Karen Ziemba has great love for her character 'Bea' - Long Wharf Theatre

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Karen Ziemba has great love for her character ‘Bea’

Edward James Hyland and Karen Ziemba in Other People's Money. Photo: T. Charles Erickson
Edward James Hyland and Karen Ziemba in Other People’s Money. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Karen Ziemba saw the original production of Other People’s Money when it first debuted Off-Broadway in 1989. She specifically remembered an up and coming young actress named Mercedes Ruehl as Kate Sullivan, the hot shot young lawyer played at Long Wharf Theatre by Liv Rooth. Makes sense – Ziemba herself was taking the first steps in a career that would lead her to Broadway acclaim.

But it was the performance of character actress Scotty Bloch in the role that Ziemba herself would play almost 30 years later that stayed with her. Ziemba plays the role of Bea, the dutiful office manager who has committed her life to New England Wire and Cable, risking everything to support it and the man she loves.

“I cared so much about (the character). She reminded me of my mother. Bea is strong and does her job well. She has an emotional attachment to the company. Her working for a living and being with these people makes her thrive. I think that is true of most people – we want to have a purpose,” Ziemba said.

When asked what she hopes an audience takes away takes away from the show, Ziemba doesn’t talk about a particular theme or message. She would love it if the characters reminded them of someone they know, a loved one or a friend who has had to make real decisions and sacrifices in their working life. If people come out feeling a little more empathetic, than Ziemba feels that she has done her job.

“(Other People’s Money) is so much like what is going on now. The play mirrors real life,” Ziemba said.

 -Steve Scarpa

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