INTERVIEW: Bushkill Township's Kate Micucci says 'Don't Think Twice' role hit close to home

 Actress and Bushkill Township native Kate Micucci, bottom far left, stars in the comedy "Don't Think Twice," which will be shown tonight at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem.  (Courtesy Photo)

Actress and Bushkill Township native Kate Micucci, bottom far left, stars in the comedy "Don't Think Twice," which will be shown tonight at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. (Courtesy Photo)

Not much has changed for Kate Micucci since she was a child.

She continues to act, sing and draw. However, what some may consider hobbies have become a way of life for the Nazareth Area High School graduate.

"I feel so lucky. I was always drawing and making movies in my backyard with my brother. I still get to do that and I feel so fortunate," Micucci said Wednesday, calling from her childhood bedroom in her parents' Bushkill Township home.

The actress is back in the Lehigh Valley to promote her latest film, Don't Think Twice. The ensemble comedy will be shown tonight at ArtsQuest's Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas in Bethlehem. Following the screening, Micucci will take the stage for a question-and-answer session with fans.

Don't Think Twice was directed by comedian-actor Mike Birbiglia, who also co-stars in the film alongside Micucci. The cast includes Key and Peele star Keegan-Michael Key and actress Gillian Jacobs (Community).

Micucci plays a cartoonist named Allison, who is a member of a New York City improv comedy troupe. The group's friendship is put to the test when one of its members is cast in a Saturday Night Live-type sketch television series.

"There's definitely bits and pieces (in the film) where I went, 'Oh wow, I can totally relate to this'," Micucci said.

 Kate Micucci.  (Courtesy Photo)

Kate Micucci. (Courtesy Photo)

Birbiglia approached Micucci for the role after seeing her on the IFC series Garfunkel and Oates, she said. (The show was based on Micucci and co-star Riki Lindhome's real-life comedy music duo of the same name.) Birbiglia also changed Allison from that of a writer to an artist to fit Micucci's background.

"It was, not to sound cheesy, but it was a dream. I'm such a fan of Mike Birbiglia," Micucci said.

The camaraderie among the characters that comes across on screen was genuine, Micucci said. She added that most of the cast did not know each other prior to filming. "It feels really real and it really is," Micucci said. "We (the cast) all got together prior to shooting. We hung out, went to dinner, went bowling. We all clicked in a way and really did love each other by the (first) day we started shooting."

For Micucci, Don't Think Twice is yet another rung on the ladder of success she has been steadily climbing for a decade. Each year she has seen her celebrity star brighten, from recurring roles on Scrubs, The Big Bang Theory and Raising Hope to a featured role in the 2010 romantic comedy When in Rome and landing the voice of Velma in the animated series Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!

This fall Micucci returns to the small screen to co-star in the NBC sitcom Powerless.

Micucci is also looking forward to returning to the road with Lindhome. The duo recently performed for 1800 fans in Chicago after months away from the stage. (In 2012, Garfunkel & Oates headlined Musikfest Cafe as part of ArtsQuest's Oktoberfest celebration.)

"It felt so good," Micucci said. "I feel fortunate that I find joy in a lot of the different arts ... Every year for me has been a little more interesting and more exciting. Every year it's been a nice stepping stone."

So where is the first place Micucci likes to visit when she's home? "I always go to get ice cream," she says, in between laughter. "For some reason, you can't find soft-serve ice cream in Los Angeles."

Even with a raised Hollywood profile, Micucci is aware of just how much blood, sweat and tears goes into achieving such success.

"My mom always told me, 'Focus on the thing you're doing when you're doing it.' Thank goodness it's stuff I love to do," Micucci said. "It's so much hard work on the line, to put yourself out there. There's so much rejection. It's not easy in any way. There's so much lack of sleep ... You really have to love doing the thing you're doing."

As for Micucci's bucket list, she would love to write a musical. Asked what it would be about, Micucci laughed and said, "If I knew that, I would have started writing it."

Actress Kate Micucci hosts a film screening and Q&A tonight at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas as the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Tickets cost $13.50-$15. steelstacks.org