Actor David Larsen Talks The Book Of Mormon Tour

david-larsen(PCM) The Book of Mormon continues to break records as one of the top-grossing Broadway shows of all time. It has won nine Tony Awards including “Best Musical” since its’ debut on Broadway in 2001. Written by “South Park” creators Trey Parker/Matt Stone with Robert Lopez, the show is rip-roaringly hilarious and completely tongue-in-cheek, definitely not one for the easily offended!

The show will be coming to the Forrest Theater in Philadelphia, PA this week and we couldn’t be more excited to check out the performance. We caught up with actor David Larsen who plays the role of Elder Price in the show to talk about his character, life on the road, and more!

On what he is still learning after being with the show while touring the country David said “I would say every performance is different, so you are always learning something each time that you go up on stage. I would think that the details are a bit more minute than they had been a year and a half ago, but we just had the whole creative team out this past week and got a bunch of notes. We changed some things and the way things are being played so that’s a lot of fun and it continues to be new and fresh.”

He views his time on the road as valuable experience, for both his acting and singing. “This show, especially this role, is very tough vocally. It has been a challenge to not only do it one time, but to do it eight times a week. I feel I have become a much better singer because of this show.”

I asked David how important singing was in his life, let alone his career. “I went to college for it. I went to Carnegie Mellon University and I think the practical work experience of doing shows, particularly this role, when I first started learning it, I would go for runs and try to sing while I was running because I knew I was going to need the stamina, as well as, being able to sing long phrases without any breath.”

On the longevity and on-going success of Book Of Mormon, David summed it up very quickly. “I just think the show is so incredibly well-written! It is set up like a very traditional musical, but along with that, it has very contemporary dialogue and the way that the scenes are laid out.”

I agreed, and asked how he viewed the very relatable commentary on social issues such as religion, miscommunication, and commercialism and why it strikes a chord with the audience.

“It is definitely what strikes a chord and within the play there is a lot of crazy stuff being said on-stage and I feel like with such fun music, you don’t realize what they’re singing about because you’re just humming along to these great tunes. I think it’s just everything and the show is so incredibly well-constructed that you can get lost in the music and get lost in the dialogue or get lost in the humor or dance numbers.”

In our PC world, with so many individuals being offended by seemingly everything nowadays and The Book Of Mormon having nothing off limits, he again credited the writers, Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone. (laughing) “Nobody is safe with them! Misery loves company I suppose. I’m sure people still get offended but in the context of the show you can kind of let it go!”

Interviewing so many performers ‘on the road’, I asked about being in a new town every few weeks, for months on end. David made it clear on the pros and cons of life on a bus. “You are living out of a suitcase, so that can be tough. You don’t have any place to put some roots in the ground, so I think that’s the biggest challenge. That being said, it’s also a great joy because you get to see cities and parts of the country that you would never really spend time in. Appleton, Wisconsin, is not really a tourist destination, I would think, but I was really happy that I went there, as it was a great visit and a great city.”

With so much controversy the show was getting  from Conservatives like Glenn Beck (a Mormon) and other Traditional Americans, I asked if there was a noticeable difference in reaction to the show in some regions of the country. Larsen revealed,  “It was interesting to be in the more conservative markets to see how they would react, but people seem to love this show everywhere we go.”

His super-positive character of Elder Price, being the eternal optimist, may have had something to do with that. How much of his character came from himself?

“I think there is a lot of me that is Elder Price. I have always been a go-getter and a good kid, but I’m not quite as anal as Elder Price (laughs)! In my real life, I’m much more go with the flow but maybe in my younger years I was a little bit more so.”

When he’s not rehearsing, on stage, or on the road, he keeps himself busy. “I love being able to walk the streets in whatever town I’m in and just taking in the day to day life of the people who are living there. I love going to cool bars and restaurants.” I asked if he had any favorites. “Two of my favorite bars that I’ve been to is one in Washington, D.C. called Ivy and Coney, which is just this little dive Chicago/Detroit bar, so they had two different kinds of hot dogs and it was just a great atmosphere and I became friends with all the owners and the staff there. The other is a place I just visited last night in Boston called The Sevens in Beacon Hill, so anytime I can find a local bar or restaurant and get a feel for the people that are there and live like a local for a little bit is wonderful.”

