Elkhart native soaks up the spotlight on Broadway

Actress Deidre Lovejoy, who grew up in Elkhart, is in a new Broadway play starring Tom Hanks.

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on April 10, 2013 at 3:32 p.m.

ELKHART — For some actors, performing on Broadway is an opportunity that comes only once in a lifetime.

But Deirdre Lovejoy is in the spotlight once again, this time sharing the stage with Academy Award winner Tom Hanks.

Lovejoy, an Elkhart native, is part of the cast of “Lucky Guy,” the final play by writer Nora Ephron, who died last summer. The play delves into the life of controversial journalist Mike McAlary, who unflinchingly pulled back the curtains of New York City with his tabloid columns in late ‘80s.

“Lucky Guy” opened on April 1 with electrifying anticipation that was just as thrilling for the audience as it was for Lovejoy.

“It was an absolutely star-studded night,” she said. “It was very exciting. The guest list was crazy. Everyone was very excited because of Nora Ephron, and she’s very beloved, and of course because of Tom Hanks, who is equally beloved. People were very excited about seeing the show, and it went beautifully.”

Lovejoy is playing not one but two characters in “Lucky Guy.” The first, Louise Imerman, is a composite of several female newsroom personalities created by Ephron, known for her work as a journalist and playwright.

“She’s very fun, very no-nonsense and drops the F-bomb quite frequently,” Lovejoy said about the character of Louise.

Lovejoy’s other role in the production is a portrayal of Debby Krenek, current editorial director at Newsday in New York. Lovejoy had a chance to meet Krenek for the first time at the play’s opening night.

“I was pleased to find out that she enjoyed the play very much, even though she found it difficult to watch because she had a close relationship with Mike McAlary, which is the character that Tom Hanks is playing.”

The two roles hit home for Lovejoy, the daughter of retired Elkhart Truth entertainment writer Marcia Fulmer, who was able to attend the opening-night performance of “Lucky Guy.”

“She’s completely supportive, and I would have to say that my experience growing up in the Elkhart Truth newsroom as I did was very helpful because I felt very much at home in all of the newsroom scenes,” Lovejoy said.

Lovejoy visits Elkhart every chance she gets, though it’s not as often as she would like. She lived in Los Angeles and New York City for the past decade, but decided to take up residence in the Big Apple full-time after joining the cast of “Lucky Guy.”

Lovejoy landed her two roles without actually auditioning in person. She was working on a play with the Indiana Repertory Theatre at the time.

“I actually taped an audition on my iPad and sent it into them via a YouTube channel, so my audition was entirely virtual,” she said. “By the time I left Indianapolis, I had been cast.”

Though Lovejoy is a seasoned Broadway actress, “Lucky Guy” marks Hanks’ Broadway debut.

“He is a very gracious man, and he was game to dive in and just be a worker among workers and an actor in the play with the rest of us,” she said. “I couldn’t have imagined a better experience.”

Lovejoy has been writing about her experience as part of the “Lucky Guy” cast on her official website with a blog appropriately titled “Lucky Girl.”

“It’s a nice way to track the experience, and people have been responding to it very positively, and I enjoy it,” she said.

Lovejoy’s resume spans television and movies, with notable roles in “Step Up,” “Bones,” and HBO’s crime drama “The Wire.” Nevertheless, live performances hold a special place in Lovejoy’s heart.

“More people see you in an episode of television in one night than would see you in a whole long run of a play,” she said. “But in terms of the actual experience, I prefer doing a play. It’s where I’m most at home, and it is the most immediately rewarding experience.”

Of all the performances she has been a part of, Lovejoy said “Lucky Guy” has been the most fulfilling.

“I think it’s interesting to know that you’re having the highlight of your career while you’re having it,” she said. “Sometimes you look back on experiences and say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that would be my favorite thing that I’ve ever done,’ but I certainly know that’s the case in this instance, and it’s been wonderful.”

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