WHO: Karen Levine WHAT: Mama Ginger in the Nutcracker of Parker WHERE: The PACE Center
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? I’m originally from Pennsylvania—I’m a Philly girl. I was in theater when I was younger. I did summer stock, and went to college in southern Mississippi. My husband and I have been in Parker since 1991. We remember watching people ride their horses to the War Horse on Mainstreet.
TALK ABOUT MAMA GINGER’S COSTUME. When we started 16 years ago, they had the dress commissioned especially for me by a gal who now works at the Denver Opera House. It’s something like 300 or 500 yards of fabric on the dress. There are copper hoops underneath the petticoats, so it bends very easily—right before I go onstage they round me out so I am nice and round. It’s the same wig I started with, too!
SPECIAL PRE-PERFORMANCE RITUAL: I’ll usually have my gingerbread latte, and I always go talk to the kids. I’m in the second half of the show so I have a special robe that I wear. I give them a little candy cane, I tell them how amazing this role is going to be and how much fun they’re going to have.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED ITEM? It’s a big ol’ floppy puppy, my son Dalton’s stuffed animal. His name is “Puppy.” He had it from the time he was little and took it with him everywhere. It’s funny, when we went to Hawaii and passed through the airport, Dalton insisted I hold Puppy because he was embarrassed to be a teenager holding a stuffed animal. (Dalton passed away after a two-year battle with cancer on December 16, 2016.)
HER WINTER WARDROBE MUST: My oversize brown cashmere men’s sweater. It’s great to use throw over things, I’ve had it for years.
IF YOU COULD PLAY ANOTHER CHARACTER IN THE NUTCRACKER, WHO WOULD IT BE? I love Sugarplum Fairy, she’s beautiful. They’re all beautiful in their own way!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE AUTHOR? I love Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
FAVORITE BOOK TO CURL UP WITH BY THE FIRE: I read so much! I have three books going at a time. I love books–the smell, the feel. Right now I’m reading The Secret Life of Bees.
My life philosophy would be: ’Enjoy every moment.’