For Broadway actress Catherine Cox, the idea of leaving her husband and young son behind in Manhattan while she came west to star in the Los Angeles production of “City of Angels” was not a thrilling one. Fortunately, she came up with a solution: She brought them with her. “The fact that I’ve got the whole family together really gives me some semblance of normalcy,” says Cox, who recently stepped into the dual roles of Oolie and Donna when Tony Award-winner Randy Graff left to do a television series. “Everything’s nicer when they’re around.”
“City of Angels,” the Shubert Theater’s hit musical that spoofs ‘40s detective films and Hollywood, marks the third time Cox has been called in to replace another actress. In the early ‘80s, she took over for Glenn Close in the Broadway production of “Barnum” and in 1989 replaced Christine Baranski in the New York run of Neil Simon’s “Rumors.” About her latest assignment in “City of Angels,” she says, “It’s a little unnerving to take over for someone else who has carved out a really nice space for themselves. I have to try and infuse it with something brand-new.”
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Cox caught the singing and performing bug from her mother, who sang with an all-girl orchestra during World War II. After graduating from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, she headed for Broadway armed with an insurance policy: A degree in music education, which would allow her to teach if things didn’t work out. “I wanted to have something to fall back on,” she admits.
She didn’t need it. Once in Manhattan, it wasn’t long before she got her first stage role. “I’ve never had to take a survival job and I’m not independently wealthy,” she says proudly, “so I guess I must have something to offer as an actress.”