His next stop in Philadelphia, just a few miles from the PCM headquarters. “I’ve never spent any time in Philly, so I’m honestly looking forward to exploring the entire city. I’ve rented an apartment in Olde City area by Independence Hall and I’m really looking forward to exploring the city. I have to cross-check the schedule, but if I can get to a Flyers game, that will be great as well!”

His plans for 2016 and any upcoming projects? “Cody Jamison Strand, who plays Elder Cunningham with me in the show and our former music director Sue Draus, we’ve written a musical review that’s going to be produced in Denver this January. I’m going to go out and direct that, so that’s kind of the next big thing other than Book Of Mormon that I’m working on right now. We’re very excited about creating new pieces of theater and putting them out there.” Would he like to direct? “Yes, I mean obviously I love performing, but to be on the other side of the table I think can only help your acting as well!”

The Book Of Mormon will be at the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia, PA from November 24-December 27. For more information please visit:

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Actor and Songwriter Danny Tieger Loves Matilda The Musical


(PCM) Thousands of young girls have fallen in love with Matilda and with shows on tour and on Broadway they now can get personal with the treasured children’s story.

This is the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, Matilda dares to take a stand and change her destiny.

Winner of 50 international awards, including four Tony Awards, the musical is amusing, smart, sweet, charming, heart-warming – a delight for both children and adults.

The Broadway Philadelphia series is presenting “Matilda The Musical,” at the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music from Wednesday, November 17 through Sunday, November 29, a perfect family holiday treat.

“Matilda The Musical,” is directed by Tony Award winner Matthew Warchus (God of Carnage), with a book by Tony Award-winning playwright Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Australian comedian, musician, and composer Tim Minchin.

This tour started on June 6 in Los Angeles and as it arrives in Philadelphia it is noteworthy that there have been more than 200 performances to date.

Actor, songwriter, author, and educator, Danny Tieger, portrays Matilda’s brother; the character of Michael Wormwood, in the current tour. The Connecticut native received early theater and creative arts training at the Watkinson School in Hartford, which gave him the confidence to perform in front of the entire school.

In addition to touring with Matilda, Tieger, 29, and his actress fiancée, Emily Spalding, have been promoting his first book for kids, “I Am Your Songwriting Journal,” an interactive way to bring out the love of music in children far and wide.

The two met the first day of college and have been soul mates and supportive partners every since, sharing many of the stops on the current Matilda tour.


Here is a recent excusive chat with Danny Tieger about touring with Matilda The Musical, his sharing his love for musical theater with friends and family members.

Q: What do you love about this show, Matilda The Musical?

Danny Tieger: The show started as a Christmas show before it made it to Broadway three years ago and is based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, who also wrote the children’s books, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and “ Fantastic Mr. Fox.”

Q: Please tell me more about your attraction to it?

DT: It is magical in the way it lives from Matilda’s vision of the world. I play her brother and the understudy for their father, who is an example of what not to do in parenting since my parents have set me in front of a TV set and I am a direct opposite of Matilda, who has this vivid imagination. This is my first national tour and it is such a quality production.

Q: Please tell me about the three young actresses who play Matilda.

DT: They are fantastic. They each do such a clean and beautiful job with the show. So much rests on each of their shoulders every night. I love the small idiosyncrasies that each one brings to the role that is so consistently powerful as well.

Q: Why do you enjoy sharing music with children via your book?

DT: Music is this incredible unifier. When it comes to music I find that 100 percent of the class is engaged in this moment. There is real creativity and real time things happening in front of the kids – which are also what theater is all about.

Q: When did you fall in love with the theater?

DT: Early in my life. I had the opportunity to do a few shows with the Children’s Theater in Hartford, Connecticut, where I am from. We were definitely a performing family. Any time anyone would come to the house we would head to the “stairway landing theater” to create these special events.

