The Public Questionnaire: Ellen Horst

by / Sep. 17, 2015 7pm EST

Ellen Horst is an actor’s actor in the world of Buffalo theater. Each season she scores one solid performance after another, seamlessly easing into roles with uncommon mastery of her craft. Each character she creates is distinct and entirely believable. She is currently playing Sister Aloysius, the principal at a Catholic school in New York City in the early 1960s, in John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt at Buffalo Laboratory Theatre in Hamburg. She suspects that a priest is making improper advances on one of the children, and with minimal basis for the accusation, goes on the warpath. Her performance is a model of nuance and subtlety. She is, as always, thrilling to watch.

In recent years, Horst has racked up a litany of great roles, from Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman at the Irish Classical Theatre, to the mother in Tom Dudzick’s Over the Tavern at the Kavinoky. Possessed of a lovely singing voice, she also does musicals. Her career has extended to many national stages as well as television. She is a delightful actor and an enormous asset to our theater community.

Here, the divine Ellen Horst submits to The Public Questionnaire.

What word would your friends use to describe you?
Thoughtful and compassionate. Okay, it’s two words.

What quality in your current character is most unlike your own personality?
Out to get someone.

What quality in your current character is most like your own personality?

When and where were you the happiest?

My four years with Show Boat in Toronto, Broadway National Tour and London. A very special time. I discovered Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona when working in Tempe, Arizona. It is my hiding place. A place to recharge. Haven’t been back there in far too long. I also met some of my dearest friends.

What is your idea of hell on earth?
Not being able to perform and having to work in an office for life.

What is your greatest fear?

I try not to dwell on fears but I guess being alone.

Which talent do you most wish you had?

I would like to be able to dance and pick up choreography the way I did back in the days when Tabletop Players were taking dance class with Lynne Kurdziel-Formato in the basement of Neal Radice’s Dad’s sign shop on Chippewa. Those were great days.

What superpower do you most wish you had?

Time traveler.

What would you change about your appearance?

My constant challenge is my weight.

What trait do you most despise in others?


What trait to you most despise in yourself?

Speaking at times without thinking it through and unintentionally hurting someone.          

What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty, loyalty, and laughter.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

I think I’m still waiting.

What is your guilty pleasure?


What character from fiction do you identify with most?

Cinderella…I am a hopeless romantic.

What person from history do you identify with most?


What do you consider to be the most overrated virtue?


On what occasion do you lie?

If it will keep from hurting someone.

What was the subject of your last Google search?

The Public Questionnaire J.

If you come back in another life, what person or thing would you like to be?

A better me.

What is your most prized possession?

A painting which a close friend painted for me about our friendship: Deer in Rabbit Woods.

What role, in which you will never be cast, is actually perfect for you?

Anna Leon Owens.

What is your motto?
I need to get a motto.