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    Illustration by Kendall Regan

    McDonough, 41, is associate artistic director at Actors Theatre, where she is directing Angels in America (Sept. 1-Oct. 10). She lives in the Highlands.

    Describe the space you’re in right now. 

    “My kitchen, which is where all of the work gets done. It’s the brightest room in the house, with a view of my garden. I love cooking and thinking and then quickly stepping out to the backyard to write down an idea.”

    Earliest childhood memory?

    “I believed that Mr. Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street lived behind the fence at the ice cream parlor in my hometown of Medford Lakes, New Jersey. I have a lot of early memories of talking to that fence.”

    What song has been stuck in your head lately? 

    “‘My Shot’ from Hamilton. That is CATCHY.”

    When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

    “I have a very clear memory of directing my first play in second grade. There was one brief summer where I wanted to be a car salesperson like my uncle because I was jealous that he got to drive a new car every day. But that’s really it.”

    The weirdest place somebody has recognized you in public?

    “Sweating hard at Orange Theory on Bardstown Road.”

    The most unusual benefit of your job?

    “Seeing theater is a tax write-off!”

    Besides your current job, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?

    “I spent a brief time in NYC working for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, helping composers develop new musicals.”

    Your favorite thing hanging on the walls of your home?

    “I have a pair of paintings from local artist Jacob Heustis that I got when I first moved here that I LOVE.”

    Where do you go to be alone? 

    “I go on walks with my amazing dog Tank, who is deaf and therefore endlessly delighted and curious because nothing in the world startles him. Or I do crossword puzzles by myself in bars.”

    What’s on your nightstand?

    “Ethan Nichtern’s The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path, my Roku Streaming Stick, tissues and some sea glass from the ashram where I lived in the Bahamas.”

    What Louisville dish have you eaten more than any other? 

    “The sashimi flatbread from Dragon King’s Daughter or the MW Ramen from MilkWood.”

    What/who makes you laugh? 

    “I mean, nearly everything, but for sure if someone sinks behind a counter or wall like they are on an elevator.”

    First thing on your bucket list?

    “The Cinque Terra on the Italian Riviera. I want to hike to every little town and then eat all the seafood they have. Everyone should try traveling alone. I do it all the time.”

    Best book you’ve read over the past year? 

    “I just finished The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017. A diverse group of San Francisco teenagers curated it from essays, fiction and non-fiction that they read (non-required) and felt most represented their experiences. It’s amazing.”

    Do you have a secret talent?

    “In the style of Chopped, I can make a pretty kick-ass meal out of random stuff you might have.”

    Favorite movie scene?

    “The bus scene in Almost Famous where they all start singing ‘Tiny Dancer.’”

    What tattoos do you have?

    “The Chinese symbol for ‘clarity’ on my forearm and Keith Haring’s Radiant Baby on the back of my neck.”

    What three people (living or dead) would be on the guest list to your ideal dinner party?

    “Elton John, Prince and Ben Folds.”

    What do you collect? 

    “Antique typewriters. I just love them and like to imagine all the things they have written before me.”

    When out-of-town guests visit Louisville, what three things do they have to do?

    “Cross the Big Four walking bridge to Indiana, come see a show at Actors and eat their way through NuLu.”

    What’s something nobody knows about you? 

    “Not many folks know I couldn’t talk for a year when I was 16. I was a singer as a kid and had crazy vocal surgery to get rid of nodes and cysts and a bunch of scarring on my vocal chords. I couldn’t talk for almost my whole junior year! It’s why I still gesture all the time when I talk.”


    If Actors Theatre staged a production about your life, what would the performance be called? 
    Magic Trash.”

    Most noticeable quirk?
    I have quite a laugh. You’d recognize it if you’ve heard it.”

    The last thing you bought online?
    “A funnel for my home-brewing kombucha needs!”

    What superstition do you believe in?
    “Eye contact after cheers-ing someone.”

    What word do you overuse? 

    One thing Louisville is missing?
    “A professional football team.”

    Can’t-miss TV show?

    Your drink? 
    “Any funky white wine. Or a Negroni.”

    This originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here. To find your very own copy of Louisville Magazine, click here. 

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