Forget Kevin Bacon. Everyone in Hollywood is six degrees from Worcester’s Alicia Witt.
And with a new album, “The Conduit,” out now, a fall tour kicking off in Cambridge Oct 1, and new book hitting shelves Oct. 5, she is most certainly that.
“It’s a blessing to be busy. The alternative would be not something I’d enjoy,” Witt says from her Nashville home, where she’s decorated walls with reminders of her Massachusetts roots, like photos of 19th-century downtown Worcester, “so I feel like my hometown is part of my day-to-day,” she says.
Born to schoolteachers Robert and Diane Witt in 1975, Alicia was something of a child prodigy. Reading by age 3, reciting Shakespeare by 5, she landed on ABC’s “That’s Incredible!” (YouTube it.) She was spotted by a talent scout, looking for a gifted child-type for David Lynch’s “Dune.”
In her teens and 20s, Witt struggled with eating disorders and body image. Her road to recovery, in part, spurred her new book, “Small Changes: A Rules-Free Guide to Add More Plant-Based Foods, Peace & Power to Your Life.”
Q. You were known as a child prodigy.
A. I was reading and writing at a young age. By 3, I was able to read pretty proficiently, and I’m so thankful for that, because without question, that’s [what set me on an acting path]. I have no idea if I would’ve become an actor, or known that was a possibility, if I hadn’t gotten to be in “Dune.” That was all because of reciting Shakespeare.
Q. How did you end up on “That’s Incredible!”?
A. The producer saw a photo of me reading in a magazine, and got in touch and asked if I had anything I could do on the show. My mom had, at that point, taught me how to do a scene from “Romeo & Juliet.” I was 5. Two years later, the casting director for “Dune” was searching for someone to play the role of Alia, and [saw that clip]. It was serendipity.
Q. And that wasn’t the only time you worked with David Lynch.
A. I’ve worked with him four times — “Dune,” the original “Twin Peaks,” the most recent “Twin Peaks,” and an HBO movie, “Hotel Room.” But my memories of him from that first audition are incredibly vivid. He feels like a family member because he was such a formative part of my childhood. He’s always been there — supportive and genuinely interested in my life, and my mom and dad.
Q. “The Sopranos” must’ve been great, too.
A. It was. I auditioned with Michael Imperioli. I remember thinking at that time, “Woah. This is like making the best movie I’ve ever made, but it’s actually going to be on television?” Because there was a big difference, at that time, between film and television. Television felt very television. Love that show.
Q. Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” was another big one.
A. Another show I was a huge fan of. The casting director sent a part to me [to audition for], my best friend and I taped it in my Nashville living room — and sure enough I got the part. I love Zelda. I often think: What would Zelda do?
Q. You took piano lessons from a BU professor as a kid?
A. I did. My dad would drive me back and forth from Worcester to Cambridge twice a week. In addition I took lessons from a music teacher in Worcester. It was something I pursued seriously for most of my childhood. And it served me on a practical level when I moved to LA because I ended up playing piano in hotels and lobby bars as I was trying to gain my footing as an actor.
Q. And have you always written your own songs for piano?
A. I always dabbled in it, but it wasn’t until about 12 years ago that I finally got brave enough to share, dipping my baby toe in. Now I cannot imagine my life without making my own songs. I can communicate with songs in a way that I don’t know how to in words.
Q. We just talked about a few roles. A lot of people also know you from Hallmark Christmas movies. What do most people know you from?
A. [laughs] The question I get asked a lot that I don’t know how to answer is: “What have I seen you in?” And I’m almost always wrong if I try to guess.
Buy tickets for Witt’s Cambridge show at mideastoffers.com.