Q: Sounds like fun.

DT: I also went to the Watkinson School in Hartford, where I was involved in 28 productions over the course of seven years of middle school and high school.

Q: How is that even possible?

DT: Well, we did three shows a year at the school and on top of that they would also divide middle and high school, I’d end up working on another show. It was really an incredible incubator. I was definitely the big fish in a small pond, so by the time I was in 9th grade I could stand in front of the whole school and perform comfortably.

Q: Was this a performing arts school like in the movie or musical Fame?

DT: No. But there was a creative arts program, it includes field trips and extra-curricula study in your field of choice. It was an incredible vehicle to really support young artists and it was all about giving them the space to think outside box they were creating in.

Q: So what else were you doing?

DT: Anything and everything – building sets and designing the lights. I wanted to be involved in everything that I possibly could.

Q: How did that inform your current career?

DT: It affirmed that this was the life I wanted and I needed to find a way to live it.

Q: So tell me how about your career path.

DT: I lived for seven years away from the theater and became a professional song writer, and that’s most of what I do when I am not home.

Q: You have a new book – please talk about it.

DT: It came out this past summer. It is a book for children called “I am Your Songwriting Journal, and you can find out more about it at

Q: Where did you go to college?

DT: Skidmore College in Upstate, New York. I spent my time writing musicals and performing them as well as writing plays. When I graduated I was a little burnt out on the theater process and gravitated toward film and TV.


Q: How did you come back to the stage?

DT: Well, I moved back to New York last October [2014] with my finance, Emily, and it was time to live closer to family. I had enough happening with my book to feel that my life in L.A. had led to something and I had the opportunity to come in for Matilda, and it just really clicked.

Q: In what way?

DT: So much of the movement that we do in the show is martial; it’s intention-based as opposed to technique-based. You don’t need to be a ballerina to be in this show, instead you need to be someone willing to flail about and I’ve always been great at flailing — given the opportunity.

Q: Tell me about life on the road.

DT: I would say that it is as glamorous and difficult as you can imagine. Arriving at a new city, a new theater, and working with a new set of local crew members – there is tremendous energy of putting up the show on the first Tuesday night.

Q: That’s the good part – and the other side?

DT: Well, of course there is the distance you feel from home, where you are not sure where to go for that cup of coffee first thing in the morning or what’s open for dinner after 10 at night. One thing that is helpful is that I usually find that one of the cast members has a strong affinity for a particular city from their own background, or doing a regional show there, and they know where to find the hidden gems and suggest it to everybody in the company. You can go below the surface with Road Tripper and some other apps pretty easily.

Q: Your fiancée, Emily, seems very supportive of you.

DT: In every way. She bought me a book about road food from I got this gig, of places across the country in those less traveled cities where I can find those places to go, especially when Emily isn’t there.

Q: That is a priority for you – right?

DT: Oh, yes. For me the most important thing is to finding my home on the road, especially when Emily is not with me, is for me to find my every day coffee shop my first day in the new city. And there is nothing better than if that coffee shop has that card punch for the free 10th cup of coffee. I like the normalcy of having that local spot; that’s very important to me.

Q: Who has seen the show?

DT: My friends and family. Everybody I know has seen this show. It feels
wonderful and special to share something that you love, worked on, and care about with the people that you love.

Q: Tell me the life lesson of Matilda?

DT: The world won’t change itself – that is the message in Matilda, as well as the lives I am interested in emulating, and I am hoping to do that with music and theater.

Tickets may be purchased by calling (215) 893-1999, visiting, or at the Kimmel Center box office. For group sales of 10 or more call: (215) 790-5883.

For local information go to:
For tour information go to:

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Emma Stratton In ‘Bullet’s Over Broadway’ Offers a Roaring Good Time

BULLETS_PRODUCTION_10_01_15_1087_HIGH_RES_v001(PCM) Sometimes a winning combination is kismet – like all of the elements that went into the success of Woody Allen’s musical comedy, “Bullets Over Broadway.”

