BWW Interview: Laurie-Anne Jean-Baptiste of LYRIC THEATRE SINGERS - JOURNEY TO BROADWAY at D.B. Clarke Theatre

BWW Interview: Laurie-Anne Jean-Baptiste of LYRIC THEATRE SINGERS - JOURNEY TO BROADWAY at D.B. Clarke TheatreLaurie-Anne Jean-Baptiste was born and raised in the West Island area of Montreal. She studied Cinema and Communications at Vanier College and Creative Writing at Concordia. She first delved into theatre in the 6th grade. Discovering how much she enjoyed it, she continued to be involved in theatre through CEGEP. Whenever she got the chance to take a theatre class, she did. She has always loved writing. She started writing stories at the age of 8 and would stay up all night in her teens writing about characters from Young Adult novels. She still writes short stories whenever inspiration strikes. She became very interested in photography in her teens and began to develop her skills in her early 20s with Laurel Grace Photography, her photography company. At that stage, she began taking on clients and shooting events. What she'd love to do is a marriage of writing and photography. "Photo Fiction," as she calls it. This month, Laurie-Anne will be performing in JOURNEY TO BROADWAY, with the Lyric Theatre Singers, a group she has been with for 11 years. I had the chance to sit down with Laurie-Anne to discuss her past, future and all things Lyric.

HANNIBAL: Tell me how you became involved with the Lyric Theatre Singers?

BWW Interview: Laurie-Anne Jean-Baptiste of LYRIC THEATRE SINGERS - JOURNEY TO BROADWAY at D.B. Clarke TheatreJEAN-BAPTISTE: I took singing lessons from the age of 17 until about 27. My singing teacher had a company that would do Broadway shows, so I did a few productions with her. After one of our shows, she gave me a newspaper article with an ad for Lyric auditions. This was exactly 11 years ago. She said I should try out, so I did! I was in my early 20s and had been singing with her a while. When she gave me singing advice, I listened! I tried out and I never left!

HANNIBAL: Having seen many of the past years' shows, I have to say, your SISTER ACT

BWW Interview: Laurie-Anne Jean-Baptiste of LYRIC THEATRE SINGERS - JOURNEY TO BROADWAY at D.B. Clarke Theatre
Photo by Tam Lan Truong

number has always stuck with me.

JEAN-BAPTISTE; Thank you so much! That was a really fun number, but considering the fact that I had the solo in that with a few other singers, it was a lot of pressure. But it was so much fun to work on and to see it come together. I don't know if you remember, but the curtain would go down before that number. There was quite a buzz behind the curtain. Every time it would go up and people would see us in the nun costumes, which was kind of like a magic trick. They didn't expect that after Act 1. You would always hear someone say, "OOOHHH!" I'm really grateful that I got to play that part and that Bob (Bachelor) and Cathy (Burns) trusted me with it.

HANNIBAL: Looking back at roles that you have played, what has been your favourite?

BWW Interview: Laurie-Anne Jean-Baptiste of LYRIC THEATRE SINGERS - JOURNEY TO BROADWAY at D.B. Clarke TheatreJEAN-BAPTISTE; That's so tough! That's really hard. The thing with Lyric is that when you have a solo, it is in more of a Broadway revue. You are playing this role, but maybe it's for a song, maybe it's for one line. A really great thing that Bob and Cathy, or any other choreographer or co-director that we've had in the past, they make sure that we embody that character. There was a medley from RAGTIME that we did in 2011. I got to play Sarah and I got to sing "Daddy's Son." I feel like I have grown as a performer since, but it's still a very memorable performance for me. Also, getting to play Dionne in HAIR. I was stepping in for someone. I didn't want to let anyone down or disappoint. Having to learn everything so quickly, contributed to my experience in terms of the character, as a tribe member and a member of The Production Company for those few months. A lot of people don't know the story of HAIR and I didn't know much about it before I had the opportunity to be in it. To get to learn about these characters who are BWW Interview: Laurie-Anne Jean-Baptiste of LYRIC THEATRE SINGERS - JOURNEY TO BROADWAY at D.B. Clarke Theatrereally people from our past, who didn't have the same opportunities that we have now...they are really enriching stories that you can have a lot of take-away from. I feel like it made me grow as a person and a performer.

HANNIBAL: What is your dream role?

BWW Interview: Laurie-Anne Jean-Baptiste of LYRIC THEATRE SINGERS - JOURNEY TO BROADWAY at D.B. Clarke Theatre
Photo by Tam Lan Truong

JEAN-BAPTISTE: Wow! That is tough! We did "The Schuyler Sisters" from HAMILTON last year in our show. It was really great. I love that cast recording. If only I could score a ticket to go see it, that would be great! I love the character of Angelica and it was a lot of fun to play for the one song. The show is so relevant. What's really cool is that it can be relevant in any era. Getting to play one of those sisters, Angelica or Eliza (editor note: and Peggy!) would be amazing. The music is beautiful.

HANNIBAL: What can you tell me about JOURNEY TO BROADWAY?

JEAN-BAPTISTE: I could tell you so many things, but what I will say is that it's just another great year. Having been in the group for 11 years and having seen different group dynamics. Every show is different. Every group is different. Every year we grow as an ensemble. It's going to another special year in terms of how much work went into it for the artistic team, Bob, Cathy, Chris (Barillaro), Jonathan (Patterson) and our pianist Benjamin Kwong, for the amazing material they give us and for each member interprets it, whether they have a solo or are just in the ensemble. That is what makes Lyric shows so special. Overall for me, Lyric is like a second family. It takes on that form for a lot of singers. I'd like to say thanks to the family that is Lyric, the people that keep it going. It has been great for me.

Lyric Theatre Singers JOURNEY TO BROADWAY runs June 14-16, 2018 at the DB Clarke Theatre, Concordia University 1455 boul de Maisonneuve, Montreal. Tickets are available by calling 743-3382 or online at www.lyrictheatrecompany.com

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