Lawrence Chau for metro Toronto




Name: Dana Green

Age: 31

Occupation: Actress

“I didn’t get paid for acting for four years.”

Hey, is that Ashley Judd? Hmm, maybe it’s Elizabeth Perkins. Remember her from the Tom Hank’s movie, Big?

No, no, no. But Dana Green is an actress.

The 31-year-old from Ohio is in town and on stage as southern belle Carol Cutrere in Tennessee William’s Orpheus Descending at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

With wavy long hair and long legs to match, the 5 ft. 9 inches thespian with the sparkling eyes has been one of the fortunate ones. By fortunate, I’m referring to her status as a full-time stage actress.

The University of Iowa graduate’s career spans 10 years, the last four of which have been spent at the Stratford Festival.

Her forté? The classics like Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. (Theatre tidbit: Judd starred in a Broadway production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof a few years back so that might explain the double-take).

“I’ve been lucky because there’s always been something on the horizon. I’m always auditioning. There’s no time to focus on what I don’t get because I’m already onto focusing on what’s next,” says Green.

Still, the stage is no place for the meek.

“I didn’t get paid for acting for four years,” admits Green, “and I did a lot of small theatre in Chicago before settling into a more comfortable zone.”

The lesson there? “If you can think of anything else in the world you would love to do, do it because in theatre, you have to truly love it to stick with it,” she adds.

For Green, a life on stage is a far cry from her family of PhD holders, and a giant leap from a career in law or political science — pursuits she had once considered until she accidentally caught the acting bug in high school.

The grind of theatre is not as easy as one might expect. Rehearsing for a production comprises full eight-hour days, often six days a week. When production opens, expect an exhausting regimen of performing eight shows a week with only one day off. The pay, of course, is nowhere near that of a lawyer’s.

And yes, the adage “the show must go on,” also rings true. “There are times when I have to drag myself kicking and screaming to the theatre,” Green confesses, “but once the curtain parts and the spotlight hits, you have to be on.”

Green will be on in Orpheus Descending until Feb. 11. For ticket information log onto