Most famous for playing Claire Fisher on HBO’s darkly funny Six Feet Under, Lauren Ambrose returns to TV in her first major role -- Debbie in USA’s new murder mystery, Dig -- since the show went off the air in 2005.
Perhaps it was because she was spoiled with the writing on Six Feet Under that she has only done a handful of guest spots in the decade since.
“It was a very idyllic television experience,” Ambrose, 37, says of the HBO series, which was her first major role following a handful of teen comedies. “I was very young so it was like acting boot camp for me. The writing was really good and they were writing to our strengths.”
And it was the script that drew her to two-time Emmy Award winning producer Gideon Raff’s (Homeland) new series.
“[Gideon] outlined the arc of the character and it sounded really interesting to me,” Ambrose says. “And I really enjoyed talking to him, which actually -- I don’t know -- I think I’ve learned something in my old age from doing this for a long time.”
It was that instinct and the promise that her character Debbie, who is first seen living in a cult compound, is “going to do awesome s--t.”
While the return to TV is a welcome one for fans, it’s evident that returning to the stage is Ambrose’s true passion. Since her time on HBO, the actress made her Broadway debut in the revival of Awake and Sing! and later appeared in the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park performance of Romeo and Juliet.
“I love working in the theater,” Ambrose admits. “I happen to have young children right now so it’s more challenging.”
If she could find the time, it would be to star in Funny Girl, which was set for a Broadway-bound revival in 2011 before it was suddenly canceled. “I sing and I still have a desire to [do it],” she says of role that was earning buzz for her “brilliant performance” as Fanny Brice--the same role that made Barbra Streisand a star. “I would love it. I hope it works out for me someday.”
And it’s at that moment when she jokes about spreading the news in the theater scene: ‘You know who wants to do a musical?’
Until that works out, fans can watch her on Dig, premiering Thursday, Mar. 5 at 10 p.m. ET.