You recently finished a run in Avenue X at Merrimack Repertory Theater, the only Boston actor in a cast of eight. Are you on your way to New York? I don't think so. While I enjoyed working with all the (New York-based) actors, I got a glimpse of what their lives are like: a lot of traveling, no time at home. I like being near my husband. You're opening soon in And the World Goes Round at the Lyric Stage Company. That's quite a switch in style, from doo-wop to Kander & Ebb. But I understand you come to musical theater from a classical background. I studied voice at Boston University in an intensely serious program, but I've loved show music since I was a child. I grew up in Philly, and I saw Pippin, The Wiz, A Little Night Music, almost all the pre-Broadway try-outs. What's interesting and fun for me now is the opportunity to exercise my vocal range. In And the World Goes Round, I get to sing high soprano with the ensemble as well as big belty numbers. You've been quite busy over the past few years developing your range in a variety of styles, most notably as a member of a band and an opera lab. I sang with The Medicine Band, which was directed by Steve Cummings. The group was made up of people from diverse cultural backgrounds and the [repertoire] was very eclectic. We did some world music and some gospel, but R&B was finally our calling card. That's when I started to cut my gospel chops. Like many African-Americans, I was exposed to gospel in church when I was a child. [Working with the band] helped me become a more versatile performer. I was also a member of Roland Tec's New Opera Theatre Ensemble, an opera improv troupe. In opera everything is usually very set and specific. This was a bridge for me, between [the rigidity] of classical training and the freedom there is in show music and pop styles. What role in a musical would you like to play, but probably never will? Sweeney Todd or Tevye. If you wrote an autobiography, what would its title be? I'm simple; I would just say Merle.
NEWSLETTER SIGN UP
MOST POPULAR STUDENT BLOG POSTS
SHARED ON FACEBOOK
By providing information about entertainment and cultural events on this site, TheaterMania.com shall not be deemed to endorse,
recommend, approve and/or guarantee such events, or any facts, views, advice and/or information contained therein.