GatesIn preparation for Comic Con Honolulu, we interviewed Gates McFadden! Perhaps best known for her role as Doctor Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gates has also worked for Jim Henson productions as a choreographer on films such as The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and The Muppets Take Manhattan. McFadden has been Artistic Director of Ensemble Studio Theatre of Los Angeles since January 2009.

1.    What accomplishments are you most proud of?

When I look back at my professional life, I am most proud of my theatre work, both as an actress and as a director. For the past seven years I have been Artistic Director of a non-profit theatre—we actually built a theatre—and won many awards for our new plays and productions.

I also am proud of my teaching over the past 35 years at Theatre Conservatories and Universities.  Teaching is one of the most powerful ways I know to stay connected with ideas, culture and your own imagination since your are always being challenged by your amazing students and constantly need to re-think everything you thought you knew. Keeps you honest.

2.    What are you most looking forward to doing in Hawaii?

When I shot the series Marker here it was the first time I had been to Hawaii.  I fell in love with Oahu and all the people I met here.  The history of this island is fascinating, infuriating too.  The US government seemed to behave pretty badly with your Queen Liliuokalani. I fell in love with the ancient hula—-my 3 year old son took lessons with some local boys taught by a friend who performed at the Polynesian Cultural Center. He went to kindergarten in Oahu and we made leis for his teacher. I cannot tell you how much I have missed this city and this island. My 9 months here were some of the best months of my life—-not so much because of the work itself, but rather because of the wonderful people and culture here. The blend of ethnicity and culture here is fantastic.  I cannot wait to just go in search for another shark’s tooth on the beach.

3.    What did you want to do when you were a small child?

I was always building things for my dolls and toy cars, so I probably wanted to be an architect. My mother had other ideas and so I was performing, dancing, acting and modeling from a young age.  But I was in Ohio so the pressure was different. The pond was small in Akron. By the time I went to college, I knew I wanted to swim in a bigger pond. So I went to Paris for graduate studies in theater.

4.    You teach theater- what is something people don’t expect when signing up for your classes?

They don’t expect me to be funny.

5.    Can you tell us a little about being a choreographer for muppets?

Ask Kermit.

We are so excited to have her at the convention this year! Ask her your own questions at Comic Con Honolulu during her panel on Sunday 12pm – 1pm in Main Events!