1) What or who initially inspired you to be an actress?
*Acting classes when I was 12 twelve years old.
2) What is the best advice you have ever received and that you would pass along to other actors trying to make it into the business?
*Go to college and get your acting degree. Tell the truth onstage and off. Keep your word. Handle your money.
3) How difficult was it for you to get into the character of Felicia? Do you find that you two have more similarities than differences or the other way around?
*Not hard at all. Felicia and I are both Tennesseans, young, African Americans, we’ve both experienced falling in love with someone, have a love of music, and are aspiring artists. There’s only one big difference, Felicia and I are women from different times in the history of this country, so the experience of overt and oppressive racism is what divides us.
4) How does this part compare to others that you have done in the past?
*Felicia Farrell is my first original role in a Broadway show. That is an enormous gift and a real privilege. Other than that it’s the same as any of the other heavy hitting roles I’ve played. And I’ve played them. They all require relentless attention to detail, athleticism, and an advanced skill set.
5) Is there a dream role that you want to play and if so what is that role?
*Felicia Farrell. And I’d love to play her if MEMPHIS is made into a feature film.
6) Do you feel that your life has changed since this role? If so how?
*Six years of development on MEMPHIS allowed to me to grow as a woman and an artist so I’ve changed as the piece evolved, and that’s good. Aside from that the biggest change is being recognized by people because they’re familiar with the show.
7) What was your first reaction when you won both the Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle?
*Complete and utter surprise.
8) What was it like working with the cast?
*Awesome. Everyone is so ridiculously talented, giving, supportive, and crazily funny…every single one of them.
9) Being with Memphis since the beginning, you got to experience all of the changes that the production went through. Were there any changes that you wish they kept? Where there any that you were happy they left out?
*Every change we’ve made to the show has been for the best. All the changes have helped us do the best storytelling through music, dance, and text that we can. As for anything I wish we’d kept, the soloist in the song “Everybody Wants to Be Black On Saturday Night”.
10) What are your plans after Memphis? Do you plan on staying in this role till the bitter end or has temptation of creating a new character been calling you?
*There is no such thing as a bitter end for me when it comes to MEMPHIS. I love this show and my role, and I plan to work on them as long as I respond to them as an artist. I’ve had such an amazing journey with MEMPHIS, I know I’ll leave the show when I’m ready. Till then enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
11) When we saw Memphis, Huey was played by Bryan Fenkart. How is working with Bryan compared to working with Chad? Do you find yourself approaching Felicia differently depending on which leading man you are working with that night? What is the difference in energy/give-and-take between the two?
*Chad and Brian work distinctly differently as actors, in addition to being very different physical types, energies, and presences onstage. My Felicia isn’t different with each of them, just adjusted in how she receives them and interprets their information
12) Is there any person that you took your inspiration from for the role of Felicia? If so than who and why?
*There was no person who inspired Felicia Farrell for me. I really dug into the text for Felicia. And because I’d been with the show from the beginning I got to assert certain qualities based on what I found in the text, the time period, the location, the music, and me, my own experiences.
13) Is performing six days a week every tiring physically or emotionally? How do you train yourself as an actor to keep up with the pace?*Yes, it is demanding emotionally and physically, but a degree in Music Theatre is a big help! I’m in voice lessons regularly, the rest is treating my body well, and ordering the other projects in my days so that MEMPHIS has my full attention once I walk through the stage door every night.