By Blair Kinsey
Genevieve Angelson recently joined her fellow SAG-AFTRA members in striking against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). While the strike continues, Angelson is rehearsing for Babbitt, an upcoming play in which she will star opposite Matthew Broderick.
After graduating with High Honors in Film Studies from Wesleyan University, Angelson received an MFA from the Graduate Acting program at NYU. Subsequently, she has pursued a career in acting. “Anytime I get to work at the level of artistry finessed by that training is a great day,” Angelson reflected.
“ΦBK means a lot to my father, who is also a member, as was his father,” Angelson recalled, making her part of a rare and exceptional multi-generation ΦBK family — her father, Mark Angelson (ΦBK, Rutgers University); grandfather, Jacob Angelson (ΦBK, City College, CUNY); and herself, Genevieve Angelson (ΦBK, Wesleyan University).
Being elected to Phi Beta Kappa, she said, “showed me that I am capable of succeeding at a wildly competitive academic level.” In the arts, she has found success in another wildly competitive setting and her true calling.
“I was drawn to acting because I wanted to create spaces and be a part of work that could help just one person in the audience feel a little less loneliness and shame in the baffling experience of being human,” Angelson said. “I write because I have more to say about that.”
Reflecting on her career and passion, Angelson said, “My favorite parts of acting are meeting all of the clowns that live inside of me and finding ways to give them to the world. I’m endlessly turned on by the problem-solving of acting — figuring out the most dangerous, compelling, hopefully funniest and least expected, and above all most compassionate, choices to get from story point A to story point B.”
Angelson described herself as a “a dyed in the wool New York theater actor and most fulfilled onstage.” Audiences will have the chance to see her live and in her element soon. Opening in early November at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, California, Babbitt is based on the satirical novel of the same name by Sinclair Lewis and adapted for the stage by Tony Award-winning playwright Joe DiPietro. As in the novel, the play follows a successful middle-aged real estate broker looking for meaning in life.
Additionally, as a writer, Angelson has published work in Elle Magazine, Town & Country, Refinery29, and more.
Angelson sees writing as “an exercise of picking up my own hand as a child, holding it tight, and then picking up the hand of the reader, holding hers tight, and saying, we’re in this together and there’s nothing you could do that would make me not love you — here’s why. And then finding the words to achieve that connection.”
But the world of acting, and our world in general, is not without complications. In recent years, actors and screenwriters have been experiencing lower wages and lesser residual earnings as a result of the rise of streaming services. So, the members of SAG-AFTRA, including Angelson, have taken to the streets to strike against AMPTP.
“I was born with a deep sense of civic duty, a strong moral code, and a thirst for justice,” Angelson said. “My code has always said to me, it’s no one else’s job to do the right thing more than my own, it’s no one else’s job more than mine to be the adult and the citizen in the room — we are all equally responsible. Do your part. Show up. Tell the truth. Honor your fellows.”
Angelson hopes the effects of this movement will ripple far beyond her own circles. “While this strike is personal, it also feels like a watershed moment for labor more broadly,” Angelson said. “It’s an honor to create a reference point for laborers outside Hollywood who would receive less media attention but who will hopefully fight for their own piece of parity in subsequent industries.”
Blair Kinsey is a senior at Rhodes College pursing a major in mathematics and a minor in English. She was inducted into the Society by the Gamma of Tennessee chapter there in May of 2023.
Photo of Genevieve Angelson by Neil Sharum.