Meet the Cast: Aimee Doherty

Meet the Cast: Aimee Doherty

February 25, 2015

Fresh off her Norton Award win last spring and her acclaimed performance in FAR FROM HEAVEN, actress Aimee Doherty returns to SpeakEasy Stage for our New England premiere production of BIG FISH, a new musical based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the beloved film directed by Tim Burton.  The show focuses on the contentious relationship between a traveling salesman who loves to tell tall tales, and his pragmatic son.   Aimee plays Sandra, wife to the salesman and mother to the boy who only wants to see his dad for who he truly is.

Recently we asked Aimee about the show and how she got her start.

Where is home these days?

Walpole, MA

And how many shows have you done now with SpeakEasy Stage?  

I’m proud to say this is my 6th show. SpeakEasy actually cast me in my very first professional show ever  – COMPANY – which was the very first production in the Roberts Studio Theatre. The others were  THE BUBBLY BLACK GIRL SHEDS HER CHAMELEON SKIN, THE WOMEN, NINE, and FAR FROM HEAVEN. And since my husband Jeff Mahoney was in THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, so I guess that makes us a SpeakEasy family.

How did you get your start as an actor?

My first stage role was playing Sandy in Grease in high school. They had never done a musical before and we sang over the movie soundtrack. It was amazing.

As someone who has done film, TV, commercials and any number of stage shows, what gig do you find most people recognize or remember you for?

It’s a tie between a National Floors Direct commercial that was shot in 5 minutes, paid me about $5, and ran for 5 years; and a Wayfair commercial that is still running. It’s nice that, because actors are nomads, so many of my friends  scattered all over the country  can always see me on TV trying to sell them furniture or flooring in the middle of the night.

What is the most strangest thing you have ever had to do onstage or on camera?

I played a singing, dancing teenage dinosaur opposite Mary Callanan and Steve Barkhimer. We sang a long patter song about pasta. That was pretty awkward and funny. Acting is glamorous.

Are you at all competitive with your husband, actor Jeff Mahoney?

Luckily we have only competed against each other for one role, Snoopy in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.  I ended up getting Snoopy. Jeff was Charlie Brown. I guess you could say I won, but, since I ended up playing my husband’s dog, maybe I lost.

What keeps you busy when you are not performing?

For three years, I kept my hand in my previous career by running a small environmental consulting firm out of my house. It got so I couldn’t do both, so I chose acting.

Tell us a bit about your role in BIG FISH.

I play Edward’s wife Sandra. I love her because I think she is the bridge between Edward, who is so wild, free, and fantastical and Will, their son, who is much more grounded and responsible. Sandra understands both worlds because she has both within her.

Is there a particular song or scene in the the show that is your favorite or resonates for you?

It’s hard to pick a favorite. Sam Simahk singing “Stranger” is worth the price of admission. “Time Stops” is also a favorite. It reminds me of that first time I fell in love (with Joey from the New Kids On The Block). There were so many different emotions at war with each other.

What’s it been like having composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa and book writer John August in the rehearsal room?

It’s very exciting and also nerve-wracking, but they have been nothing but super friendly and supportive. I am a big fan of them both, personally and professionally.

Since BIG FISH is in part a story about tall tales, is there anything that ever happened to you that others might fine unbelievable?

I was accidentally abducted by the police once. It was a snowy morning rush hour in February and I was heading into the office when a skidding car set off  a chain reaction. My car was totaled. I was waiting in the back of a police cruiser for the ambulance to come and check me out, when the police officer got a call, jumped in her car, and took off with me in the back seat. I was in a state of shock and she was on her phone; so I just sat there in silence for about a half an hour until she realized I was in the back of her car.

The show is very much a love story of sorts between a parent or child. Do you have a favorite memory or story of your Mom or Dad from your childhood?

I had a strange childhood. My mother passed away when I was six, so my younger sister and I were raised by a young father who made questionable, yet awesome parenting choices. I remember being taken on roller coasters even though I didn’t make the height requirements, taking rides in small airplanes and my father convincing the pilot to let me hold the controls, and riding to Washington DC and back with my sister in the back of a pickup truck. (No, nor in the cab –  just the back of the pickup truck sitting on bean bag chairs on top of a mattress.)   It was an exciting and very unconventional childhood and turned me into a bit of a daredevil. I don’t get to go skydiving or scuba diving or flying down a mountain on a snowboard as much as I once did, but being on stage fulfills the adrenaline junkie in me.

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