BWW Interview: Adrianna Hicks of THE COLOR PURPLE at Fox Theatre
When you think of THE COLOR PURPLE, you think of an iconic show lead by iconic women. You think of Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg, of course. Then Tony Award winners LaChanze and Renee Elise Goldsberry from the original Broadway company, and Michelle Williams from the tour. More recently, you think of Danielle Brooks, Jennifer Hudson and Heather Headley. You undoubtedly think of Cynthia Erivo singing 'I'm Here" at the 2016 Tony Awards.
Lastly, (now that the Broadway national tour has started) you will most certainly think of Adrianna Hicks, the lead actress playing Celie. Some audience members will remember her from the 2015 Broadway revival as she was an understudy for a majority of the female roles. She has also spent time with "Alladin" in between transitioning from New York City to the national tour and worked professionally in Germany with Stage Entertainment for over four years.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Hicks as she embarks on the opportunity of a lifetime. Read below to see how she feels about being considered an icon, the cast's excitement to be in Atlanta and more!
JCA: What was it like auditioning for this show before you joined the Broadway cast?
AH: It was so fast! That's the first word that comes to mind. I moved back to Germany very quickly because both of my parents were sick. I was told if I come out to the auditions it will be a week's time, so I just treated it like a New York vacation. I literally had one day of auditions and then callbacks. They asked me to do a simple song and a side because it was nearly the end of the auditions. They had finished most of the casting. Thank God for John Doyle because he takes his time in choosing the cast. Then the day after I left NYC, my agent called me to tell me the news. She tried calling me the night before but I still had my German phone and nothing was working when I was in the airport. So, I might have found out the night before!
JCA: You understudied several roles while you were in the Broadway revival. What were those moments like hitting that stage?
AH: Every moment was like an opening night for me. The thing about being a swing is that you may have to go on at any moment. My Broadway debut was the second act of a show! One of the leads had to call out, so the church lady cast member had to take her spot and I took hers. I had been wearing my glasses instead of my contacts and I remember the glasses fogging up because I was crying so hard during bows!
JCA: Tell me about your transition into the national tour. Did you have to audition?
AH: I did not have to audition. They just asked me if I wanted the role. That was a big surprise to me! I was honored when it happened. I was doing "Big River" at Encores! and my manager was there and showed me the news without even saying hi. She showed me her phone and all I saw was Color Purple, lead principle, Celie. I burst out screaming in front of all of our guests. I was so thrilled!
JCA: Atlanta is the third stop on this tour, the home of the world premiere, and the location of the story. How excited are you and the cast to be performing here next week? What does that mean to you?
AH: Listen, everybody keeps talking about Atlanta, get ready to turn up! I have been to the Fox and seen Beauty and Beast there and it's a beautiful theatre. I have family there so I am excited to see them. A lot of cast members have family there. We have one cast member has thirty people coming to see the show! It is a remarkable city and we cannot wait to see everyone see the show!
JCA: You are embarking on a journey to be a musical theatre icon. You will be a role model to a lot of different people, the Jessica Vosk of this tour if you will. How does that make you feel?
AH: Man, that is a really good question! It's funny because a lot of people have approached me with that: 'Do you understand the position you are in?' And I do. I tell myself, 'Adrianna, you have to sit down and the main thing you have to do is be honest and do the role.' But my mind is blown every single day and I have to wrap my head around that. This is my first tour and I have never lead a cast of this caliber. I know one thing, I bring myself back to being just Adrianna. I'm just like any other person in the audience. I have to be honest and there might be people who look up to me, but I have to be truthful with this. Because I didn't ask for this, this was something that was given to me and I am honored. If anybody comes up to me and they express what their heart has felt, I have done my job.
THE COLOR PURPLE runs from October 24 - 29 in Atlanta's Midtown area. Performing at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, which seats over 4,600 patrons, all eight performances are close to selling out. Tickets can still be purchased online or at the box office.