Photo credit: Bill Westmoreland
Photo credit:
Bill Westmoreland
Ann Hampton Callaway, currently starring in Swing at the St. James Theatre, is thrilled to finally be in a venue big enough for her stage persona. But away from the spotlight, Ann makes the necessary room in her life for spiritual love and growth. TM: What makes doing Swing different from cabaret? Ann: I get to be as big as I really am! (laughter) I get to sing my guts out and there's room for all of me. I've always felt there was too much of me maybe. But I'm not too much for the theater. I can be everything I am and much more. And I love it. When I get to sing "Blues in the Night" and wail my guts out, there's nothing like it. TM: What is your favorite song lyric from a musical? Ann: "Being Alive" by Sondheim. TM: What did you do on the night of December 31, 1999? Ann: I was meditating and chatting and praying for the new year. I've been a devotee of city yoga for nine years. But I've always been working so I could never do that kind of meditation, so it was a magnificent evening. TM: Away from all the crowds and noise? Ann: Yes. TM: What is your favorite sound? Ann: I love the sound of my cat purring. I'm very moved by the sound of a heartbeat. I love the sound of the ocean. I like the sound of rain too. TM: What is your favorite sound that you can make? Ann: I love to imitate the trumpet. TM: How did you learn how to do that? Ann: I don't know, as a kid would do it naturally. I would imitate everything and everyone. Dad gave me a tape recorder and we'd do radio plays with sound effects. I'm a mimic by nature. TM: What was your favorite childhood game? Ann: Truth or Dare. (laughter) I was one of those kind of kids. TM: Did you take the dare? Ann: I wanted the truth. TM: Okay, truth. So what's your favorite four letter word? Ann: (big laughter) "Love". Tricked ya! TM: Would you rather be a tree, a snow storm, or a body of water? Ann: A body of water because its constantly growing and can assume many forms. TM: Who's your personal hero? Ann: I have many. I have an entire book of heroes and I'm very into being inspired by other people. Singing heroes would be Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand. Political hero is Ghandi. And my parents. TM: What gets you really choked up? Ann: Music that is from the heart and captures the depth of the most compelling moments of life. TM: When was the last time you opened your mouth, inserted your foot and chewed it thoroughly? Ann: (laughter) Probably a moment ago. (laughter) I suffer from athlete's mouth! TM: Do you have a pet peeve? Ann: One of my biggest pet peeves is when people don't respect each other and don't treat each other as equals. TM: What skill that you don't already possess would you like to wake up with? Ann: Telepathy. TM: Gershwin or Ellington? Ann: Gershwin. TM: Morning or Night? Ann: Night. TM: Intimate gathering or giant party? Ann: Intimate gathering. TM: Near or Far? Ann: Near. TM: Now or Then? Ann: Now. TM: Boxers or briefs? Ann: Briefs! (big laughter)