Abigail Shapiro joins the roster of “Doom Patrol” as Dorothy Spinner when the superhero series returns June 25 on HBO Max and DC Universe. Shapiro, who celebrates a birthday next week — “It’s my golden birthday: I’m turning 20 on June 20 in 2020,” she says — is no stranger to acting. She was 12 …
Abigail Shapiro joins the roster of “Doom Patrol” as Dorothy Spinner when the superhero series returns June 25 on HBO Max and DC Universe.
Shapiro, who celebrates a birthday next week — “It’s my golden birthday: I’m turning 20 on June 20 in 2020,” she says — is no stranger to acting. She was 12 when she played Cindy-Lou in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” at Madison Square Garden and 13 when she and her younger sister, Milly, wrote and performed their own cabaret show at Feinstein’s/54 Below — the first minors to ever do so. She starred a year later in the off-Broadway production of “Liberty: A Monumental Musical.”
Shapiro — who was attending Fordham University when she was cast as Dorothy, the mysterious daughter of the Chief, a k a Dr. Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton) — spoke to The Post about the series, her acting career and about raising awareness for cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD), her rare congenital condition.
Tell us about Dorothy Spinner.
Dorothy is the daughter of the Chief and the primitive woman he met on his expedition in the Yukon in 1917. She has a deformed face and has the appearance of [an] ape. She also has these special abilities that are very dangerous and can manifest anything she imagines. She has a group of imaginary friends she doesn’t have much control over; they emerge when Dorothy is overly emotional in some way. Not all of them are good — so because of that she has the potential to be a threat to the end of the world.
Did you watch Season 1 of “Doom Patrol”?
Yes, and when I first watched it I didn’t know what to expect. I immediately fell in love with it. I’m not normally a fan of superhero shows … but this is not a normal superhero show. It goes to all these weird, quirky, dark places … and it’s not afraid to explore the darker sides of our humanity. The characters are so relatable and so imperfect and cursed with these abilities, instead of being blessed with them. They don’t really want to be superheroes, if you think about it, and it puts them into situations where they end up saving a world that doesn’t really want them in it.
You had an interesting audition experience for “Doom Patrol.”
I was in school [at Fordham], and the day before I got an email to submit my audition tape, my friend was telling me to watch the show. It was a crazy coincidence. After my audition, I was watching the trailer [for the show] and that’s when the email came for my [audition] callback. It was weird synchronicity. I was in a cafe called Argo Tea when my agent called and said, “They want you to play Dorothy!” I looked over my shoulder and saw a poster of Diane Guerrero on the wall, she plays Crazy Jane on “Doom Patrol,” and I immediately said “Yes!”
Describe CCD and how you became an advocate for those dealing with the condition.
It’s a bone disorder that affects teeth and bones; the teeth are usually slow to grow in and there are some deformities. You don’t have a full collarbone or any collarbone at all. I’m very grateful that I was able to get the treatment I needed when I was very young, so now that I’m older, it’s almost finished. My mom and sister have it, so I had them to look up to and [to] support me.
There was an act introduced in February 2019 called the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act, stipulating that anyone with the rare disorder would be able to get medical treatment covered by insurance. As of right now, that’s not the case. I want to change that and bring awareness to the act and help make a needed change.
I also want to speak up about [CCD] now because, as a young female, the beauty standard is almost impossible to adhere to. I want to inspire others with a rare disorder of some sort to embrace their imperfections. I feel like you can’t truly flourish until you embrace what you don’t like about yourself.