BWW Interviews: Ta'Rea Campbell of SISTER ACT
SISTER ACT starring Ta'Rea Campbell is coming to Blumenthal Performing Arts Ovens Theater, January 8-13. Broadway's musical comedy was nominated for five Tony Awards in 2011. The show features original music by 8-time Oscar winner, Alan Menken (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE LITTLE MERMAID, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS). Tickets are now on sale at the Blumenthal Box Office: 704-372-1000.
Ta'Rea Campbell portrays the role of Deloris Van Cartier, the wannabe diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a crime and the cops hide her in the last place anyone would think to look-a convent! Ta'Rea is best known for starring as Nala in the LION KING on Broadway and the national tour and THE BOOK OF MORMON. I caught up with her on tour in Fort Lauderdale. She was under the gun doing press junkets while driving in her car.
LAW: Where are you?
TC: I'm in Fort Lauderdale. I'm going to be performing tonight. I just went to the mall and I bought a yoga mat and shoes.
LAW: Are they good shoes?
TC: They're great shoes!
LAW: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
TC: I was young. My parents took me to see ANNIE. I started singing "The Sun will come out..." everywhere. I would sing it at the top of the stairs and my family would have to pay me a quarter to get past me on the steps. I also sang in my church choir when I was five-years-old.
LAW: Where were you born and raised?
TC: I was born in Philadelphia. I attended a small performing arts high school in Philadelphia and then I combined singing and acting at Marymount Manhattan College.
LAW: What was your first professional job?
TC: I did a print ad for Pepsi. It was in Jet and Ebony Magazines. I went to the Rite Aid [Drug Store] to get copies. That was great. I was twelve-years-old.
LAW: What was your most memorable acting job?
TC: Playing AIDA on Broadway. I had seen it a year before and then I auditioned and I got the role. That was special.
LAW: Did you audition for Deloris or did they already know your work?
TC: They knew my work, but I had to audition two times. They were great and friendly. The director, Jerry [Zaks] knew my work. He directed me in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.
LAW: Tell me about Deloris Van Cartier. How did you prepare for the role?
TC: Her real name is Doris Carter, but she is Deloris Van Cartier. She appears in not the best clubs and she dates an awful guy. I do many things to prepare for the role. I have to be in good physical shape, and mentally have confidence. I do yoga to warm up.
LAW: What's been your best experience being on the road?
TC: It hasn't come yet. There's a line in the play where Deloris tells the audience she's a hometown girl from Philadelphia. Well I'm from Philadelphia. I'm going to be there in April. My Philadelphia family and friends are going to be in the audience to react to that line. I can't wait.
LAW: What has been your worst experience on the road?
TC: Feeling exhausted. And I can't go to the refrigerator to get food late at night when I'm in a hotel. 'Just missing the comforts of home.
LAW: What's your favorite thing to do when you are back home?
TC: To do nothing. I just sit on the couch and watch TV with my fiancé, my new fiancé, we got engaged last week.
LAW: Best wishes to you.
TC: Thank you. And I love to be with my Chihuahua Beagle mix, Stevie. I miss her a lot when I'm on the road.
LAW: What's your favorite food to cook when you're home?
TC: Spicy chili, homemade sauce and pasta dishes. The spicy food though, isn't good for my voice.
LAW: How long are you on tour?
TC: I started in Toronto, October 3rd. and my contract is for a year.
LAW: Have you ever been to Charlotte before?
TC: Yes, my aunt lives in Charlotte and I was in Charlotte in AIDA many years ago.
LAW: Is there a difference in the audience reaction, depending on what city you are in?
TC: In Florida, at this time of year, there's an older crowd from up north. They're a little more reserved and quiet. In Toronto they were very polite. The audiences are great.
LAW: When is your wedding date?
TC: It's so hard to plan on the road. We won't start planning the wedding until 2014.
LAW: Do you mind if I ask his name?
TC: Jonathan Dinklage. He plays the violin. We met through a friend, nine years ago.
LAW: Well your next interview should be starting. I'll be in the audience on Tuesday to see you.
TC: Thank you. I hope you enjoy the show.