It’s no secret that I live under a rock. (I have a hell of a time receiving packages and dinner parties go downhill fast when it rains. Literally. On the plus side, my student loan company can’t find me and I’ve become great friends with a family of worms.)
But seriously folks, I’m frequently oblivious to the obvious. Case in point, I’d already written two Our Town blogs before I realized I was writing for The Sun Times. I’m not sure what I thought. Maybe “I’m wearing dirty pajamas and getting paid, no angry customers are talking to me as if I’m the product of an unholy union between a lemur and a catfish, and I didn’t take three buses to get here so this can’t be real.” Truly, there’s no viable explanation. Nor is there any reason for me to have lived in Chicago for six years and only now discover Amy Matheny.
Currently making her Timeline Theatre debut in Enron, Amy has worked for more than a decade in Chicago's GLBT community as a radio personality, producer and event host. In addition, Amy was an Artistic Associate of About Face Theatre for a decade and has appeared in more theatre productions than you can shake a stick at. (I can personally attest to this. Shaking a stick is a primary source of entertainment when you live under a rock.)
It’s pretty much obscene and speaks only to my charming obliviousness that Amy came to my attention at this late date. But nothing says belated reverence like a giant telescope aimed right at a Chicago Celebrity’s house. That’s right, Amy Matheny is March’s Chicago crush!
Full Name: Amy Matheny
Hometown: Cleveland, Tennessee
Profession: Actor, Producer, Talk show host, Sr. Account Manager for Windy City Media Group - "Renaissance Woman"
Hobbies: pilates, theatre, travel, walks with my dog, dinner w/friends, singing, guitar, collecting rocks
Our Town Enron’s made quite a splash. How has the experience been?
Amy Matheny I love being in this show! It is risky, divisive and very funny. Having the opportunity to play a strong, smart, successful Southern woman is rare. True Story: I took classes in the late 80's from a woman in Tennessee who taught Southern businesswomen how to lose their accents so they were taken seriously. And my accent was thick! Her theory was that there is the perception that being Southern and being a woman equals to most people that you are not capable or smart. Well, Claudia Roe, my character gets to be smart and capable in a male-dominated world. And she uses every asset she has...charm, brains and body. Enron is a man's world. And it is exhausting [and a] rush to play a woman who successfully navigates that world and in 5 inch heels!
OT Was working in radio always a dream?
AM Not at all. I fell into it. I was doing some voiceover work and became the What's Happening? segment girl on LesBiGay Radio (the nation's first daily gay radio show). Normally I pre-recorded my segment [but] one day I went live on the air and talked with the host the whole two hours. Afterwards he said, “you are natural. I want you to do this with me.” That was 1998 and I have been talking on the radio--now podcasting-- ever since.
OT You’ve had the opportunity to interview everyone from Margaret Cho to Patti LaBelle. Any standouts?
AM Sandra Bernhard. We've talked many times over the years. She is fresh, smart and outrageous. Also Lynda Carter. I was a Wonder Woman fan as a child, so that was a thrill. Though mostly I love talking to parents of gay and lesbians. They always move me. There is nothing more beautiful than those stories, those journeys.
OT Being out has only seemed to help broaden your career opportunities. Was it ever a tough decision? Has it held you back at all?
AM Being a lesbian, who also was raised to be a Southern Debutante, has been a blessing in my life. A dichotomy maybe, but a gift for sure. Being gay is not all of me, but it has profoundly shaped my perspective on the world. It has brought compassion, inclusion and strength to my life. When you meet me, you meet me. It was never a tough decision to come out once I understood who I was.
OT Describe your perfect day:
AM Wake up with no alarm to a sunny day, eat good food, phone calls with friends and family, long walk with my dog on the beach or on a trail, dinner with friends wearing a fabulous new outfit, episode of whatever I am addicted to (Downton Abbey, Battlestar Galactica, The Good Wife, So You Think You Can Dance), read Entertainment Weekly till I fall asleep in a bed with clean crisp sheets
OT Relationship Deal breaker?
AM You must love my dog.
OT Who was your first crush?
AM Olivia Newton John.... Okay.... and also DURAN DURAN. They were all so pretty. Though I have matured. Anyone today will tell you my BIG #1 crush is Helen Mirren (or as I like to call her "THE MIRREN"). It is pretty legendary, my crush on her.
OT Why are you crushworthy?
AM You can take the girl out of the South but you can't take the South of the girl...and we are charming.
OT Any questions for me?
AM Did we make out at the Black Bra Party years ago?
OT I only wish….
"Enron" runs through April 15th. Buy tickets here.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for a number of web sites and print publications. Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," (Soft Skull press) is available for pre-order here. She is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
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