“I think my personality lends itself to ensembles” – Anna Chlumsky
Though the new season of HBO’s Veep doesn’t premiere until April, Anna Chlumsky, who plays the Vice President’s Chief of Staff on the show, has been busy on Broadway. She took over for Rose Byrne in You Can’t Take It With You on January 6, and after that production closes on February 22 she’ll jump into Living on Love, which begins previews on April 1. In an interview with Broadway.com, Chlumsky spoke about working with ensemble casts, why she always welcomes a new acting challenge, and what convinced her to pursue acting in the first place.
Chlumsky has earned rave reviews for her role in the ensemble comedy Veep, which translated to her stage role in the ensemble of You Can’t Take It With You. On acting in an ensemble cast, Chlumsky says, “I think my personality lends itself to ensembles, but also I’m sure my personality has been shaped by being in so many ensembles. The fact that I was jumping right in with few rehearsals into this play—the day after we wrapped Veep—I was confident I could handle it because Veep is so fast-paced.”
While the ensembles are similar, the content of Veep and You Can’t Take It With You are obviously very different. For Chlumsky, it gives her the opportunity to work a different set of acting muscles. She explains, “For me, it was an opportunity to go in the direction that I hadn’t played in a while. When you’re playing a [TV] role for a couple of months every single day it’s exciting to have a different role to fill in the gaps that you haven’t been filling for the past few months. This kind of feels like, ‘Oh goody, I get to say hello to all those other parts of me for a second.’ I love it when that happens.”
Acting on stage every day is a huge difference from what Chlumsky did before. She recalls her pre-acting days working as an editorial assistant at Harper Collins and what convinced her to pursue a career as an actress, saying, “When I was an editorial assistant for science fiction and fantasy that really is cool. That’s fun, and it’s creative. You get to read about princesses and goblins from nine to five every day, but that was my big realization: then why am I still not happy? That definitely made me realize I should be doing something else.”