Struggling on Broadway: Actress takes old-fashioned path to stardom

NEW YORK (WABC) -- There's no shortage of stars on Broadway this season, with Bette Midler in "Hello Dolly" the most prominent among them, but there are also performers who exemplify what it takes to become a star on the Great White Way.

And in the case of Katrina Lenk, the road to the top took plenty of twists and turns.

Shakespeare wrote about the need to suffer, and Lenk has learned all about the truth behind the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

"You just get used to 'this is the job for now, and hopefully you'll get another one,'" she said. "You save a lot of money when you can."

Her play "Indecent" recently posted a closing notice, and she prepared to say goodbye to her cast and crew. But then her producer decided to extend the run for six weeks.

"I was just like, wow," she said. "I didn't know you could do that."

Lenk talked about becoming an overnight star...a process that took her more than 15 years of hard work.

"Did a bunch of waiting tables, being broke, too miserable," she said.

Thankfully, that is no longer the case.

Lenk will be performing on Broadway come fall in a show called "The Band's Visit," based on a 2007 film about the arrival of Egyptian musicians at a small town in Israel.

"Each culture shows something to the other that they learn from," she said.

Her road to the top of a broadway marquee has been paved with mistakes, she says, but that's OK.

"You beat yourself up a little bit, but then you say, 'OK, what can I learn from that and how can I make that not happen again?' What can I do to improve?'" she said. "And just look at your whole career as a way to improve and keep getting better."

There is still time to see Lenk in her "Indecent," a show about a time in our city when performers could be arrested and jailed for appearing in a production called "Obscene."

"The Band's Visit" opens in the fall.
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