Kate Rockwell is making fetch happen in Mean Girls on Broadway with her pink ensemble and perfect comedic timing. But this girl is no joke! Nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her role as Karen, she also just released her new solo album Back To My Roots, which features songs that inspired her to become a performer. We asked Kate to dish on her album release, Mean Girls, and what it’s really like to work with Tina Fey.

Congratulations on your solo album, Back To My Roots. Why did you want to put out an album now and how did you choose the songs?

The timing of it just sort of happened. The songs are all from a one‑woman show that I created two years ago, and they are all the songs that taught me about musical theater and made me fall in love with Broadway back when I was a kid. I have never sang them on a Broadway stage because I haven’t had a chance to work in that genre yet. So I created this show, and then from there came this album. I am really excited for people to get to hear it.

Kate Rockwell in the studio

Are you going to have an album release party or do another show?

Yes. We are going to do a really big album release after the Tony Awards in June. So we have a little bit of time.

What was the first show you saw that made you fall in love with theater?

I hate saying this because I feel like it’s so cliche, but Cats. I saw a national tour of Cats – I am going to date myself here and say it was 1989, when I was little. I remember distinctly sitting in the audience and the cats entered from the back of the house and came running down the aisles. One of them came up to me and kind of got up in my lap and was pawing at me and playing with me. As a little kid, I was enraptured. I was so obsessed, and that was it for me. That was the beginning of the end, as it were. I loved it so much. I wish I could find out who actor that was, because I would give him a big thank you.

It must be amazing to work with Tina Fey. What is something you were surprised to learn about her?

The fact that she is so down to earth and grounded was surprising. I looked up to her my entire career and respected her so much as both an actress and comedian, but also as a writer and producer. I expected her to come in and sort of be the celebrity that she is, be the powerhouse that she is, and she is so calm and just wants to work with everybody. She is definitely a leader in the room, but she is a very quiet version of it. She is not a super‑big personality and I think that surprised me. I was expecting a celebrity, and instead I got a really hard‑working collaborator.