Maggie Grace finds her inner strength on Broadway

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Grace grew up with the 1955 film starring Kim Novak, even though her parents wouldn’t let her see it until she was older: “It was too racy …”

Now she shares the stage with an interesting cast, including Ellen Burstyn, Elizabeth Marvel, Reed Birney and Sebastian Stan. Grace plays a headturning blonde, but hopes it’s more than that.

“It’s an ingenue but I think there’s a little room for interpretation,” says Grace. The same could be said for her, a long-limbed beauty who turns out to be extremely thoughtful, hardworking and grounded.

She describes “Picnic” as “about the tension between individual impulse and the needs of the group and social convention.” Of the playwright, she says: “Inge was never a master at innovation. He was a master of convention.”

Grace fluidly uses terms like “negative space” and “symbiosis,” and follows up a meeting with an email filled with insights into the work and its relevance, explaining that “in between shows my ability to conjugate verbs takes a sharp dip.”

“I used to be really insecure about my self-education,” she says. “I’m definitely always learning. But there’s many ways to learn. There are many, many ways to always be a learner.”

It has taken her 13 years, but Grace vows it will not be another 13 before she clambers back on a stage. “This will not be my last play. Mark my words. If they’ll have me. Even if it’s a 20-person black box theater in Chicago. If they’ll have me.”

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Online:

http://www.roundabouttheatre.org

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Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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