Ella Beatty
Ella Beatty

5 Questions with Ella Beatty of Appropriate

The highly acclaimed production of Appropriate is now playing an extended run at the Belasco Theatre, after opening earlier this season at the Hayes Theater.

Alyssa Emily Marvin and Ella Beatty in Appropriate.
Alyssa Emily Marvin and Ella Beatty in Appropriate. Photo by Joan Marcus.

In a cast led by Sarah Paulson, the newest addition to the company for the show’s transfer is Ella Beatty who takes on the role of River in the darkly comic American family drama. The rising star makes her Broadway debut fresh off her TV turn in the FX series Feud: Capote vs. The Swans, which premiered earlier this year.

Now starring in Appropriate, which officially reopened April 10, Beatty took the time to answer 5 Questions with Broadway Direct, sharing how her mother, Annette Bening, is her biggest inspiration, which Tom Stoppard quote sums up the audience experience at Appropriate, and where to find the best smoothies in New York.

1. What inspired you to become an actor?

I think I knew I wanted to be an actor before I knew that it was a professional career. I felt most myself as a kid when I was playing make-believe, or staging elaborate improvised plays with friends in each other’s living rooms. Often they involved being prairie women kneading some kind of very thick bread. I think pretending to be other people was always how I made sense of the world. Undoubtedly, though, my biggest inspiration to this day is the incredible actress who is my mom [Annette Bening]. Some of my earliest memories are gazing up at her full notebooks with dialogue, memorizing her lines.

2. Who in your field inspires you?

I am inspired daily by my superb castmates in Appropriate, who are not only extraordinary storytellers, but true friends and wonderful humans. I feel inspired by our audiences, who show up every night ready to be moved and provoked. I feel inspired by the hundreds of thousands of actors who still really believe in this art form as a way to connect with each other, even in the face of it being such a turbulent career.

Michael Esper and Ella Beatty in Appropriate.
Michael Esper and Ella Beatty in Appropriate. Photo by Joan Marcus.

3. What will audiences be most excited about seeing in Appropriate?

I think audiences at Appropriate will be excited to feel like they can recognize themselves or family members in at least one character in our play. For me, the best theater can make me giggle and think critically in equal measure — I hope we can do that for people every night. Our fabulous voice and speech coach, Kate Wilson, often quotes Tom Stoppard: “Laughter is the sound of comprehension.” I think you will come to Appropriate and laugh, and you’ll be laughing because you understand.

4. If you didn’t need to sleep at night, what would you spend your time doing?

I sadly would be watching season 10 of Love Island UK. I wish I had a more interesting or quirky answer to give you, but I am nothing if not real! Maybe I’d make a Google Doc of the best slang that they use so that I could implement them into my daily life. Getting “mugged off” has got to be my current favorite. Also, the insult “knob head.”

5. What is your favorite NYC spot?

Madhufalla Juice Organics on Mulberry Street makes the best lentil soup and smoothies in NYC. And the Belasco Theatre, of course!!!!!

You can catch Ella Beatty in Appropriate, now playing at the Belasco Theatre.

Learn More About Appropriate