This clever show on tour in Philadelphia, through Nov. 1, stars Emma Stratton as Helen Sinclair, the sultry diva who seduces the playwright and the audiences. From the moment Stratton belts out her first song, it is true love at first sight.

The 23-year-old Stratton starred as Reno Sweeney in the national tour of Anything Goes, and has appeared in leading roles in the regional productions of Kiss Me, Kate, Into The Woods and Sweeney Todd.

It’s about a fledgling playwright who needs someone to back his next show and a mobster who needs some way to please his showgirl girlfriend. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship – or a brand new musical comedy!

The show, which opened on Broadway in April 2014, is loaded with big laughs, colorful tap dancing and gun-toting gangsters, and the songs that made the 20s roar, including such period favorites as “Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do,” “Let’s Misbehave,” I’m Sitting On Top Of The World” and “Runnin’ Wild.”

One could easily say that Bullets Over Broadway brings old-fashioned fun, stunning costumes, expert choreography and overall musical comedy back with a bang!

The production received six Tony-Award nominations, including Best Book of a Musical and Best Choreography. The show was written by legendary screenwriter and director Woody Allen, based on the screenplay by Allen and Douglas McGrath (Beautiful), for the 1994 film.

The show is presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization.

Bullets Over Broadway will also launch the stellar 2015-2016 Broadway Philadelphia Theater season, which also includes: Matilda The Musical, Pippin, The Sound of Music, Beautiful: The Carol King Musical, and If/Then.

Additional productions include: The Book of Mormon, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Beauty and the Beast, and Riverdance The 20th Anniversary World Tour.

Emma Stratton, 23, began her career in theater at age eight, following her brother and sister, after the family moved from Minnesota to California. She went to an arts school in high school, graduated from Penn State, and on the last day of college classes was hired for the national tour of Anything Goes.

In March of this year she was chosen to star in the national tour of Bullets Over Broadway, and her glorious tour of this musical recently began.

Q: I would say you are having a whirlwind of a career!

EMMA STRATTON: Yes. It’s been crazy the past two years – but in a very positive way.

Q: Tell me about when you fell in love with musical theater.

ES: I was really little and hardly on stage in the ensemble for a production of Bye Bye Birdie. I knew I was in love from the first rehearsal.

Q: How did this come about?

ES: My family moved from Minnesota to San Diego and our parents put my brother, sister and I in theater so we could make friends. When I was seven my brother and sister did the musical Oliver and I would rehearse their lines with them. On opening night for Oliver, I was sitting behind the director of the show and I sang all of the songs behind her and said all of the lines. Anyone else would have found that incredibly obnoxious, but she encouraged me to audition for the next show which was Bye Bye Birdie and I did. I was hardly on stage, but it didn’t matter. I was smitten.

Q: Where did the tour take you most recently before Philadelphia?

ES: Burlington Vermont and it is truly beautiful. I spent my time there going for long runs and the leaves were amazing. It reminded me of autumn in New York City and Penn State – it felt so fresh there.

Q: Where has the tour taken you?

ES: Cleveland for two weeks, and a few one-nighters. This is the fourth week of the show, and we are in Philadelphia for a week.

Stratton_EmmaQ: Tell me about life on the road – first in Anything Goes and now in Bullets?

ES: There is good and bad. Mostly, though, I love life on the road. I especially love that this tour has longer gigs.

Q: Why is that?

ES: Being able to explore cities that nobody would normally vacation to or go for a week at a time is great. I feel like I know the East Coast really well after going to Penn State and living in New York. And I grew up in California. But the last year being able to travel all around, and getting to know every city in America has been an amazing opportunity.

Q: What is it like to be in a Woody Allen musical?

ES: In a word – amazing.

Q: Tell me the history?

ES: Sure. Woody Allen and Susan Strohman created the show together. He was a huge part of creating the musical and he wrote it. Susan was the director and a huge part of the rehearsal process on Broadway.

