Katie Diamond has written, produced, and starred in numerous musical and cabaret shows in her 20-year career, most notably as Lorraine in Jersey Boys on Broadway. Raised in Seattle, Diamond attended the New England Conservatory of Music, eventually making her way to New York City and then to Ridgefield, with husband Bill and three children. She is co-founder and executive producer of ACT, A Contemporary Theater, set to stage its first show this June.
How did you get onto Broadway? I started in Seattle—in choir at age seven and in theater at ten. Eventually I tapped out Seattle and headed to New York.
Was that a struggle? I got my first job three weeks after moving there!
Ever wait tables? Oh, yeah, in Seattle and in Boston. Then I wised up and worked in a spa, much nicer surroundings, at the Ritz Carlton.
What has been your favorite show to perform in? Jersey Boys, no doubt. It’s a rock concert every night.
What brought you to Ridgefield? The third baby! We had to leave New York. Bill works in Mt. Kisco. I knew about the Aldrich and the Playhouse and a thriving arts scene. And I wanted to be able to walk into town.
Why create a theater? Why not? Let’s put on a show! A town of this caliber should have a professional theater. It’s always been a dream of mine. I wrote a play in Seattle and directed too, but in New York I only performed. I also want my friends to be able to work.
Tell me about ACT. ACT will bring Broadway caliber theater, executed by Broadway professionals, to Ridgefield.
In the Schlumberger auditorium? Yes, we are a contemporary theater, and it is a contemporary building. It goes together. It’s being totally renovated. The lobby is beautiful, with cool slanted windows. We took apart the long maple benches and are using the wood to create a pattern on the walls. It will look good and provide sound absorption. And for $250 you can put your name on one! For $1,000 you can name a seat.
Why not use the Ridgefield Playhouse? We love the Playhouse, and my ACT partner Dan Levine is artistic director there. They put on 250 shows a year, and they just can’t carve out a month for us.
Tell me about the first season. I’m proud to announce it here for the first time. We have Mamma Mia!, June 7 to June 24. Our gala is June 9. We have Evita in October. Then Working in February and March. This is a Stephen Schwartz production. We will do one of his shows a year for the first four seasons. We are thrilled and honored to have him, and he is excited to be part of ACT. Then we have the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Such a fun and funny show.
Can you get big names to come here? Actors always want to work. Once they see how amazing Ridgefield is, they’ll never want to leave. We are an Equity theater—the union all professional actors are part of—so we need to hire a certain number for each show. It’s very exciting.