Yvonne Strahovski is making her Broadway debut this fall, which is pretty cool, especially since she's never actually caught a Broadway show before.
"I don't know if I should be ashamed to say I've never seen one or if I should be kind of proud of it," says the bombshell Australian over coffee. "Probably a bit of both."
Strahovski, who played a CIA agent in NBC's action comedy show "Chuck" and then crossed over to the dark side as a serial killer in "Dexter," plays Lorna Moon in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of Clifford Odets' "Golden Boy."
The play, which opens next week at the Belasco Theater, is about a young man torn between his true calling as a violinist and the lure of fast money as a boxer. Strahovski, 30, plays his manager's mistress and is in 10 of the play's 12 scenes.
The play represents something of a return to Strahovski's roots. A University of Western Sydney graduate, she emerged intent on a career onstage and even co-founded her own theater company.
On a whim, she decided to audition for TV shows in America, flew to Los Angeles and landed "Chuck" in three days. "I remember calling my parents and telling them I'm not coming home," she says. "And I never used my return ticket home."
After five seasons in slinky outfits delivering vicious kicks to enemies, Strahovski next found herself in something of a love triangle with Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall in season 7 of "Dexter."
Next month she appears opposite Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand in "The Guilt Trip," and next year she'll be in "I, Frankenstein" with Bill Nighy and Aaron Eckhart.
It was while filming "I, Frankenstein" in Australia that Strahovski went to a comedy festival and was reminded how much she adored performing live. Right about then, Broadway was calling — and she leapt. "There's something completely raw and unique about live theater and it puts you on your toes," she says.
Strahovski says the play is still revealing itself to her and she's stretching her acting muscles alongside a cast of 19 that includes Danny Burstein and Tony Shalhoub.
She recently sat down with The Associated Press to evade questions about whether she survived season 7 of "Dexter," to boast about her unusual gun skills and to complain about her cable company.
AP: How different is this experience?
Strahovski: Honestly, I do feel a little bit like a fish out of water. A, I've never done a Broadway play. B, I've never seen a Broadway play. C, I'm Australian. And I'm an Australian coming in to do a classic American play that is set in the '30s. It's been challenging on all fronts.
AP: What can you tell us about "Dexter"? Do you survive?
Strahovski: I can't reveal much. It's so hard to talk about. And I haven't even caught up with the last two episodes. My cable didn't turn on last night and I was on hold for 40 minutes with Time Warner. You should print that! I was on hold for 40 minutes and nobody answered the phone.
AP: Were you a fan of "Dexter" before you landed a job on it?
Strahovski: I had seen bits and pieces but I had never watched episode after episode. So I actually sat down and watched all six seasons back-to-back for three weeks before I started shooting.
AP: What kind of mood were you in after that?
Strahovski: I was mixed. I was having some weird dreams and when I finally got to the set, everyone was their character. I had a really hard time calling Jennifer 'Jennifer' and not Debra, and Michael 'Michael' and not Dexter. I was so in that world.
AP: Your accents are always pretty good. How do you do it?
Strahovski: My first language was Polish — my whole family is Polish. I'm the only Australian. So I think because of that, I have maybe an ear for different types of sounds and my mouth is used to using different muscles.
AP: What strange skills have you learned in your career?
Strahovski: I know how to punch properly. I know how to kick really well. I now know how to use a gun, especially a 9 mmm Smith and Wesson. I like to think I can defend myself if I ever got mugged, but who knows? In the moment I might shrivel up.
AP: When you have any downtime, where can we find you?
Strahovski: If I got a small amount of time, I would usually probably veg out on the couch to some sort of brainless television. But my cable hasn't been working so I've been spending a lot of time on Skype with my friends. I switch off with my friends and my parents. I seem to live on Skype because my dearest are so far away.