BWW Interview: The New Girl In Town: Taylor Quick of THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE at Goodspeed Musicals
Taylor Quick moved to New York just nine short months ago, but she's already achieved the role of a lifetime: playing the title role in THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE alongside some of New York's brightest stars. But, the young actress, who has family ties to the Great White Way, has neither lost her tenacious work ethic nor her adorable southern accent. Taylor and I chatted about how she booked this dream gig, and what working with a Tony Award-nominated director/choreographer has been like.
Name: Taylor Quick
Current Role: Millie in Goodspeed Musical's THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE
Kyle West: It's so great to catch up with you this afternoon. I know you're a recent graduate of Texas Christian University and I'd love to hear about how you discovered your love for theatre.
Taylor Quick: I was about 3 and my parents took me to see PETER PAN, and they said I didn't bat an eye. I sat and watched the whole thing, and they were like, "This is weird for a three year old to sit through an entire musical and not squirm at all." So, they knew I was drawn to it. I grew up also with my aunt's influence: she was on Broadway, so she was always singing. I started dance when I was very little because my mom was a dancer, so I was always in the studio. I actually wanted to be a ballerina. I had gone to Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre summer intensives and I loved it. [But, when] I was about 14 or 15, I really fell in love with musical theatre. At that time, I started doing summer intensives at Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Kyle: You recently starred as Flaemmchen in GRAND HOTEL in Texas, and appeared in Arkansas Rep's production of SISTER ACT, filling in as Sister Mary Robert for several performances. Is there a role or theatre experience that really stands out when you think back?
Taylor: Well, besides this one, which I'm not even done with yet, GRAND HOTEL really gave me the confidence that I needed to be onstage. It was my first professional lead at an Equity house, and I think GRAND HOTEL is underrated because it's just so good. Through my character discovery in MILLIE, I've found that they're a little bit similar, both in the Twenties. I guess I'm just drawn to that age! Before that, I played Liesl in THE SOUND OF MUSIC at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre. That gave me the boost, and Flaemmchen gave me the drive!
Kyle: Speaking of Millie, you're now working with a cast and creative team made of some of Broadway's top talent. What can you tell me about the audition process and how you learned you landed the role?
Taylor: Oh gosh. It was kind of crazy! I had heard of Goodspeed and I knew I wanted to audition for them. I had just moved to New York City last September. Around November, I found out they were going to have season auditions. I was non-Equity at the time, and a bunch of my friends said they wouldn't have time to see non-Equity actors. I had done Equity shows and I was an Equity Membership Candidate, but I wasn't able to reserve an [Equity audition appointment]. They had one non-Eq dance audition for their ensemble, so I went in and danced and ended up going through the ranks. They brought me back to an invited call [with] all of these amazing dancers from Broadway, and I thought, "What am I doing here?" I ended up making it to the final day of the ensemble auditions. We danced, sang and read some ensemble scenes, and were all out in the hallway and we thought we were done. The casting director came out and handed me a scene for Millie, and I literally looked at him and I was like "...what?!" I figured the leads would be Broadway vets - and I thought they were already cast. I went in and, on the spot, did two scenes for Millie. Luckily, I've always loved THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, so I've had the songs in my brain for a while. In December, I got a call from my agent, and he started playing the title song from the show and I cried [laughs].
Kyle: Goodspeed is a pretty high profile gig with quite a strong reputation, and Millie is an equally celebrated role. Have you felt any pressure in leading this company?
Taylor: You know, before I came to Goodspeed, I thought I was going to [feel pressured] but, as soon as I stepped foot in here, I didn't. Not only is everyone that works here behind the scenes so lovely, but our cast never made me feel intimidated. Denis Jones, our director and choreographer, is so encouraging. It was always so open and organic and they made me feel like I deserved to be there. This cast is all gems. It's been so much fun.
Kyle: You mentioned working with Denis Jones, who was just nominated for a Tony Award. How has your experience working with him been?
Taylor: He is incredible and I have nothing but nice things to say about him. He's not just a nice person, but he's also incredibly funny. His choreography for Millie is incredible. It's brand new; nothing is from the original. All of his choreography comes from an actor's perspective because he uses so much storytelling. As a director...oh my gosh! He's amazing! He was a swing on Broadway, so he knows what it's like to be an actor. He was so encouraging! He very much wanted to know what we thought, as actors, about our choices. He left around press opening because he was nominated for HOLIDAY INN (which I saw and it was absolutely incredible). I feel so lucky to have gotten to work with him.
Kyle: Your ten-week run ends in just a few weeks on July 2nd. What are your plans after MILLIE closes?
Taylor: Well, right now I don't have anything lined up yet. I potentially have some things lined up, but right now I'm just going to go back to the City and keep honing my craft! My long-term goal, of course, is to be on Broadway, but I'm just going to keep on working until I reach it!
Kyle: Well, I look forward to following your budding career. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for me. Break a leg tonight!
Taylor: You're so welcome!