Greetings Ghost Fans,
Before I make my first trip ever to Walt Disney World later today, I felt I should leave you with quite a blog posting. Kat Cressida, Voice of Constance, the axe-wielding bride in Disneyland Haunted Mansion’s Attic has provided the Ghost Relations Department with an interview. It was truly an honor to interview this famous Voice Actress and without further delay, the interview!
GRD: About how many years have you worked in the field of Voice Over acting?
KAT: I started working in it while still working in OnCamera, Around 1998. I was mostly doing sitcoms and 1-hour TV drams and felt like I wanted to be more creative. In OnCamera you mostly get typecast based on looks. Since I was a cute, petite blonde, I mostly played ditsy girlfriends or upbeat, quirky characters. It felt like time for something that drew upon more of my training (Shakespeare Major at UC-Berkeley and Grade of A.C.T. in SF)
GRD: How many years of which have been working for Disney?
KAT: Well, technically speaking, I don’t really “work for Disney”. I’m not am employee; Voice Over Artists are on a contract to contract basis, freelance repped by their agents. But if you mean, how long I have been fortunate enough to be doing VO gigs for the Mouse, I think my first one was in 1999, on “TARZAN” (the animated feature). Around that time I also did narration for Walt Disney Records, and after that, I did a lot of “TOY STORY 2” projects (as “Jessie the Cowgirl”) and recording for “CHICKEN LITTLE” and (the previous incarnation of) “TOY STORY 3”. I’d also done various recordings for the Disneyland Park and Walt Disney World. And I have also done a lot of announcer work for ESPN (owned by Disney) and Disney Online and Disney Cruises. I did animation VO for “THE CAT RETURNS” for Miyazaki, released through Disney. Currently I’m incredibly lucky to be recording for “THE TINKERBELL MOVIE” for Disney Animation. I also did a couple of small parts for “UNDERDOG”, (coming out this Summer), I am also grateful for all of it.
GRD: What other roles have you played in Disney Theme Parks?
KAT: I’m the little girl lost in the 4th dimension in the TOWER OF TERROR boiler room at DISNEY’S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE. I’ve also voiced “Jessie” (TOY STORY 2) for various shows inside the Park, “WOODY’S ROUNDUP” at the GOLDEN HORSESHOE and last year, at their PUMPKIN FESTIVAL, and another incarnation of “WOODY’S ROUNDUP”.
GRD: How did the opportunity arise to audition for the part of the Black Widow Bride?
KAT: They had been seeing gals for a couple of months. I was fortunate that the casting director had worked with me before and brought me straight into callbacks. My phone rang and when I heard what it was for, I think I stopped breathing for a moment. I was raised going to the Parks, and that attraction, it seemed surreal to even audition for something as classic and timeless as the Mansion.
GRD: How many other people were auditioning do you know of?
KAT: I honestly don’t know. They’re always very thorough and go through a few rounds; just to be sure they’ve brought in all the possible actors who fit a particular role. But only the executive producers and the casting folk would know exactly how many gals were considered.
GRD: Could you tell us what it was like to go in and audition? What were they looking for originally?
KAT: Well, as anyone fortunate enough to work for Disney can share, we’re not really allowed to discuss anything that happens within the walls of Imagineering... Part of the Magic. I can say personally that we were given only a vague notion of what exactly the project was, again part of how Disney handles keeping secrets... secret. And I can share that, as I expressed earlier, I was almost in a state of disbelieve that I might actually be reading to do something akin to the incomparable Eleanor Audley or Leota Toombs… I don’t think I entirely believed any of it, but I did come as prepared as was viable given the information provided, and, if you’ll pardon the bad bride pun, put my whole heart into the process. I think I figured, I might never get to be a part of the final project, but at least for those few seconds, I could feel a part of Disney history.
GRD: Including your role as the Black Widow Bride, what would you consider to be your most favorite of Disney Voice Over works?
KAT: It’s kind of hard to top the Bride… But working on “The Tinkerbell Movie” has been just incredible. There’s no other word really: Magic.
GRD: Which Imagineers were involved on the project that you got to work
with for the Black Widow Bride?
KAT: As you can imagine, not really something I am in a position to share. Public knowledge: The Senior Head of Casting for the Disney Theme Parks worldwide is a fantastically talented gentleman by the name of Brian Nefsky. He of course would have been involved at the earlier stages, in finding folk to bring before the producers and Imagineers.
GRD: In an interview at Doombuggies.com, you mentioned your father worked for Disney. Would you say that your enjoyment of Disney was for some part his inspiration for you?
KAT: I actually have clarified on a few of these interviews: He did not work for Disney directly. He was a freelance graphic artist involved with Marketing/P.R., and had the opportunity to meet some of the very special folk originally involved with the Parks and their classic attractions.
GRD: If you were given the opportunity to be a character in any one other Disneyland ride (that you aren’t in already), which would it be and what would you do?
KAT: There’s so many incredible attractions and dimensions to the Disney Theme Parks – I could never narrow my wishes! I would say my absolute favorite part of Disneyland – because it’s so strongly entrenched in my memory of the Park as a child – is Tom Sawyer’s Island… To a youngster, it’s enchanting to have been given “free reign” among the rock castles, barrel bridges, forts and tree houses and haunted caverns on those sandy shores… I think it would be... just amazing to lend a voice somewhere upon that Isle.
GRD: I want to thank you Kat for your time and also being gracious enough to afford this little Mansion fan an excellent interview. Not only do I get to see the Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion in only hours, but I have learned a great deal from someone who is now part of Haunted Mansion History.
KAT: Thank you. It’s an honor that you and your readers care so much about one VO Gal’s thoughts.
To learn more about Kat’s Career with Disney and otherwise, you can visit her website, Kat Cressida.com or you can hear her other interview on Doombuggies.com. I also highly recommend listening to her compelling tale “Nuptial Doom”, also available from Doombuggies.com