Dynamic Duets! Get to Know A Night with Janis Joplin’s winning pair Mary Bridget Davies and NaTasha Yvette Williams

January 17th, 2014 by

Share

The new Broadway musical A Night with Janis Joplin has one of the most exhilarating, memorable Act 1 finales currently on the Great White Way. Before the audience breaks for intermission, Mary Bridget Davies and NaTasha Yvette Williams blow the roof off the Lyceum Theatre, as Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin, respectively. Together, they form create the Broadway magic you can only find when you come across a dynamic duet—a theatrical pair that really stand out together. Below, the ladies share what makes their onstage relationship so special.

What was your first impression of your co-star?
Mary:
Natasha walked into the rehearsal space at Pearl Studio and when she opened her mouth this effortless wall of gorgeous sound poured out. I was enamored. Just... WOW. This is how Broadway girls do it!
NaTasha:
This lady is a STAR!! I first saw her at Arena Stage in D.C. When I went down to see the show, I was mesmerized by her gift. Then to meet her, and witness her humility and shear joy for life, was and is delightful. I don’t know of anyone with an instrument like hers and her spirit makes it even more magnificent.

What do you think it is that makes your performances gel so well together?
Mary:
We get along in real life and respect each other's talents. In our Act 1 finale as Janis and Aretha, we get to sing together and at each other. We can egg each other on and have a good time! One of my favorite compliments from the crowd is "You guys looked like you were having so much fun up there that it allowed us to let loose!"
NaTasha:
Firstly, because of the great music we sing together. "Spirit in Dark" is a number that infuses all involved with said Spirit. The audience is anxious to stand and jam with us and we combine in feeding that need for them. Individually, we both love performing and count it a privilege to do what it is we do; so when you combine talent with that understanding, it creates a force that people feel—but it starts with us surrendering to the music and it's great.

My favorite moment on stage with her is…
Mary:
During "Spirit in the Dark," Janis kind of goes off the rails feeling the spirit and Aretha stops the band, which cuts Janis off abruptly; and each night, Natasha delivers the line fresh like "Well, well, well... looks like somebody's been going to church!" We ham that up.
NaTasha:
Her bursting onto the stage (her entrance) the energy she innately has just shoot us up three/four notches and it challenges us to rise to the occasion. Each night it's different, and I wait for what it will bring to see where I am going. Working with Mary is a work out, and I know I am better because of the experience.

The most memorable performance we shared has been...
Mary:
The Wendy Williams Show performance was our first press together! Usually, I just go with the band, but this time all the ladies were there and it felt like family. I was so proud of us. Plus, it was the first time we heard any tracks from our cast album so it was thrilling!"
NaTasha:
Was actually not in front of an audience, it was the night before at the final dress; I broke my foot during "Spirit," but we continued the number. That show adrenaline kicked in and, I didn't know it was broken, so we finished the number, but because of the pain I couldn't do all of the choreography. So, I just sort of bounced in place for a lot of the number, and the ladies Taprena, Nikki, and DeAdre all rallied around and adjusted accordingly. Then Mary came out with a sweet look of compassion on her face and fierceness in her being, and she moved right into "what we need" mode. She filled that space, and I know that is why I couldn't feel the pain in my foot; she made me want to finish it and make it right. That magnetism is probably why her entrance is my favorite moment because, on that night for a moment, I was able to push past my infirmity and soar like Aretha and Janis in "Spirit in Dark."

My co-star and I bond over…
Mary:
Bad choices in tenants most recently. Hahahaha!
NaTasha:
Sweets, cookies to be specific....enough said.

I’m envious of my co-star’s ability to…
Mary:
Balance twins and Broadway. Seriously!? Just something you think you could never pull off but she does. Everyday. I love that!
NaTasha:
Envious seems so strong; it doesn’t ever serve me to be that, but I do admire her ability to rock out so unselfishly—giving every ounce every time. On stage and off, she is giving it, serving it, killing it. She leaves it all on the floor, and that—tempered with her respect for the craft and her kindness—is what stars are made of—so that is my goal.