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Personality Test: Karen Baum

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Pict Classic Theatre
Actress Karen Baum

Actress Karen Baum started off Pict Classic Theatre’s season at a dead run as the beleaguered servant in “Blithe Spirit.” She’s ending the season in the dual roles of Biddy and Mrs. Joe in the company’s production of “Great Expectations,” which will begin performances Dec. 4 at the Charity Randall Theater in Oakland.

During the season, Baum also performed with Pict as Hecate in “Macbeth” and the mysterious Scarecrow in “Woman and Scarecrow.”

Her participation in four of the season’s six shows was part of a new featured-artist program created this year by artistic and executive director Alan Stanford. Each year, the company plans to showcase two actors in as many plays as possible. James FitzGerald also was featured this year.

Baum was familiar to Pict audiences from previous roles that included Cordelia in “King Lear,” the maid in “Boston Marriage” and multiple roles in “Don Juan Comes Back From the War.”

A graduate of West Mifflin Area High School and Point Park University, she has appeared with Pittsburgh Public Theater in “Amadeus” and the Playhouse REP in “Hamlet,” “Ridley Walker” and “Ithaka,” as well as with numerous other companies such as Off the Wall Theatre, Bricolage, St. Vincent Summer Theatre and Squonk Opera.

Screen buffs may have seen her in “Promised Land,” “The Road,” “My Bloody Valentine 3D” and “Killpoint,” as well as in the TV pilot of “Ghosthunters.”

In addition to performing, she teaches classes for the Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and Hope Academy.

The star who would play me in the movie version of my life:

In fantasyland, Gilda Radner or Madeline Kahn — I think they both could hang the moon.

Childhood hero:

My mom. I am incredibly fortunate; she and my dad were my first friends … and the things my mom did, and continues to do, amaze me still.

The piece of memorabilia from my childhood I wish I still had:

Man, I am kind of a hoarder. … I really may still have them stored away somewhere.

The superpower I wish I had in real life:

Is healing a superpower? If not, I want to fly — that way, I can swoop in and rescue people in need and not be so neurotic about parking.

My favorite reality show:

“Top Chef”

App I wish I could invent:

A “rewind.” Sometimes, I would like to rewind or restart the day.

Favorite brunch food:

Bloody Marys

Pick one:

A. Pirates

B. Penguins

C. Steelers

D. Other

E. I hate sports

All ‘Burgh sports. Fair- and foul-weather fan

I’m deathly afraid of:

Failure. And stink bugs

Star I’d like to dance with on “Dancing With the Stars”:

Any of them — judges, too! They are so fierce!

My quirkiest inherited trait:

Talking with my hands or with a little dance

Favorite guilty pleasure:

Olives — any and all — to the point of shriveling from the brine. Ooh! And occasionally pickle juice.

One word my mother would use to describe me:

Ha! She would probably just sigh … and laugh … and sigh.

When I was 10, I wanted to be:

A hugger in hospitals, a dancer, singer and actor (to a degree)

Exercise I hate most:

“Insanity.” There is a definite reason it is called that. It hurts even watching it on TV.

The first band I saw in concert:

Genesis “Invisible Touch” at the Civic Arena. I was barely in grade school. My big sis played drums, and she loved Phil Collins, so our whole family went.

The best concert I’ve ever seen:

The Police 2008 — again, with my sister, Colleen

TV marathon I could watch all day:

“Drunk History” — not only are these people ridiculously hilarious, it’s also educational. 😉

The movie that always makes me cry:

“Imitation of Life” (the original) — My mom, sister and I would stay up and watch and sob! Painfully beautiful.

What you’ll always find in my glove compartment:

Well, whoops — my car was run into a median on Halloween by an erratic merger and was totaled. But, I always had the owner’s manual, a little flashlight and snacks in there.

If I wasn’t an actor-dancer, I’d be:

Possibly a chef on the Travel Channel

The last book I read:

“Crime & Punishment” — again

My childhood nickname:

KB, Karebear, Ace

My favorite “bad” movie:

Steve Martin’s “The Jerk”

My favorite thing about Pittsburgh:

It’s home. The people are home. And what a skyline!

Life would be better without:

Fear. I wanted to say violence, but that, and so many other things, is rooted in fear.

People would be surprised to know that I:

I was a two-time winner at the PA Junior Academy of Science (grade school) — For “Windmill Blade Efficiency” and “Spectrums.” Go figure!

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