2020 Visionaries: Character Actress Valerie O’Hara

headshot 2015-6.jpgThe American Theatre of Actors will present two dynamic works by controversial author and influencer, James Crafford: Moves and Countermoves: New Works by James Crafford. Performances are January 22 – February 2, 2020 (Wednesday – Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m.) in The B.E.T. (Beckmann Experimental Theatre) of the American Theatre of Actors Complex, 314 W 54th St, New York City; (212) 581-3044 for tickets.

Valerie O’Hara, is no stranger to powerful dramas and character roles. her virtuoso performance in Lynn Navarra’s THE SANDMAN still echos through the halls of the American Theatre of Actors. A role earning her a Jean Dalrymple Award


Here latest star-turn is as Joyce in “The Game Is Not Over,” a one-act that explores the relationship between a man and the two women in his life – his wife and his former lover. A simple living room becomes a battlefield as the wife confronts the former lover.

“I always had a notion that it would be fun to be a character actress, but I never thought this was a realistic ambition,” Ms. O’Hara disclosed; “a happy confluence of events found me taking a free acting class when I was well into my 50s, and enjoying it so much that I signed up for more lessons.  My first time on stage was in 2006, in a one-act play in a festival.  We had a single performance, but I kept going, and through friendships formed in the off-off-Broadway community, recommendations, and auditions, I have had the fortune to have had the opportunity to play many interesting characters.”
As for how she approached a role, she said “when characters are realistic, as Joyce is, I tend to draw from experiences in my own life and the lives of people I know.  This character has feelings of sadness, resilience, jealousy, complacency, capability, and despondency all mixed up within her; in other words, she is complex and ultimately human, as are we all,” she astutely commented.
Ms. O’Hara has reached that grande-dame point of reprising popular roles, “I will be reprising the role of Jonie in an expanded version of “The Last Caddoan” by James Jennings next month here at ATA.”
Jennings, the founder of the American Theatre of Actors has always had discerning taste in casting.