Beth Urech is serious about her comedy and serious about her work, but you would not get that impression upon meeting her. A vivacious and engaging woman of “a certain age” who doesn’t pay much attention to the stereotype of how an older woman should act or live. She’s a bundle of energy on speed, but not the drug, she is on the speed of life and light. She smiles easily, laughs often, uses her God-given talents to enlighten and entertain, and makes the people around her feel like they are important. In addition to a very busy life of traveling, performing and teaching, she writes Beth Speaks for Herself, a column in the Las Vegas Optic, in which she covers a variety of topics. Her next live performance of ActYourAge! will be on Wednesday, April 20, 7 p.m., in Kennedy Hall. Tickets to this fundraiser for Samaritan House are $12 for adults, $8 for students.
Q. What brought you to Las Vegas?
A. Serendipity! Mark and I did Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica and on our way home we came to that proverbial fork in the road and took it.
Q. You’ve had a busy and interesting life. In thinking about your accomplishments, what are you most proud of and why?
A. Sarah Elizabeth and Thomas Daniel: my two brilliant and delightful children.
Q. What are the three characteristics that define who you are?
A. I’m able to speak up, reach out, and bounce back.
Q. Apart from your response to the previous question, what would you most want people to know about you and why?
A. When I returned to Chicago after 30 years living in Switzerland, I decided to shed my corporate blazer to blaze a creative life. I couldn’t find any challenging roles in theater, so I started writing for myself. The result is my 55-minute solo show. I premiered ActYourAge! three years ago in Chicago and have since performed 40-plus times around the country as well as in Switzerland and Ireland.
Q. You do a lot of writing but your venue is performance. Talk about that and what kicked off your career.
A. I always loved theater but never allowed myself to pursue it as a career. Then one day I realized that three of my favorite friends were no longer with us. I decided not to wait any longer to do what I really wanted to do.
Q. When you started were you operating outside your comfort zone, or did you jump right in without breaking a sweat?
A. Whether it’s performing or speaking or coaching, when we stop thinking about ourselves and focus on our audience the fear floats away.
Q. What do you want from an audience when you perform?
A. I’ve been told by many that my show is inspiring and that inspires me.
Q. What gets you down?
A. I have a low threshold of boredom.
Q. What gets you going?
A. Waking up every morning next to the man I adore who then brings me a hot cup of coffee and a hug.
Q. You hardly seem the type to have had a broken spirit, as you say in your bio. Talk about how you got past feeling broken to becoming the upbeat and creative person you are.
A. As I say in ActYourAge!, when I was 17, I received some invaluable advice from my mother. I was the new girl in town, it was my senior year in high school, I was miserable. I decided I’d have to become a bookworm and a wallflower. My mother said, “Beth don’t hang back! Find someone in a new group who looks as miserable as you feel, go up and start a conversation. You will both feel better.” I took my mother’s advice and it worked. In other words, stop feeling sorry for yourself and start thinking about others.
Q. In the journey we call Life, what are the things you don’t want to miss along the way?
A. I love daffodils, water lapping against the side of my sailboat, sunsets in New Mexico and sunrises over Lake Michigan. Especially when I’m next to the people I love.
Q. What challenges lie ahead for you creatively, or have you done it all?
A. At this age, I’m at the helm of my life. I just need to stay on course, appreciate the smooth water and tackle the choppy water when it comes. Now that I’m living most of the year in New Mexico I need a new metaphor for my life.
Q. Talk about your family and their reactions to your creative spirit and high energy.
A. Come see ActYourAge! Wednesday, April 20 at the Kennedy lounge 7 p.m. and you’ll find out!
Q. If you could make one difference in the world, what would it be and why?
A. Where your talents and the world’s needs meet, there you will find your destiny. My special talent is helping people communicate effectively using the spoken word. This week I trained The Breitling Jet Team: seven former French Air Force pilots who are magnificent in the sky and can now express themselves eloquently on the ground! Here in Las Vegas, I’m helping young international students at UWC-USA speak for themselves. For me, it’s all about communication!