Lights, Camera, MCLA!
Lizz Furtado '91
Her own dressing room, breakfast made to order and a wink from Ice-T. While she was in hair and makeup, the sound guy popped into to say "Hi." It was just another day on the job at NBC's Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU) for Lizz Furtado '91.
Other television roles include a previous appearance on Law and Order: SVU, as well as two parts in Law and Order: Criminal Intent and a stint on Saturday Night Live. Last summer, Furtado had a recurring role in Rescue Me, with a previous recurring role on All My Children.
She also appeared on the premiere season of 30 Rock as Tina Fey's gym teacher.
The last time she appeared on SVU, Furtado was in two scenes, where she worked with two of the leads, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni. In addition to Ice-T, she's also worked with Richard Belzer, Denis Leary and Chris Noth, to name a few.
Other credits include a role in the 2008 film The Accidental Husband, starring Uma Thurman, Isabella Rossellini, Jeffery Dean Morgan and Colin Firth. In the movie, Furtado plays a part where she sings an Air Supply song during a cake-tasting scene.
"Uma Thurman is getting married and she has to taste cake. It's a funny little romantic comedy, and I do a silly thing with Jeffrey Dean Morgan where we sing," Furtado explains. "It was a lot of fun and the cake was great."
A New York City resident, Furtado also does theatre and stand-up comedy - all while working fulltime at her "day job," as a production manager at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
The television and film opportunities have Furtado on the road to the realization of a childhood dream. "I have my acceptance speech for an award ready, and have been working on it since I was probably 6 years old."
Her list of who to thank includes Bonnie Bishoff, MCLA's long-time theatre director.
"Bonnie Bishoff was amazing and instrumental in a lot of things in my development. Not just as an actor - she really helped me grow as a person. A lot of my success is due in part to me accepting who I am as a person," says Furtado.
Because there was no fine and performing arts major at the time Furtado was at the College, she majored in English, with a concentrations in theatre and public relations. "I did every theatre class, directing class, performance class possible."
The College, says Furtado, provided a valuable foundation.
"The groundwork for my success was laid for me in North Adams by all of my professors. I feel like I got an amazing liberal arts education there, to be open to anything," she explains. "In order to be a really strong performer, you need to be a well-rounded human being and a grounded human being."
Furtado considers herself fortunate.
"I've been very blessed that my scenes have all been with the leads," she says. "So, I've had the opportunity to stand side-by-side with these great names and these wonderful actors in New York and have had wonderful learning experiences."