A&E Guide: Artist Profile - Emily Althaus

Aug 12, 2015 at 3:45 pm
A&E Guide: Artist Profile - Emily Althaus

You might recognize Emily Althaus from one of your countless binge watching sessions of this last season of the smash hit Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” Althaus plays that curious young woman named Maureen Kukudio who bonds with “Crazy Eyes,” leaving the two characters to have this enigmatic draw that we can only hope gets flushed out more in the fourth season. “I’m not allowed to tell you that,” Althaus says of the status of their relationship in the next season. “But I’m back for it. We’re shooting it now — I think I can tell you that.” 

Emily Althaus is a Louisville native, raised in the Okolona neighborhood, and a graduate of duPont Manual high school (Youth Performing Arts School). “Manual and YPAS were huge for me,” Althaus explains of her high school days. “The fact that there was a program that was available to me in a public school setting, because I wouldn’t have been able to afford it otherwise, I really am so grateful. The teachers I had there lit a fire in me, and did so much to inspire and educate me and my classmates, who are also all over working professionally.”

After graduation she attended Western Kentucky University, where she continued to study acting and theater arts. From Bowling Green she found herself with the talent, the knowledge and the drive that led her to New York, where she began working on stage, not in front of a camera. Soon Broadway was calling, where she worked with Jim Parsons on a revival of “Harvey.”

“Orange is the New Black” has notoriously harvested much of their talent from the New York theater scene, and Althaus was no exception. “Originally, I went in to audition for the role of Pennsatucky’s mom in a flashback,” she says. “So I went in and put myself on tape for the casting director, which is just part of the regular gig, you know? I don’t know how long it was later, but I basically got a note saying, ‘We’re not going to use you for that part but we want to write something for you.’ And when I showed up they still didn’t really know what they were going to do with Maureen. There was no outline of who she was, so I just had to fly by the seat of pants, but ‘Orange’ is interesting because it is actually very collaborative.”