Post Playing Liza, Krysta Rodriguez Makes Ptown Debut this Weekend

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday September 23, 2021

Krysta Rodriguez
Krysta Rodriguez  

It takes a confident actress to take on the role of Liza Minnelli, but such an actress is Krysta Rodriguez, who starred as the iconic entertainer and Halston's muse in the Netflix limited series "Halston" from Ryan Murphy that starred the Emmy-winning Ewan McGregor in the title role.

"In Krysta Rodriguez (NBC's "Smash"), "Halston" has a spectacular Liza Minnelli," writes  André Hereford in the DC-based Metro Weekly. "She's not spectacularly exact in looking or singing like Liza Minnelli, but she's spectacularly good at being the Liza Minnelli of this story. Her zippy 'Liza with a Z,' performed during the live cabaret set where Halston first meets his beloved muse, sounds marvelous, and she's plenty convincing when setting her Fosse in motion. Dramatically speaking, Rodriguez captures Liza's warmth and unflagging pep, while imbuing the portrait of the pair's legendary rapport with a depth matched by McGregor."

"When I got the audition for this, I saw 'Liza Minnelli' and my heart started pounding, and I was like, 'This is mine' — and also, 'I don't know how to get this. I'm terrified of this,'" Rodriguez told Variety. "I have the email I sent to my agents that says, 'My heart is pounding, I think I'm scared,' and they were like, 'That sounds like a good sign.' "

Rodriguez is a veteran of Broadway ("A Chorus Line," "Spring Awakening") and television (most notably on "Smash," as well as "Trial and Error," "Quantico" and "Daybreak" on Netflix). She has appeared as 'Megara' in the Public Works production "Hercules," the musical adaptation of the Disney animated film at the Public Theater's Delacorte Theater. Before that, Krysta received an Outer Critics Circle honor for her performance in "Seared" for MCC Theater, in a role she originated at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. She also recently starred in a pilot for a new TBS series "Space" that she described as a "metaphysical romantic comedy."

The 37-year-old heads to Provincetown this weekend for a pair of concerts on Friday, Sept. 24, and Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Art House. For more details, follow this link.

EDGE spoke to Rodriguez about Ptown, Liza and performing once more.

Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli in "Halston"
Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli in "Halston"  (Source: Netflix)

EDGE: Have you performed in P-town before?

Krysta Rodriguez: No, this will be my first time. I actually visited for the first time earlier this year. So, I'm excited to be returning in such a glorious fashion.

EDGE: What excites you most about performing for an audience again?

Krysta Rodriguez: Oh my gosh, so many things! I think the thing that really excites me is the ability to have a communal experience with an audience again. To me, that's always been the most special part of theater and performing. What I love about live performance is the informal agreement that the performer and the audience enter into to enjoy a shared moment, if only for one night.

EDGE: What is the process you use for creating a set list for a show?

Krysta Rodriguez: It definitely requires alchemy and chemistry, and you have to figure out who the audience is and what they want to hear. I do a different show in New York City than I would if I'm in Indiana. It depends on how well people know my work and how much I have to kind of remind them or let them know who I am. For this show, I get to work with the amazing Seth Rudetsky, who knows the audience in P-town better than I could ever know. I know he will be able to structure something that is enjoyable for everybody.

Krysta Rodriguez
Krysta Rodriguez  (Source: Instagram)

EDGE: Which do you enjoy more, singing on stage as yourself or portraying a character in a show?

Krysta Rodriguez: Great question. I don't really know. I really do enjoy doing these concerts. I enjoy having a direct access to the audience and being intimate with them while I'm singing. I think that it is fun and unique baring your soul to strangers. I also think it's apples and oranges in a lot of ways because when you are playing a character, you might be concealing that a little bit more or going through something that won't be revealed for some time. Performing in a small venue singing my songs is like Vegas. It is instant gratification to just sing different songs. I guess I didn't really answer your question, but I do hope your readers will understand my answer.

EDGE: Your performance as Liza Minnelli was phenomenal. Were there any challenges playing the legendary performer?

Krysta Rodriguez: I would say the entire thing was the challenge start to finish. Especially because people were going to watch and judge me for the role. I was very aware of that from the second I auditioned that would happen. I also realized there would be a level of responsibility to playing her. So yes, everything was challenging.

I knew what the responsibility would be, even auditioning for it, and I was really excited to take it on. I was ready at that moment to allow myself to immerse entirely in something new.

I filmed the first episode pre-COVID and then took six months off. All of the research and all the work that I had done to play the role just had to be let go. When we did resume filming, I had to just trust that all my research and knowledge was all there. That part was scary and challenging. I'm really grateful when I hear people say I did the role justice. My biggest concern was to do her justice because I think she's remarkable.

Krysta Rodriguez
Krysta Rodriguez  (Source: Instagram)

EDGE: What excites you most about Broadway reopening?

Krysta Rodriguez: I'm mostly excited to see what people are going to make out of this time. I think one of our strengths as artists is turning adversity into art and we've all collectively been through something. I think that some of the greatest works come out of that kind of refining fire and I can't wait to see what we come up with next.

EDGE: Your just wrapped a new pilot for TBS named "Space." What can you tell us about it?

Krysta Rodriguez: Yes, I am very excited about it. It's a metaphysical romantic comedy. I would say it is a really interesting concept. Hopefully, it goes somewhere, and you'll get to see more of it. "Space" is about two people who have been in a long-term relationship. They start to realize that all their friends are getting married, and they're not really sure why they're not ready to take that commitment with each other. In that conundrum, they find that they are allowed to switch bodies with people and experience their life. It's sort of like a "Freaky Friday" experience. It will test their relationship based on the relationships of others. It's sort of like the world's most open relationship. Jake Lacy plays my partner. He just starred in HBO Max's amazing "White Lotus." It's a lot of fun and I can't wait for everyone to see it.

EDGE: Do you have any dream roles you'd love to portray?

Krysta Rodriguez: Yes, I've been saying this for pretty much a decade, if not more, I want to play Sally Bowles. I just wish the role hadn't alluded me all this time. There aren't that many revivals on Broadway, and when there is, it's definitely packed with some heavy-hitting actresses. I'm just hoping that one day it will show up on my door and I'm not too old to play her, but the clock is ticking.

EDGE: What can we look forward to seeing from you next?

Krysta Rodriguez: I'm launching into a new season of concerts, which I'm excited about. I have this set in P-town and then immediately following that, I'm doing a series at the Tavern on the Green. I am excited about it because it is very romantic and getting to sing there and seeing everyone return to New York City. I have launched an interior design business. I have some houses that I'm renovating and designing.

To purchase tickets to see Krysta perform at the Art House on September 24th & 25th visit,