St. Louis native Annie Wersching will return to her hometown this month to lead fundraising efforts for an endowment in her parents' names — St. Louis performing arts icons Frank and Sandy Wersching — that will benefit St. Louis students studying theater at Southeast Missouri State University.
A graduate of Crossroads College Preparatory School and Millikin University, Wersching has a long list of television and film credits, including "Bruce Almighty," "General Hospital," "CSI," "NCIS," "Rizzolli and Isles" and "24," as well as live touring productions of "Anything Goes" and "A Christmas Carol." We had the opportunity to visit with Wersching about the scholarship, enjoying St. Louis with her son, her latest project (hint: it involves oil barons), and how she entertained Kiefer Sutherland on set.
First of all, I'd like to thank you for taking time to talk to us today. I understand you're shooting a TV show this week. Is that still under wraps, or could we get some inside scoop? Right after my trip to St. Louis next week, I'm headed to shoot "Dallas." I have a recurring character this season. That's huge! So Bobby or J.R., who do you prefer? I remember watching with my grandparents but I have to do my homework and catch up for this new season. How about you? I prefer Bobby, probably because I'm a sweetheart. (Laughs) Me too! But your first answer was very diplomatic! So you're returning to St. Louis to lead efforts to establish a scholarship in honor of your parents, the late Frank and Sandy Wersching. Your parents owned the St. Charles Theatre and Opera House and had a tremendous impact on St. Louis arts. How did they help nurture your interest in the performing arts? You know, I was never forced into it, not at all. My father passed in '89; I was 12. He was the one who was the theater director and opera singer, and he took my mom along for the ride. She did the costumes, and they took a troupe to Italy and performed in the streets for 30 days, and I always heard the stories from my mom. I started taking theater classes and doing plays in high school in St. Louis and just never looked back after that. Fans who have missed you as FBI Agent Renee Walker from "24" will be excited to hear that you're also appearing on the mid-season premiere of "Body of Proof." Anything you can tell us about the upcoming season? It starts up in January. I just shot the first two episodes. That was a lot of fun. I come across as a very sweet nurse, but it may not end up that way — that's all I can say. You and husband, actor Stephen Full, have a little boy, Freddie, who recently turned 2. Have you had the opportunity to visit St. Louis with Freddie? Oh, yes, we've been many, many times. He's already been to Busch Stadium twice. Kids change, and stuff happens so fast, so I try to come back often so people can see him.
Any places that you visited here as a child that you enjoy visiting with him now? We definitely have the zoo on our schedule for the coming week. A lot of times when we're in St. Louis it's in the winter, so I'm glad to be there during the warmer weather. Our trips are usually about visiting family. My mom and I used to feed the ducks in Forest Park, so we're going to do that, too, if the weather's good. Some people might not be aware that you spent 14 years with the St. Louis Celtic Step Dancers. Have you had a chance to break out those moves at any Hollywood soirees? (Laughter) Let's see, I definitely did it a few times on the "24" set; that's what Kiefer [Sutherland] was always trying to get me to do. I also did it on "E! News" for St. Patrick's Day. I do it when I come home to St. Louis for St. Patrick's Day every year, but I can only do it for about two minutes, and then I can't breathe! It's very different from when I was 10. You're a die-hard Cardinals fan, is that right? All I know is at this moment [just prior to Game 5 of the NLCS], as I talk to you, I am head-to-toe in Cardinals gear and so is Freddie. I'm pretty sure Freddie is going to be a pitcher for the Cardinals someday. He's got a pretty good arm! Any other projects coming up you'd like to share? The scholarship, that's the biggest thing; it's at the home of Mary Strauss, of the Fox Theatre, and it's going to be a fun event. I'm going to be singing. I was a musical theater major, so it's going to be a tribute to my mom. I want everyone to come hang out! It's great because it's being established specifically to help St. Louis youth study theater at Southeast Missouri State. I like that it's helping a kid that might not otherwise be able go to college get an opportunity.
Mary Strauss, co-owner of the Fox Theatre, will host An Evening with the Arts featuring Annie Wersching at her home at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26. A $75 donation to the scholarship fund includes hors d'oeuvres, beverages and entertainment. Visit stlcares.com or www.iamsoutheast.com or call 573-651-2259 for details. Follow Wersching on Twitter at @Wersching.From the calendar