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THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with Your Favorite Broadway Stars- AMAZING GRACE's Laiona Michelle

Welcome to THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with your favorite Broadway stars. Want to know what hooked them to a career in the theater? Their dream roles? Their Broadway crushes? Read on!

In this week's edition, we caught up with Laiona Michelle, who stars as 'Nanna' in Amazing Grace, currently playing at the Nederlander Theatre.


What is the first Broadway show you ever saw?

I saw my first Broadway production when I was a graduate student at Brandeis University with Jay Bernard Calloway. We were moving to NYC and we purchased orchestra seats to see the 2000 Broadway revival of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. That musical has always been a favorite of mine. I remember covering 'Mary' in my undergraduate program at Alabama State University, so to see it on Broadway several years later was thrilling.

What is your most unique pre-show ritual?

I'm not a ritual kind of girl, but I try to be consistent with my pre-show prep. I give my dog a good walk before I head to the theatre, and then I must stop and get a red eye (coffee with espresso) to get in my happy place. I do a 20- to 30-minute warm up, which consists of light cardio, stretching, warming up my voice/tongue and then ending with meditation/prayer.

What is your most memorable "the show must go on" moment?

Oh wow. It would definitely have to be the time I overdosed on cold/flu medicine and I was in the middle of a musical number when I suddenly felt light headed and passed out. I hit the floor and immediately jumped up, realizing that I was still on stage. Ugh! It was so scary! I truly hate calling out and rarely do. Word to the wise: Use your sick days when you are sick. Sometime you just have to come off the dance floor.

What is the one role you want to play before you die?

I would love to play the titled role HAMLET by the great William Shakespeare. Enough said.

Who is your Broadway crush?

If I was stranded on an island and I could only take two men, it would be Quentin Earl Darrington and Gavin Creel. Both men totally rock my world! When I heard Quentin sing for the first time in a workshop of AMAZING GRACE, I completely lost myself. He's got the looks and the talent to match, and yes, ladies, his mama raised him up right! #hot #gentlemen. When I worked with Gavin in THE BOOK OF MORMON, I feel in love the moment he walked into the room. He has that glow. I must say this man could write a book on how to be a leading man in this business. He is such a kind human being that takes great care of his ensemble and company. Super talented, gorgeous inside and out. #golden.

Where can people follow you online?

Tweet me @LaionaMichelle or visit me at www.laionamichelle.com.


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