BWW Interview: Talks with MEMPHIS Star Rhett George - His Exciting Career From Broadway to National Tour!
MM: On behalf of BroadwayWorld, I just have to say how excited we are to have you and this award winning show, MEMPHIS coming to Denver! So you have followed this wonderful show from Broadway to the national tour, what does this show mean to you?
RG: Well, MEMPHIS holds a special place in my heart just because it was my first Broadway show that I’ve been in where we’ve won Best Musical, and that was one of my goals. I was an original company member of Wicked, and it didn’t happen there. I’m sure we were close. So when we won Best Musical, that has been a dream of mine, to be in a musical and have it win a Tony for Best Musical, and that’s what happened. And, you know, I have a lot of memories on the Broadway cast. I made a lot of friends, I learned a lot about myself, and it’s a great show to be in. So to be able to transfer that to the tour and bring my experience from the Broadway cast to the tour and grow on that has been great.
MM: Well, wonderful. How has the tour been for you so far?
RG: The tour has been great. The cities have been excellent. Obviously our first city was
Memphis, and that was I think top 5 as far as the audience goes cuz they were just amazing,
but we’ve been to some great cities – Chicago, Atlanta, and stuff, so they’ve been great. And
I’ve been having a great time performing.
MM: Have you been to Denver before?
RG: Yes. I’ve been to Denver before – in, oh my gosh, 2000 or maybe 1999. I was doing
Fame – The Musical, and we were touring one week, and I went to Denver then. And then I
came back to Denver to see a couple of friends in The Lion King, maybe 2004, so this is my
maybe third or fourth time coming back.
MM: Okay. We have a lot of changes in store for you, then. So you’ve had a new CD come out called ‘The Music Will Save My Life.’ Can you tell us a little more about that?
RG: Okay, yeah. It’s my second CD. I wrote all of the songs myself and then a piano player,
or I should say producer, helped me with the music and did the music with me. I actually recorded the songs in my room in New York City to save money. I bought all the equipment myself and I bought a mic and I had my computer, my MacBook and everything, and we just recorded the vocals in my room. And I just think, for me music has always been a part of my life. I come from a big musical background. So, I always revert to music. If something’s going on, I’ll play a song. You know, I’m always having music…I buy a lot of music. So I wrote a song called ‘The Music Will Save My Life.’ It’s basically like, you know, if I’m not feeling well or..you know, the music will always heal
me. No matter what problem I’m going through. Even in good times it will heal me. So that
was the title track of my album and then I have other songs dealing with relationships and
love and just life.
MM: I firmly believe in that statement, too, that music will save your life. I am a firm believer in that because it’s done it so many times for me, too. Isn’t technology amazing where you no longer need a big studio to go to? You can actually just do it in the comfort of your home and make an amazing CD?
RG: Yes! I mean, I wish…my next step now is to really learn myself how to use the
equipment, because that’s where the producer came in because I had no idea. I mean, I
can buy all the equipment I want but if I don’t take the time to read up on how to work it
then it doesn’t do me any service. But I think it is amazing because my first album I was
like in studios, paying money for studio time, and I cut that literally maybe more than half.
Because I made my own hours if I wanted to stop or wanted to go and work til the wee
hours of the night and record, I could do that because I was in my room. So, yeah, I think
it’s amazing. I think it’s amazing how music has changed and how technology has changed.
How everybody’s pretty much doing it themselves. You no longer need the record label to
do everything for them.
MM: Is there a favorite song that you never tire of singing or rather is there a song that
actually Saves Your Life half the time, or makes you smile?
RG: That I never get tired of singing? Wow, that’s a good question. I mean, I have a lot of
songs that I like to sing.
MM: What song brightens your day? That you just sing, and it just completely brightens your
RG: What song brightens my day? I like ‘Ribbon in The Sky’ by Stevie Wonder. I’m a huge
fan of Stevie Wonder. I also really, I mean I guess one of my top songs would be ‘A Song for
You’ by Donny Hathaway. Those are my two favorite singers, along with Luther Vandross.
A lot of Luther Vandross songs I love as well. If I ever have to sing anything, I usually
sing ‘A Ribbon in the Sky’ or, you know, songs that have great melodies and tell a story. I
like to sing them.
MM: If you were not in theater, what job do you think that you would be doing in a parallel
RG: Wow, if I wasn’t in theatre…I probably would be…I used to run track and field when I
was younger and there was a point when I had to basically decide if I wanted to perform
or do track and field because you have to get up early for track, and it just wasn’t working
out with the schedules, and I chose to perform because that was my big love but I think I’d
probably be in some type of sport, running.
MM: So, Broadway star and Olympic medalist?
RG: Haha, yeah.
MM: Are there any projects in the works after this tour is finished or anything in the works?
RG: No, I mean, I’ve been grateful to be steadily working for a while now, being that that
this will be my third year going onto MEMPHIS, when it’s over. I have a lot of friends that
I envy who don’t always do Broadway shows. They’ll go off and do TV or they’ll travel
or whatever. I haven’t taken a vacation since I’ve been on this tour. We’ve had layoffs so
I’ve used that as my vacation, but I didn’t really go anywhere, I just stayed in NY and just
kindof relaxed. But, as far as going away, I think that’s going to be one of my goals after
the tour, just going away somewhere. And I love Broadway and I’m sure I’ll come back
to it, but maybe trying something different. Maybe trying to go to LA or something and do TV or something like and then coming back to Broadway. Because I have a huge love for Broadway, so I know it’s always there for me. But maybe trying something new and travelling or something.
MM: Absolutely. Well I know you have done a lot of things on TV. Do you have anything else
in the works or will we be seeing you anytime soon?
RG: Well, hopefully, but I don’t have anything in the works. I mean, I do have a web series
that I started on YouTube and I have like four episodes where I play a crazy choreographer
dance teacher. So, that’s actually something that I’m trying to develop after the tour as
well. Right now I don’t have the time and it takes a lot of planning. But after the tour, I
definitely want to get more into that and try to get important people to see it because I
think it’s very different, and I think it’s funny, and I think it’s real. Cuz I have teachers that I
was pulling from when I made the character. So, yeah, maybe I’ll work on that.
MM: Actually, that was my next question about Gerren Rhett. I love him. He’s so funny and
I’ve had dance teachers like that, as well. So I was wondering if we’ll be seeing Gerren
Rhett anytime soon, the famous choreographer?
RG: Oh my gosh. Yes, of course! People are always asking me to make another video, and
I just really have to sit down and make another storyline, because I don’t want it to just
be like the same storyline. So I have to really sit down and get my mind right to make
something so that the video – it furthers, not just plateauing at the same episode that we’ve
MM: I think it’d be funny if you actually get him to like audition people on the street just
RG: I’ve had suggestions to do that. And I’m like, okay, but I’m a little scared. I’d have
to have a cameraperson like walking behind me. I think that may be the next step.
Like involve people that have no idea what’s going on as opposed to…that’s a hundred
times more real, as opposed to actors. If I go out on the street asking people to be in my
company, it’d be really funny to see peoples’ reactions.
MM: I’m looking forward to that. Well, those are the questions I had for you. Again - thank
you so much for speaking with me and BroadwayWorld today!!! You are absolutely
wonderful as Gator and I look forward to seeing you in MEMPHIS at the Denver
The national tour of MEMPHIS is playing at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts now until October 21st. For tickets or more information, contact the box office at 303-893-4100 or online at www.denvercenter.org.