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BWW Interviews: Broadway First-Timer Alex Finke Finds First National Tour is De-Lovely


A year ago, Alex Finke was a college girl at the University of Michigan. While many of her contemporaries are likely still looking for a job or working their way up from the lower rungs of the corporate ladder, Finke is sailing through a career on the fast track, and she feels incredibly fortunate to be there. Tonight, she appears on the Ordway stage as debutante Hope Harcourt in the national tour of ANYTHING GOES, playing on the Saint Paul stage through May 12.

As a graduating senior, she and other Wolverine thespians took part in a New York City show case. Shortly after, the Dayton, Ohio, native was called in to audition for the national tour of a show that had only a year prior won the 2011 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival and another for Best Choreography and working with Best Director and Choreographer, Kathleen Marshall.

"Kathleen did work with us throughout the entire rehearsal process, and she is amazing," said Finke. "I admired her work, and then I find myself getting to sit in room and have discussion with her about character... I'm waiting for someone to pinch me."

Finke began her Broadway career when the U.S national tour began in October 2012 at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio, and will play more than 25 other major cities next to Broadway veteran Rachel York, who plays evangelist turned nightclub singer Reno Sweeney. Other cast members include Fred Applegate as Moonface Martin, Josh Franklin as Billy Crocker, Jeff Brooks as Purser, Joyce Chittick as Erma, Dennis Kelly as Elisha Whitney, Vincent Rodriguez III as Luke, Marcus Shane as John, Sandra Shipley as Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Edward Staudenmayer as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh and Chuck Wagner as the Captain.

The tour has already stopped in Memphis, Los Angeles, Chicago, Florida, Nashville and other cities, and will continue until fall 2013.

Working with the likes of Marshall and York is a great learning experience for Finke. "Rachel York is great, she's a blast, she's a powerhouse," said Finke. "She gives 100 percent every night. And she even has her daughter with on tour. She's amazing -- she's super human."

While Finke began ballet at age six, she did not get the theatre bug until high school when she was first exposed to the stage and figured out there was a career in it for her. She auditioned for college programs that were quite competitive including all top programs at the time. At Michigan, she had conservatory training.

"I worked for this for a long time and it's exciting to see that I've actually done it," she said. "Everyone at home is so encouraging." Finke is thrilled that friends and family traveled to see the tour and support her.

Asked about her favorite part of the show and her character, Finke said she loves everything about Hope Harcourt including the relationship with Billy Crocker and her "huge, beautiful," seven-minute dance break each night. She also thoroughly enjoys the Cole Porter classics, like "Anything Goes," a major tap dance number she watches from the wings, and her favorite number, "It's De-Lovely."

"Cole Porter's songs are so classic, so beautiful; it's really an honor to sing them," Finke said.

The tour, Finke said, is dedicated to the Tony-award-winning (2002) costumer, who unfortunately passed away last summer before the tour began. Martin Pakledinaz's costumes are one of the favorite parts of the show for Finke. "They're absolutely stunning."

"Everyone should come to show if they want to have a great time," she said. "There's something in it for everybody. People always leave with a huge smile. Come see it!"

ANYTHING GOES May 7 - 12, 2013
at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Saint Paul 652.224.4222 for tickets

"So delightful, so delicious, so de-lovely!" - Associated Press

All aboard for Roundabout Theatre Company's saucy and splendid production of ANYTHING GOES, winner of three 2011 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and Choreography! When the S.S. American heads out to sea, etiquette and convention get tossed out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love... proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise and some good old-fashioned blackmail. Peppering this Cole Porter, first-class comedy are some of musical theater's most memorable standards including "I Get a Kick out of You," "You're the Top" and, of course, "Anything Goes."

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