Q: What appealed to you about Bullets?

ES: The show is the quintessential Broadway musical. It is so full of life – beautiful men and women, and there is so much energy. On top of that, adding a Woody Allen script, which makes it hysterical. Then it transports you to 1929 and captures all of the dances and music of the period.

Q: Tell me about your character, Helen Sinclair

ES: I love that my character is very smart and witty and I like that she knows what she wants and will do anything to get it. She is a strong and empowered woman in 1929.

Q: Are you close friends with the other actors in the show?

ES: Definitely. I still stay in touch with my Anything Goes pals. It’s a crazy business and in any show, especially one on the road, you have to form a family.

Q: Why is that?

ES: You really have no life outside of the tour. There is time to text your friends and family members, but I am literally with the cast of the show 24/7 – so it works like a family. If you are best friends with somebody and you are upset with them, it’s like you are sisters or brothers. Everyone here is so kind and so open – we are having the best time. Many of us have been on tours before, so that helps the transition in making sure that we work well together.

Q: You took your Bye Bye Birdie days and kept working on a theater career. What about your sister and brother?

ES: My sister, Bartley, owns her own social networking business working for big companies and on the side does theater reviews. She recently moved from San Diego to New York City. My brother, Caleb, sits in on medical surgeries for a mesh product he represents that is sold to surgeons.

Q: When you are not working how do you spend your free time?

ES: Walking, running, and being outside. So much of our lives revolve around being on a bus or in a theater that when we can explore outdoors it is heavenly. I also make time to be with friends.

Q: Do you enjoy movies?

ES: Yes, I like period films like Jane Austen. I will watch any genre other than horror. But on tour you feel there is no time to do anything that doesn’t revolve around the show. It is different when I am living in New York, where I am based off the road.

Q: Tell me about the dream of your career versus the reality?

ES: It is very surreal. I grew up doing research on musical theater and idolizing Kathleen Marshall who did Anything Goes and Susan Strohman’s productions and I am a part of them. It is a very emotional feeling. It’s an out-of-body experience to do what I’ve wanted to do my entire life.

Q: Will your friends get to see your show?

ES: Yes. My family saw it in Cleveland and a lot of my friends are seeing it in Philadelphia or New Brunswick. Since I am from San Diego more of my friends will see it when we are in L.A. for three weeks, which is all so gratifying.

Q: What is your advice to young people, especially girls, who want to follow your musical theater dreams and see you as a role model?

ES: Put the time in researching as much as you can. That’s how I did it. Make sure you know the history of what you are doing and love so much. Look at videos, and do the research, can make such a huge difference because you know where it came from.

BULLETS_PRODUCTION_9_30_15_0548_HIGH_RES_v001Q: Anything else you can share as tips?

ES: Be confident when you walk into an audition room. Know your strengths and your your weaknesses. The people in the room want you to be successful, so the advice we were given in college that made such a huge difference was be confident and show it.

In addition to the Philadelphia run, Bullets Over Broadway will travel to more than 40 cities in its first season. For tour information go to:,

For ticket information in Philadelphia call: 215-731-3333, or go on line to For orders for groups of 10 or more call: 215-790-5883 or 866-276-2947.

Photography credit: Matthew Murphy

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Upcoming Harry Potter Stage Play Will Be A Sequel Following Harry And His Adult Son


(PCM) Harry Potter fans have been overjoyed with the news about the upcoming stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and have been clamoring for any additional details about the plot leading to many rumors swirling around the web.

It has now be confirmed by author J.K. Rowling, who worked with playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany on the two-part play, that it will indeed be a sequel and should be looked at by fans as the series “eighth story”!  It is set to take place 19 years later, which is incredibly significant to Harry Potter fans as the epilogue of the last book “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” takes place 19 years after the events that occurred in the book. The epilogue has Harry, along with both Ron and Hermione, dropping their own children off at the Hogwarts Express.

