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Interview: Theatre Life with Zonya Love

Interview: Theatre Life with Zonya Love
Zonya Love

Today's subject Zonya Love is currently living her theatre Life performing the role of Georgia Gordon in Arena Stage's production of Jubilee. The show runs through June 9th in Arena Stage's Kreeger Theater space. Zonya is making her Arena Stage debut with this production.

On Broadway Zonya was the final Celie in the original production of The Color Purple. I'm talking about the version where the actors did not play instruments. Off-Broadway credits include Avenue Q as Gary Coleman, The Dollhouse Chronicles and The Flea Theater's production of Emma and Maxx,

Select regional credits include Effie in Theatre Under the Stars' production of Dreamgirls, Deloris Van Cartier in Broadway Sacramento's production of Sister Act, Bessie Smith in Milwaukee Repertory's production of The Devil's Music and Mayme in Nevada Conservatory's production of Intimate Apparel.

You might have also seen Zonya in your living rooms on the small screen appearing in episodes of Smash,The Late Show with David Letterman, Blacklist and Blue Bloods.

She is a proud member of the distinguished vocal ensemble Broadway Inspirational Voices.

Jubilee is based in the musical form of A cappella. You need strong vocalists who can hold their own because there are no musicians to help keep you on track. Zonya Love is one of those performers and to say that she has the form down is simply stating the obvious. She is an immense talent and one I'm sure you'll take note of if you purchase tickets to see Jubilee. For what I'm sure will be an unforgettable experience for all, head on over to Arena Stage and check it out for yourself.

At what age did you become interested in performing?

I grew up singing in the church and although that is a type of performing, I didn't think of it as such at the time. I'm not sure I can pinpoint an age that I became consciously aware that I was interested in performing.

Where did you receive your training?

Church, and North Carolina A&T(AGGIE PRIDE!) is where I received my BFA and University of Nevada, Las Vegas is where I received my MFA.

What was your first professional performing job?

Aside from some singing gigs while at A&T, the summer going into my third year I played Eve/Mama Noah in Children of Eden at Riverside Theater in Vero Beach Florida after auditioning at the Southeastern Theater Conference.

Interview: Theatre Life with Zonya Love
The company of Arena Stage's production of Jubilee. Photo by Margot Schulman.

Can you please tell us a little something about Jubilee?

Jubilee is a story about dedication, perseverance, resilience, and sacrifice. A few years after the Emancipation Proclamation students of Fisk University save the school from bankruptcy by traveling the globe, performing jubilees and giving the money to the school.

What was attractive to you about being a part of Jubilee?

I am beyond honored and humbled to pay homage to my ancestors.

Interview: Theatre Life with Zonya Love
Zonya Love at curtain call of her opening night in the original Broadway production of The Color Purple. Photo by Walter McBride.

You were the final Celie in the original Broadway production of The Color Purple. What do you recall about closing night of the show and what was the overall experience like for you?

It was a whirlwind of a time so I actually don't remember much about closing night other than feeling grateful.

Interview: Theatre Life with Zonya Love
Zonya Love and nuns in the 2017 Broadway Sacramento production of Sister Act. Photo by Charr Crail.

What would you say are some of your most favorite musical theatre roles that you have played so far?

Every role has some significance so I rarely think of a role as being my favorite. However, I will say that I would like another opportunity to play Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act and Bessie Smith in The Devil's Music.

You were part of a show called The Dollhouse Chronicles which was directed by Tony Award winning actress Trazana Beverly? What do you recall about working on that show and what did you learn from working under Ms. Beverly?

From what I can recollect, it was a very short rehearsal process specifically for me. I was just finishing the First National Tour of Avenue Q so I came into the rehearsal process late. I didn't have much time with Ms. Beverly but I do remember being awestruck when in her presence.

You've appeared on TV in Smash and Blacklist. Is TV something you would like to do more of or is theatre your favorite entertainment medium to be a part of?

My goal is to do it all; theater, television, movies, commercials, voice-overs, jingles and any other medium that allows me to create. My hope is to make an impact in whatever medium I find myself in at any given time.

After Jubilee what is next for you?

After a short break I'll be travelling to Sacramento to play Evilene in The Wiz. After that, only God knows.

Special thanks to Arena Stage's Media Relations Associate Skye Lindberg for her assistance in coordinating this interview.

Theatre Life logo designed by Kevin Laughon.

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