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BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Felicia Curry

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BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Felicia Curry
Felicia Curry

Today's subject Felicia Curry is currently living her theatre life at Arena Stage playing the role of Sweet Thing in Nina Simone: Four Women. The production runs through December 24 in Arena Stage's Kreeger Theater.

Felicia has been delighting audiences of all ages for many years in and around the DC area. Select area credits include OLIVÉRio, Chasing George Washington, The Wings of Ikarus Jackson, and Beehive at Kennedy Center; Ragtime, A Christmas Carol and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Ford's Theatre ;Caroline or Change and This at Round House Theatre; Home at Rep Stage; Laugh and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Studio Theatre; Les Misérables at Signature Theatre; as well as productions at Imagination Stage, Adventure Theatre MTC, MetroStage, OlneyTheatre Center, Factory 449, and Toby's Dinner Theatre.

Theatregoers in other cities have been dazzled by Felicia's work as well. Other select regional credits includeVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and The Mountaintop at Gulfshore Playhouse; Sister Act at Riverside Center; and The Color Purple at Virginia Repertory Theatre. New York credits include We Three Lizas at Joe's Pub and The Brontes at New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF).

Felicia has been recognized with five Helen Hayes nominations and is the recipient of a Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Award.

Anyone that knows Felicia Curry's work she is a powerhouse performer. We all know how strong she is as a singer, but she is equally as talented in dramatic roles.

Nina Simone: Four Women concludes its run this Sunday so you still have time to see Felicia Curry and the rest of the stellar cast in this theatrical journey of one of the finest singers to ever record, Nina Simone.

As a kid, did you know you wanted to become a performer?
Absolutely! Belting Whitney Houston tunes into a hairbrush in front of my mirror was one of my favorite childhood pastimes. I was only five when I asked my parents to be in my first show; it has always been part of who I am.

Where did you receive your training?
I was in several performing arts troupes as a child and into my teenage years, where I received extensive training. I then minored in performing arts at the University of Maryland, College Park.

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Felicia Curry
L-R Toni L. Martin, Harriett D. Foy, and Felicia Curry in Arena Stage's production of Nina Simone: Four Women. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Can you please tell us almost everything we need to know about Nina Simone: Four Women?
This is not a Nina Simone jukebox musical. It is set in the moment between the bomb going off and debris hitting the ground at the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, AL on September 15, 1963. Four little girls lost their lives, and this play is the backdrop for Nina Simone's decision to become an activist using her music to inspire her people.

Why do you think Nina Simone's music still captivates audiences today, and what is your favorite Nina Simone song?

Besides being a musical prodigy, Nina was one of a kind in her voice, musicianship, and passion on stage. She not only added her unique voice to elevate standards and pop songs of the time, but eventually fearlessly mirrored back to the world through her lyrics and her melodies the harsh reality of the inequality and injustice in this country. I believe Christina Ham's play highlights how Nina's music and her deep desire for equality for her people are still relevant today.

Four Women is a song that will forever resonate with me, now more than ever. It shows power in claiming exactly who we are despite all we've been through. It's is a love song to the black woman by the black woman.

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Felicia Curry
Felicia Curry as the Ghost of Christmas Past in Ford's Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Scott Suchman.

This is the first year in a while where we will not see you flying onstage as the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre. When you first got cast in that show, did you have any trepidation about doing the flying?
No, it was actually the contrary. I had the pleasure of flying in the tour of Barbie: Live in Fairytopia. The idea of flying in A Christmas Carol made me more excited to play both the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future. There is nothing like being able to experience Scrooge's transformation from the sky. I'm looking forward to seeing the show from the ground this year!

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Felicia Curry
Felicia Curry and Jonathan Atkinson in Imagination Stage's production of Rapunzel. Photo by Scott Suchman.

You have performed in a bunch of Theatre for Young Audiences shows around town. What do you enjoy the most about performing a show for an audience full of kids and their families?
Children are honest -- period. There is not a more perceptive, unabashedly truthful audience than one full of children. They keep us honest as performers. Their genuine joy and wonder is why I love both performing for them and playing them too!

After Nina Simone: Four Women concludes its run, what does the rest of this season hold in store for you?
Nina Simone: Four Women closes December 24. Come see us! You can see me next in Jefferson's Garden at Ford's Theatre directed by Nataki Garrett. It is part of the Women's Voices Theater Festival and runs January 19 through February 11, 2018.

Special Thanks to Arena Stage's publicist Lauren Alexander for her assistance in coordinating this interview.

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