Growing up in Boston, Massachusetts, Katy Geraghty admits she never had big dreams of taking on Broadway; but at just 28 years old, that’s exactly what she’s doing.
“I didn’t have this, like, big come-to-Jesus moment about theater that a lot of my friends do, which kind of bums me out because it feels like they sound like they were so cool,” Geraghty told In the Know.
Instead, her first love was ballet, and her desire to be on stage was mostly driven by her quest to be in a local production of The Nutcracker. But before she could even audition, Geraghty’s mom decided to send her on a call for the regional theater, hoping the then-7-year-old could work out her nerves while trying out for The Christmas Carol.
To everyone’s surprise, she got cast — and the rest, as they say, is history.
Years of local and traveling theater roles followed until Geraghty eventually caught her big break in 2017 during a Broadway production of the musical Groundhog Day. Then came her “dream” role in 2022, when she was cast as Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods.
Looking back now, she calls the role “overwhelming” but incredibly fulfilling. It also helped her feel truly empowered for the first time as a plus-sized actress.
“[Red] was so funny, and she was so sassy, and she got to eat in the show, and I got the biggest laughs, and I was like, ‘Oh, wait a second. Maybe the way that I look is a good thing, and this is how I get cast,'” Geraghty recalled.
The show has since come to an end on Broadway, but the Boston native is happily continuing her role as Red on a 2023 tour across the U.S., along with several of her former castmates. She’s also a vocal advocate of body inclusivity and diversity in the theater world through her growing social media presence.
“I think that we’re moving in the right direction for sure,” Geraghty said of Broadway’s recent efforts to diversify casts, even citing the cast of Hamilton as one example. But the actress noted that this shouldn’t just stop at race — it also applies to body diversity.
Geraghty has found herself the subject of internet hate more than a handful of times. Recently, it happened on one of her TikToks that started to take off.
“I don’t even think it’s considered viral,” she admitted, “But it was just enough that I started getting hate comments, and I swear to God, I’m sitting there like the Grinch with like the evil grin, and I’m like, ‘Let’s go!’ with all of these people on the internet.”
By now, Geraghty knows how to respond to the haters and doesn’t let their judgments bring her down.
“I think it’s always a chance to educate when you get those hateful comments,” she said. “It’s a chance for a conversation.”
In fact, she’s often found herself chatting with strangers who’ve trolled her online, and sometimes, she finds that it’s the best way to open their eyes about things.
“I think we all need to check our own prejudices,” Geraghty shared. “And just having a little bit of kindness and grace is really important.”
Years ago, while playing Tracy in a production of Hairspray, Geraghty recalled getting a back-handed compliment from a well-meaning audience member.
‘She said, ‘You are such a brilliant dancer for your size,'” Geraghty remembered. “And I just stopped her really respectfully … and I just said, ‘Ma’am, you can just say that I’m the best dancer on the stage because I am.'”
Sometimes, Geraghty finds that’s all it takes to change someone’s perspective.
“We need to train ourselves,” she said. “You don’t need to say every thought that you have out loud. And if it’s not nice, why would you ruin someone’s day on purpose?”
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