Caption: Gates McFadden at Star Trek Las Vegas
Every now and then, the lives of the actors and the characters they play seem to run in tandem. In the TNG episode “Data’s Day,” Data—noting that Dr. Crusher had once won a dance competition—sought her out so she could teach him to dance. The episode’s so-called “dancing doctor” was a role that was right up actress Gates McFadden’s alley. After college, she had studied physical theatre, movement and mime under Jacques LeCoq at the instructor’s International Theatre School in Paris. McFadden subsequently served as director of choreography and puppet movement for The Jim Henson Company on the films The Dark Crystal, Dreamchild, Labyrinth and The Muppets Take Manhattan. Like many of her Star Trek colleagues, McFadden worked extensively on the New York stage, appearing in productions of “To Gillian on her 37th Birthday,” “How to Say Goodbye” and “Cloud 9.” These days, McFadden has returned to her theatrical roots and serves as artistic director for Ensemble Studio Theatre LA. She recently finished construction on two small side-by-side theater spaces in Atwater Village, north of downtown Los Angeles.