Aubrey Plaza of NBC’s Parks and Recreation: Wilmington Native Is Building a Buzz in Hollywood
Wilmington native Aubrey Plaza builds major Hollywood buzz.
(page 2 of 7)
Plaza, who is Puerto Rican through her father and Irish and English through her mother, began her stage career with small parts in Wilmington Drama League productions. After performing in “Here’s Love,” a Christmas musical, “I really started to get to know people at the Drama League and became totally obsessed with that world,” she says. “It became my second home.”
“She just really loved being involved in the whole process,” Bernadette says. “She was so alive and happy while doing a production. She would always get so close to the people she was working with.”
One of those people was Kathy Buterbaugh, who directed many of Plaza’s Drama League plays. Plaza calls Buterbaugh “my acting mother,” adding, “she had a different, awesome outlook on life that helped shape me as an actor and a person.”
Early on, Buterbaugh noticed Plaza’s talent and devotion to acting. “She wanted to learn everything,” says Buterbaugh. “She spent all of her free time at the theater—building, painting, helping in any way she could.”
One of Plaza’s first major roles came as a mean stepsister in “Cinderella.” Even in that persona, she managed to inject levity, says Buterbaugh, like doing a spontaneous Macarena during the ballroom dancing scene.
In a production of “The Ugly Duckling,” Plaza played a chicken. Buterbaugh describes how she took the cast, dressed in costume, to McDonald’s. Plaza asked the clerk if they had “People McNuggets.”
“No,” the clerk said.
“What kind of nuggets do you have?” Plaza asked.
The feathered cast members ran squawking out of the restaurant.
What makes Plaza special? “She takes her relationships with people and her art very seriously,” says Buterbaugh. “She’s a really giving, nice person to be with and work with. Also, she’s just got a lot of talent.”
“I think I realized how serious she was about acting when she auditioned for the Longwood Gardens production one year,” says Bernadette Plaza. “They put you on a stage with a lot of other kids and make you do different things, and they just sort of weed you out. As her mom, I thought she was wonderful. However, she was not chosen. I was horrified and could not believe it.”
Plaza’s reaction was different. “She told me that it was just one audition and that it really wasn’t important to her because there would be many more,” Bernadette says. “It was then that I started to realize that if she could handle the rejection and loved doing it that much, then maybe things would work out.”
Plaza has always had the deadpan sense of humor, says Buterbaugh. “She could say something absolutely serious-faced that was so bizarre. If you don’t know her well, you don’t know what to take seriously. It’s amazing that she’s now getting to use that unique talent.”
continues on page 3...