They have also released the official artwork for the production which features a child inside of a nest-like structure with black wings. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is set to open on London’s West End in 2016 and preview performances will begin from June 7 to July 30.  The plot description reads as follows:

“It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

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Perez Hilton To Star In Full House! The Musical!


(PCM) National Lampoon / Bob and Tobly McSmith / David Galpern proudly announce that the larger than life celebrity personality Perez Hilton will be joining the cast as Danny Tanner, the production is on stage at Theater 80 (80 St Marks & 1st Ave, East Village) from September 9, 2015 through November 29, 2015. On sale now, tickets range in price from $25 to $50, limited tickets available for the “Tanner Family Hug Zone” at $50, and are available online at
Tanner Family Hugs and Tickets at
Visiting Toronto for an exclusive run before heading off to Theatre 80 in New York, Full House! The Musical! will be on stage at the Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst St.) for a strictly limited engagement from Aug. 18 to Sept. 6. On sale now, tickets range in price from $29.99 to $99.99 and are available online at
Full House! The Musical! is the unauthorized musical parody that puts an adult spin on the wildly popular 90s sitcom. The beloved TV show followed the heartwarming story of a widowed Father whose best friend and brother‐in‐law move in to help him raise his three daughters. Every episode of “Full House” serves to remind you that no matter how unconventional the Tanner family is – they will always be better than your family.
Full House! The Musical! follows Tanner family patriarch, Danny, who loses his super power of solving any problem with his sensible “Dad Speeches” (complete with soft piano accompaniment). Enjoy Danny’s wacky and hilarious descent into madness as he slowly turns from wholesome Danny Tanner to foul‐mouth and dark Bob Saget. Will he get his “Dad Speech” power back in time to save his family? Probably not!
Full House! The Musical! includes book, music, lyrics and stage direction by Bob and Tobly McSmith (Bayside! The Musical!; Showgirls! The Musical!) who will have audiences clapping and singing along to catchy tunes like “This House is Too Full” – Tanner Family/Comet the Dog; “Have Mercy on My Heart/Don’t Touch the Hair” – Uncle Jessie/Rebecca Donaldson; “Look at these Assholes” – Comet the Dog and “Our Family is Better Than Your Family” – Tanner Family.
Joining Hilton on stage, the cast features Seth Blum as Joey Gladstone, John Duff as Jesse Katsopolis, Amanda Nicholas as DJ Tanner, Marguerite Halcovage as Stephanie Tanner, and Marshall Louise as the Olsen Twins.

The post Perez Hilton To Star In Full House! The Musical! appeared first on The World Of Pop Culture.

Nia Holloway Graces The Stage In Philadelphia’s “Lion King”

12-01NiaHolloway(PCM) The lovely Nia Holloway takes the stage as Nala in “The Lion King” and we are instantly mesmerized by her graceful cat-like movements. Then she begins to sing and we are drawn in by the sheer beauty of her voice.

Nala the Lion, is surrounded by elephants, zebras and other animals in which the actors, puppets and pageantry become one. The stage has an awe-inspiring orange glow and the inspiring music gives the children and adults in the audience goose bumps.

The themes of the show include: having respect for the delicate balance of nature, and to learn how to rejoice in the splendor of life.

The 19-year-old actress, vocalist and dancer, has appeared at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, on the Hub Network show “Majors and Minors” and at various other venues as a live performer.

Her new single, “Favorite Love Song,” is available on iTunes. She also has many fans that follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This show, often-called “the pride of Broadway,” features music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice, and has won six Tony Awards. It is the vision of director Julie Taymor, and is an adaptation of the animated film, that has a life of its own. “Lion King,” tells the story of a headstrong young lion cub named Simba and his coming of age, and uses puppetry and dance in ways that have not been replicated.

Here is a staggering thought: The show has been in production for 18 years. The 22 global productions have been seen by more than 75 million people, and the North American touring productions of “The Lion King” have been seen by more than 15 million theatergoers.

