It's been six years since Delany participated in a production outside of staged readings. The last was the premiere of Neil LaBute's one-act Things We Said Today, directed by Andrew McCarthy at Ensemble Studio Theater's 2007 Marathon of Short Plays. Desperate Housewives cast her as Katharine Mayfair during the production and she flew west to start a new TV era when it was over.
She admits that carrying a show in which she never leaves the stage is a bit daunting, as are the nightly script changes.
"This script is 96 pages long and I'm talking in 93," she reveals. "I do not leave the stage except for scene changes. I said to myself, 'Look, I learn eight pages a night [for Body of Proof], you know?' So I should be okay but it's different. Because you are not learning eight pages, you are learning 20 pages. I don't have it yet, but once I get it all it will be great. Right now I'm in that stage of half in, half out."
From Broadway to the Odyssey
Delany is most widely recognized for her more than three decades of non-stop film work (Freelancers, Light Sleeper, Exit to Eden, Tombstone), TV movies (Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story), miniseries (Wild Palms, True Women), series television (China Beach, Presidio Med, Kidnapped, Desperate Housewives) and the voice of Lois Lane in numerous animated series. But it was theater that brought the NYC native to LA and helped launch her West Coast career.
She grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Ma. during her senior year of high school and graduated from Wesleyan University with a theater degree. Her parents took her often to see theater in Manhattan. The Lionel Bart musical Oliver! was the first Broadway show she saw at age eight, directed by Peter Coe. The Citadel Theatre and subsequent American Shakespeare Theatre artistic director would later helm Delany's 1980 Broadway debut in Hugh Leonard's Irish play, A Life.
"I got to go the theater a lot as a kid," she recalls. "I didn't really know how special that was at the time. I saw all of these early great musicals and I love musicals. I absolutely love them."
After graduation, Delany found work in daytime soaps like As the World Turns and Love of Life while auditioning for stage roles. She landed the part in A Life by faking an Irish accent she learned while listening to Siobhán McKenna read Molly Bloom's speech from James Joyce's Ulysses on a LP purchased from an Irish bookstore. Delany had never heard one before.