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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014
Arts & Music

Sisters haunted by suicide in Jobsite’s ‘Crimes of the Heart’

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Onstage, Katrina Stevenson has played Katherine Minola in “Taming of the Shrew,” identical twins Myra and Myrna in “The Mineola Twins” and the victim in “Closet Land.”

But her role as Meg Magrath, a failed singer and party girl in “Crimes of the Heart,” is one of her most challenging.

Unlike her character, Stevenson isn’t a party girl, she’s not from the South and she doesn’t have sisters.

She found inspiration for the free-spirited Meg from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

“(Sarah Michelle Geller’s) character is that kind of self absorbed, but not selfish, like Meg,” says Stevenson. “Once the show closes, I’ll go back and watch Jessica Lange (who portrayed Meg in the movie). But you really can’t watch Lange without being intimidated and trying to imitate her.”

For the Southern accent, “I found myself watching (TLC’s) “Toddlers & Tiaras,” adds Stevenson, who hails from Colorado.

“The hardest part for me was finding that girl that everyone thinks is talented, beautiful, and everyone worships,” says Stevenson, who lives in Tampa. “It was the party girl that was difficult.”

Stevenson is showing off her newly acquired Southern charms in Jobsite Theater’s production of “Crimes of the Heart” at the Straz Center through March 30.

Beth Hanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play tells the story of three Southern sisters — Meg, Babe and Lenny — who reunite in their Mississippi home when one of them shoots their husband.

Haunted by their mother’s suicide long ago, each of the sisters is dealing with their own issues as they support each other.

Meg, the middle sister, discovered their mother’s body. She heads to Hollywood and tries to make it as a singer and leads a wild life filled with failed relationships.

“I love the dichotomy of the character,” Stevenson says. “She is popular, all the men are in love with her and she gets everything she wants. But she is so lonely she lies to herself and to everyone one else. She is almost the opposite of what everyone perceives her to be.”

As for the sister dilemma?

“It was the three of us tapping into that girl time and those female friendships you have with women,” says Stevenson, who began performing when she was 4. “That closeness and rivalry, butting of heads, all the things that hold you together; it just works and we could feel it.”

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