dad, an English professor, took little Kate and her younger sister Louise to see a community theater production of Hair. “We were so loving it,” she recalls, “then, all of a sudden, they’re naked. Louise and I simultaneously burst into tears, and my dad had to carry us out!”

Love in Chicago: Arrington found her second home in Chicago—she was welcomed with open arms by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, starring in productions of The Violet Hour, The Well-Appointed Room and The Pain and the Itch. “It’s the best thing that could ever happen to you as an actor,” she raves of the star-making company. Accompanied by Steppenwolf pal Tracy Letts (currently starring in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway), the actress attended the Chicago mounting of Grace in 2006. The new play starred Michael Shannon, who appeared in Letts’ thrillers Bug and Killer Joe. “I was blown away by Mike and the production—I felt like I couldn't breathe,” Arrington says, giving Letts credit for bringing the actors together. Before long, Arrington and Shannon became a couple, moved to Brooklyn and had a daughter named Sylvia Grace.

Say Grace: For Arrington, the chance to star alongside her real-life partner on Broadway is surreal, to say the least. “Isn’t it bizarre?” the actress recalls asking Letts when he came to see Grace. While she admits it's a challenge for actor parents to raise a four-year-old while co-starring on Broadway, “The most important thing is for Sylvie to see that Mike and I are doing the things we love and for her to be involved in it,” Arrington says. Tech rehearsals doubled as family time, and Sylvie sat enrapt, watching her parents on stage. “She's the only one in the world who loves tech,” the actress says with a laugh. Aside from her fondness for one co-star in particular, Arrington calls Grace players Paul Rudd and Ed Asner “the greatest and sweetest human beings” in the world. “Everybody’s looking out for everybody. It’s really an ensemble,” she says. “I couldn’t be happier.”

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