BWW Interviews: Tricia Tanguy and Michelle Rompola of SISTER ACT National Tour
Tricia: I came through Colorado Springs on the CATS national tour, but Denver, for sure. I also worked at Theatre Aspen in 2010. But I love Colorado and I'm thrilled to be here. It's beautiful.
Michelle: It is my first time and I love it. I think it's so fun already. We've only been here a few days, but I'm really excited to see all of Denver because I love this arts center, so I can't wait to see the rest of the city.
And where to you hail from?
Tricia: Cleveland, Ohio.
Michelle: Buffalo, New York.
So, while Broadway national tours are riddled with movie musicals, what sets Sister Act apart from the others?
Michelle: Sister Act is not just a recreation of the movie. It's totally different, actually. It's set in the 70s as opposed to the movie, which is in the 60s. The movie is...we take the same basic plot of the movie, but it's really vamped up and really fun. It's perfect for the stage. So it's really not just a recreation of the movie, but it takes what everyone loves from the movie and adds more to it for the stage. So it's really fun for the audience.
Tricia: Yeah, it's a brand new score by Alan Meinken. So people sometimes will come and say "We didn't hear 'Joyful, Joyful' or 'Hail, Holy Queen'," but they leave the theatre so happy and just, you really see that peoples' eyes are twinkling and their hearts are full, and that's just such a great gift that we get to give every night.
How has the tour been received?
Tricia: Really, really well. Really well. During the holidays and stuff, when we were collecting for Broadway Cares, we had the chance to collect after the show, and I know there were a few of us who'd always be the first ones to sign up because it's just so nice to come out and hear the response that people have and to hear how touched they are, and just to see what on a daily basis you're getting to do. Especially when nuns come to the show, that's the best. You know, and they come over, and we're in our glitter habits at the end, and they'll be like "We love those glitter habits! Those are beautiful." Just so proud of us and so happy, so it's really a gift.
Michelle: Every time that the show is over and we come back on to sing for the curtain call, the whole audience is dancing. And it's every night for the last year. That really just connects with us and you know the audience is enjoying themselves and to have the power to get people to be up and dancing and having fun with you. And it's so fun for us, too. It's wonderful.
How does Sister Act speak to you personally?
Tricia: Well, I grew up Catholic, so there's that part of me that's really happy and I get to go onstage and, you know, it's that little, I don't know, it's just a part of my life, you know. Some of us try to go to church on Sundays together, you know. Just do the real deal. Not cross ourselves onstage but to do the real deal and honor that. For myself, I was in the callbacks for the Broadway company, so for me it's been kind of a stepping stone now to finally be a part of this company and be a part of this wonderful show and this legacy. I've really enjoyed myself.
Michelle: I grew up watching Sister Act with my nonna - that's grandma in Italian. And she spoke very broken English, but for some reason, the only American movie she had was Sister Act, so we watched it all the time, and my brothers, my cousins, everyone knows Sister Act because we'd always watch it at my nonna's house. So it was actually a really big part of my childhood, so you know, I relate to it every day. I think of when I was a kid, like watching these nuns sing and thinking of how much fun - it was like my favorite movie. So I love doing it. I always think of my family when I watch the show.
What do you hope the audiences are taking away from this production?
Tricia: Everybody comes for different reasons. Some people are coming to the theatre for art and to be moved and to really have an experience and to enjoy the talent that's onstage. Other people come because maybe they're going through something difficult in their life and they need to put aside 2.5 hours and just forget about it and just lose themselves in our work. So, whatever the reason they're coming, I hope people just come and they enjoy themselves, they have fun and leave with a full heart and just a twinkle in their eye, like I said earlier. Because you do, you see people leave and their souls just seem to have a little more sparkle than they did when they came in. It's nice and it's refreshing and it's all about that give and take of energy from us to them in the audience. It's a shared experience.
Michelle: Everything that Tricia said. I mean, I hope that everyone leaves with a smile on their face. I love the show b/c it's not only funny but it's very moving and touching, so for an audience member to experience that, I just hope that they always leave with a smile on their face and a warm glow in their heart. *laughs* Amen.
If you weren't doing theatre in a parallel universe, what would you be doing? If theatre wasn't part of your life, what would you be doing?
Tricia: When I was little, I always wanted to be an obstetrician, just because my name was in the word. But honestly, probably math or science of some sort. I was a huge math and science nerd in high school. My closest friends like have PhDs in biology and chemistry and work at labs and I still talk to them all the time, so probably one of those.
Michelle: I would be one of two things. One, a veterinarian, because I've always loved animals. But also, same as Trisha, I think if I didn't love theatre, I'd have been, like, a mathematician. I loved math in high school. It was my favorite class. It just made sense to me. I was going to get a dual degree in musical theatre and math, but then that didn't seem like such a good idea, and I got a little more involved in musical theatre than math. But if for some reason in some odd universe where I didn't do this, I would be a mathematician, I think.
Is there a play or musical that you absolutely adore that you'd want to be in over and over again, or an ideal show besides this one?
Tricia: I don't know. 10 years ago, Sister Act didn't exist. You know what I mean? So, for me, I always say maybe it hasn't been written yet, and I just don't know. Because I love new work, I love being able to bring myself to something and watch it be formed and sculpted. But it goes without saying there are wonderful things about shows that already exist, and being put into that and finding your own version of that that you get to do and bring yourself.....But yeah, maybe, who knows. We'll see. The world's your oyster.
Michelle: I love the musical All Shook Up. I think I'm one of very few people who love-love it, but I saw it on Broadway, and I just left laughing. I thought it was so funny, and just loved the lead in that show. The lead girl in that show dresses up like a guy in it and pretends to be a guy. It's hilarious. I think it's so fun. I would love to be in that show. I love it.
No one's ever said that one before.
Michelle: I'm sure. But I thought it was the funniest show I'd ever seen, and I would love to be in it.
What's next for you all after this?
Tricia: Well we have dates till the end of June next year, so who knows?
From This Author Michael Mulhern