BWW Interview: A Glee-ful Amber Riley From DREAMGIRL Effie To LITTLE SHOP's Audrey II
Next up at Pasadena Playhouse, the sci-fi musical comedy LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, already in previews, will open September 25, 2019. Promising new twists and surprises, this cult hit written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken over thirty-five years ago, will be directed by Mike Donahue, with George Salazar as Seymour, MJ Rodriguez as Audrey, Kevin Chamberlain as Mr. Mushnik and Matthew Wilkas as Orin Scrivello. I had a chance to throw out a few questions to Olivier Award-winner Amber Riley who's playing Audrey II.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Amber!
When you were first approached to take part in this production of LITTLE SHOP, which part did you think the creative powers-to-be had you in mind for? What role did you initially envision yourself in?
I was offered the role of Audrey ll from the beginning, and I jumped at the chance to play such an iconic role.
What was your reaction when they offered you the role of Audrey II, traditionally played by a man?
I was really excited and up for the challenge to make the character my own!
Had you worked with any of the cast or creatives before?
This is my first time working with anyone in the cast, and it's been a blast getting to know them personally and creatively.
What productions of LITTLE SHOP have you seen in the past?
I've only ever seen the movie.
If Audrey II were filling out her profile on an online plant dating site, what attributes would she include?
Bold, clever, and confident!
What character flaws would she forget to note?
Let's talk DREAMGIRLS. Which made you more over the moon - finding out you landed the role of Effie White? Or hearing you were nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical in your debut on the London stage?
Playing Effie was a dream come true, winning an award for it was unexpected and a true blessing. One of the highlights of my life will always be being able to bring that story to London!
Which was more of a challenge to your voice, body and mind - doing five to seven shows a week as Effie? Or learning and performing four or five musical numbers each week as Mercedes Jones on Glee?
Both were challenging but most definitely DREAMGIRLS was harder.
Do you have a fairly disciplined pre-show ritual?
I make sure I warm up, and drink enough water, and get enough rest!
Thank you again, Amber! I look forward to experiencing your take on the alien plantlife named Audrey II.
For ticket availability and show schedule through October 20, 2019; log onto pasadenaplayhouse.org