This show has been translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese), and is currently running on Broadway; in London’s West End; Hamburg; Tokyo; Madrid; Brisbane, Australia; Basel, Switzerland; and on tour across North America and Japan; this is a total of nine productions running concurrently across the globe.

Having already played more than 70 cities across North America, the show’s Philadelphia return at the Academy of Music is through June 14.

Q: Are you excited to be part of the tour of ‘The Lion King?’

NIA HOLLOWAY: Oh, yes! It has been absolutely thrilling!

Q: How long you been with the show?

NH: Two years, and it has continued to be both excitimg and challenging. I was cast at age 17, right out of high school, so I have the distinction of being the youngest person to play this role. The show has been around, thriving and delighting audiences as long as I’ve been alive.

Q: You were recently in Des Moines, now Philadelphia and soon several cities in Canada. Are the audiences similar as you travel around?

NH: It varies in every city – I would say that every city has its own aura about it. Some audiences are very reserved. Iowa really loved the show and I hope that Philadelphia will also. It is such a beautiful show.

Q: What do you love about your character of Nala?

NH: There are so many aspects of her to love. She is very young and very powerful.

Q: What else comes to mind?

NH: Being a very powerful character she has a beautiful message to convey that even thought she is going through a tough time she is going to do what ever she can do to take care of her family. I hope that this will empower other young women who come to see the show.

Q: Would you say that she is a role model?

NH: Yes definitely

Q: I have been told that without a supportive family it is extremely difficult to navigate the rough waters of a major theater career. So how has family been involved in your career?

NH: They have been there front and center since the day I wanted to start at age 11.When I first started my dad came with me and my mom stayed with my younger sisters in Atlanta. We sacrifice for each other. My family is my motivation every single day for what I do.


Q: Tell me about the camaraderie involved in the touring company of “The Lion King.”

NH: Yes, it is an important part – we basically live with one another and this is our home away from home. We celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays together, so your best friend in the show becomes like a big sister.

Q: You are not rooting during a tour, so tell me can life on the road be difficult.

NH: Yes, definitely. People think you would get used to being away from your family everyday, but you don’t. I have come to grips with it. I also keep in mind that I am living my dream and I am able to perform for at least 2,000 people a night; so that’s not something I can ever complain about.

Q: Do you do some sight seeing during the tour when you are not rehearsing or performing?

NH: Yes. I am really excited to see the best of Philadelphia.

Q: How do you get ready to go on stage?

NH: I have techniques to get my body and voice ready for each show. I come in 45 minutes before rehearsal to stretch my body and voice. I do jumping jacks for another 30 minutes. It is my daily routine to get my body in shape. When I first started the show I had five weeks of rehearsal period, which really prepared me. Now we don’t rehearse every day.

Q: Some people say that doing the same thing every day can be monotonous for an actress or dancer. But I think it shows how creative you can be to keep it fresh. What is your take on this?

NH: Keeping it interesting is the key whatever you are doing. It’s your responsibility as an artist to respect your craft. The process is not redundant because every day you try to better yourself. Sometimes your home sick; sometimes you are actually sick. Those emotions you pull from are not the same every night, but every night you want to give everything you’ve got and make it the best experience for the audience. You come to every part and every job and take something different from it. It’s all about my love for the theater and my deep love for my craft.

Q: How long will you stay with “The Lion King?”

NH: As long as they will have me.

Q: What’s next after the tour – dancing, singing or acting?

NH: All of them – they are all my passions. I have accomplished this at such a young age and I have the world ahead of me – I am going to take that world by storm.

Q: So who should come and see this production of “The Lion King?”

NH: You can be nine or 90 years old; it’s a universal and a beautiful experience. And I would say that you may want to experience it more than once.
The Philadelphia engagement of Lion King, Broadway’s award-winning musical, runs through June 14 at The Academy of Music. The tour continues in Canada to Vancouver, Edmonton,Calgary, and then to San Jose, Costa Mesa, Denver, Chicago, Tampa, Durham, and other cities. For tickets to the Philadelphia production go to: or call 215-731-3333. For more information worldwide, visit

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