BWW Interview: Akina Kitazawa of THE KING AND I at Morrison Center
In January I had the absolute pleasure of seeing The King and I at the Morrison Center in Boise Idaho. I got to see Akina Kitazawa perform in the role of Eliza (to those who haven't seen the show she is in the second half of the show in the musical number " The Small House of Uncle Thomas"). I got to talk to her about things from The King and I to dream roles within theatre. Her performance was absolutely one of the best parts of the show, filled with so much passion and beauty. The entire audience couldn't keep their eyes off of what was happening the entire number. Shes now in a performance with "Theatre Under the Stars" performing "Jerome Robbins' Broadway" which Akina will talk about throughout the interview. You can read that down below! :)
What show are you currently in? What was the audition process like for the show?
I'm rehearsing for "Jerome Robbins' Broadway" with Theatre Under the Stars now. This show is filled with Jerome Robbins' hits include The King and I, West Side Story, On The Town, Gypsy, Peter Pan and Fiddler on the Roof.
It was the hardest audition I've ever had. We have to dance so many different styles of dance numbers in this show. So, we danced America and The Ballet from West Side Story, Charleston from Billion Dollar Baby, The Small House of Uncle Thomas from the King and I, and On a Sunday by the Sea from High Bottom Shoes( AKA Mack Sennett Ballet from High Button Shoes) all on the same day in the audition. My legs were shaking after that.
Recently, I was also touring with the King and I. We have been performed 186 shows and visited 29 states. It has been an honor performing in this iconic musical. I had an amazing experience on this tour.
What are your biggest dream roles in theatre? how did you get associated with having that role as a dream?
My dream role is Ivy Smith from On The Town. She has two featured dance numbers in this show; it was originally choreographed by Jerome Robbins, and Josh Bergasse choreographed for the last revival. My favorite is the Dream Ballet, because there are no words, but it's telling the story with dancing with such beautiful music by Leonard Bernstein. This gorgeous music and choreography make me so excited and want to dance.
Where did your passion for performing come from?
Excitement! Whenever I hear music, I get so excited, that excitement from listening to music makes my passion for performing!
What advice would you give to someone just getting into the performing arts?
Please don't forget to have fun performing. I mean why do you want to perform. I think this is the most important thing!
What did you learn/have you learned from being on a national tour (The King and I)?
To stay being healthy. And to help each other.
What are you hopeful comes next in your career?
I was really hoping to get the offer for Jerome Robbins' Broadway, and I could get the offer! I can't wait to perform in this musical with 47 amazing performers!
Though The King and I's national tour recently came to a close, you can catch Akina and the rest of the cast of "Jerome Robbins' Broadway" which runs May 28 through June 9 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. More information and tickets head to https://www.tuts.com/shows/jerome-robbins-broadway Thank you to Akina for giving me the honor to interview her , and to hear from what she had to say. It was an absolute pleasure.