Linda Powell Makes Her Mark In Long Wharf's 'Roommate'

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Linda Powell was anxious when it came time to tell her parents that she wanted to be an actor.

Her father is Colin Powell, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, national security advisor, and secretary of state, and her mother Alma was the chairperson of the foundation American Promise.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve done at that point of my life to go to my parents and say this is what I wanted to do,” says Powell. “I thought there might be push-back, but they really surprised me. My father basically said, ‘I don’t know how to help you do that, but I want you to be happy.’ “

Those early days as an actor were a struggle for Powell and if her parents thought she might change her mind in time, “a decade into it they gave up,” she says, laughing.

Since then, Powell has performed a wide range of roles in film, television, and the stage. She’s starred on Broadway in Tony-nominated play revivals Wilder, Wilder, Wilder, On Golden Pond, and The Trip to Bountiful as well as many off-Broadway and regional theater productions. This summer at New Haven’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas, she played Portia in The Merchant of Venice, which she performed outdoors two years earlier in the Jewish Ghetto in Venice, Italy.

Powell returns to Long Wharf Theater for her fourth show there with The Roommate, which runs through Sunday, Nov. 4. Jen Silverman’s comedy is staged by Mike Donahue, who also directed Powell in The Moors when it played off-Broadway last year.

“Sharon is an Iowa housewife and an empty nester,” says Powell, describing her character in the play.