Actress Christine Ebersole Talks Acting, New Jersey and the Arts

February 8, 2016 | Arts & Entertainment

Two Tony’s and going for more. That’s what Christine Ebersole is up to these days. NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams spoke to the star about the arts and becoming a real Jersey girl.

Williams: You said about your move from Hollywood to Maplewood, what a different a leaf makes. What is it about New Jersey?

Ebersole: Well it’s kind of like Kansas. It’s how Dorthy Gale feels about Kansas, I just want to be home again. It just feels like home.

Williams: What drives you? You’ve had a career as long as your arm, the most extraordinary career, you’re an extraordinary talent. What drives you?

Ebersole: I guess the first thing that comes to my mind is I love what I do and I’m passionate about my art. I guess it’s being a good steward of what was given to me.

Williams: Was there a time in your life where they said you have to do this now because by the time you’re 25 you’re going to be too old? Or by the time you’re 30 they’re not going to want to hear from you? Or by the time you’re 35 you’re not going to get these roles any more?

Ebersole: I’ve passed all those landmarks. I’ve been over the hill. You’re always having to reinvent yourself but that’s the way life is. It’s like you constantly have to be able to shed your skin so you can be in the now. If you’re laboring under past regrets, or past disappointments, or past things that you were succeeding in, you have to let go of all those things because the only reality is the now, really. It’s the only place that we can be creative and begin anew.

Williams: Maplewood is filled with theater people.

Ebersole: I know. They call it the Broadway express.

Williams: Why are the arts so important?

Ebersole: I believe the arts are really just important as breathing. Exactly true because it’s music, arts, dance and theater. Those are the elements like the fire, the water, the earth and the air. Those are the elements that connect us to ourselves and connect us to one another and without those things then we labor under the illusion that we are all separate. I believe that if everyone was required, just like math or science, to take music, art, dance and theater, we would be living in a different world today.

Williams: Well, more dramatic perhaps.

Ebersole: No, more peaceful, way more peaceful obviously. That is because music is what transcends everything. Art, dance, theater, those are the things that transcend those things that we use to separate ourselves. That’s the great unifier. The most important thing that it connects us to ourselves and to our source of creation. Being able to be a critical thinker, being able to be a whole person, being able to be compassionate person, being able to appreciate nature and these things with out that there is no conduit.

Williams: You get to do the American Song Book, how cool is that? What makes a resident American songwriter?

Ebersole: I don’t know the answer to that really. I think it’s just what speaks to our experience, the American experience. That’s what makes a great American song. It doesn’t just stop in the ’40s, ’50s or ’60s. There are great American songs that are being made as we speak. It’s an ongoing thing that speaks to this great country we live in.

Williams: What are you singing?

Ebersole: I don’t know, have got to look at the list. You tell me.

Williams: Oh my. Do you feel like the sack that they’re hanging on the hook?

Ebersole: No, no, no, it’s just that there is so much that is going on, so many things that I am doing, so much music in my life. It’s like Sunday I am doing this, Saturday I am doing this and Monday I am doing something else. It’s like there is this whole ocean full of…

Williams: How lucky are you?

Ebersole: Yeah, I mean I am the luckiest person in the world.

Williams: What advice would you give our young Jersey girls about living their lives?

Ebersole: Think for yourself, that is the number one thing. Don’t depend on what anybody else tells you it’s supposed to be, that is for you to decide. In terms of your life and work, don’t be afraid to speak the truth and don’t be afraid of yourself because we are the most powerful thing that we have is ourselves.

Williams: Thank you for being here.

Ebersole: Thank you.