Chased by Zombies, Broadway Alumna Finds There’s No Place Like Home

When Emily Kinney’s (’06) character saw her mother’s body lying outside on the family farm, she fell to her knees and sobbed beside her. Sorrow quickly gave way to fear as that body lurched and hissed, grabbed hold of Kinney’s ponytail, and did its best to eat her throat.Emily Kinney joined fellow cast members at the 2011 "Walking Dead" premiere in Los Angeles.

It’s all in a day’s work on the set of AMC’s hit apocalyptic zombie drama, “The Walking Dead.”

That swing from extreme grief to extreme terror is starting to feel nearly commonplace to Kinney, a young actor who has already swung from Broadway to movies to several television roles. She’s appeared on Showtime’s “The Big C,” CBS’s “The Good Wife,” and USA’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” Her most recent effort had her fleeing kidnappers on “Law & Order: SVU.”

“It’s pretty scary,” she told Jeff Korbelik of the Lincoln Journal Star. “Throughout the (Law & Order: SVU) episode, I’m trying to escape, running through woods. I love that stuff.”

She’s enjoyed running from role to role as well, and is eager to share what she’s learned. So when Professor of Theatre Arts Jack Parkhurst told her that Nebraska Wesleyan University was producing “Spring Awakening”—the same show Kinney performed on Broadway in 2008 and 2009—she agreed to come back to campus to help.

Kinney returned to Lincoln for 10 days to apply that Tony Award-winning choreography to Nebraska Wesleyan’s production.

The Broadway production earned eight Tony Awards, including best musical and best choreography. Kinney returned to Lincoln for 10 days to apply that Tony Award-winning choreography to Nebraska Wesleyan’s production, which ran February 9-19.

Kinney’s wild schedule of auditions, rehearsals and performances may run her ragged some days. And she easily could have told Parkhurst she was too busy or too tired to come back. But when you run from kidnappers and zombies for a living, sometimes home is the best place to run to.

NWU’s cast of “Spring Awakening” was certainly glad she returned. They caught every opportunity to learn from an accomplished Broadway, film and television actress—especially one who stood in their shoes onstage at McDonald Theatre just six short years ago.

Kinney’s role as Beth Greene on the acclaimed drama, “The Walking Dead,” grew as the season progressed. Watch it Sundays at 8 p.m. Central on AMC. (Due to graphic violence, viewer discretion is advised.)

Find out more about Emily Kinney's music and purchase her five-song EP, "Blue Toothbrush," at emilykinneymusic.com.

Read more about Kinney’s experience performing on Broadway and on the big screen with Meryl Streep at “Hard Work Is No Act.”