“Desperate Housewives” actress Kathryn Joosten is making quite a busman’s holiday out of summer this year. She’s currently in previews of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play Superior Donuts at L.A.’s Geffen Playhouse, starring Gary Cole and “Twilight’s” Edi Gathegi. The play, a humorous and heartwarming look at unlikely relationships in an ethnically diverse Chicago neighborhood, opens Wednesday (6/8) and runs through July 10. After that, she’ll go on to a role in the big screen comedy “The Escort Service” before getting back to the “Housewives” set.
In Superior Donuts, she plays “a crazy bag lady who has some unusual insights now and then. When I told one of my sons I was playing that, he said, ‘And yet another part she doesn’t have to act in,” relates the septuagenarian character actress with a chuckle. “It’s not a huge part, but it’s great fun for me. I’m having a ball. We’ve had standing ovations.”
Joosten’s sons are rightfully proud of her. A former psychiatric nurse, she didn’t even begin her acting career until she was 40, after her divorce. “I said to the boys, ‘I want to try to be an actor. Here’s the deal: I want to try to do this as a living. It will mean crazy times. I don’t know how it will go. I’ll keep mywall papering and advertising businesses going. Or, I’ll put it all aside and get a 9-5 job, but I really want to do this. I need a year.’ They said, ‘Go for it.’ But what do they know? They’re 10 and 12 at the time.” After a year, “I asked for another year” she admits with a laugh. But by then she’d made inroads, landing work at Chicago’s Goodman Theater and other stage jobs, and getting her first commercial.