Lillias White Dishes on The Oldest Profession: Broadway Diva
April 25th, 2014
by Josh Ferri
Tony Award and Emmy winner Lillias White makes her 54 Below debut on May 1, 2 and 3 in a new show titled The Lillias White Effect; and let’s be honest, with that voice, who doesn’t Lillias White effect? Directed by Will Nunziata, the new show will feature White center stage singing her signature songs and sharing stories from her long Broadway career. Below, BroadwayBox asked The Life star to dish on the oldest profession: Broadway diva.
1. The diva who can make my jaw drop with vocals alone:
My favorite singer right now is not a Broadway star (yet!), but she has performed with members of the Broadway community. Her name is Ledisi. If you were to ask for my top three favorite vocalists, I'd have to say #2 is Gregory Porter and #3 is Audra!
2. The one thing no one tells you about winning a Tony Award is:
What folks don't know about receiving is a Tony is....IT'S THRILLING!! HECTIC!!!!! & EXHAUSTING!! There are special luncheons to attend, LOTS of press events and extra rehearsals for the cameras, then when it's all over, you still have eight-shows-a-week!! The biggest and most emotional part of being honored with a Tony (for me at least) is the day you actually receive the award, in the box, with your name inscribed on it! OooH.....tears!!
3. The role that got away was:
The role that I turned down to do The Wiz was "The Narrator" in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!! I've always wondered how my career would have been different if I had done that show...
4. The most unglamorous job this diva has ever had was:
The least glamorous role I've done, so far, is Grizabella.
5. The fan interaction I will always hold close to my heart was when:
When the Broadway cast of Fela! presented the show in Lagos, Nigeria, the audience response was overwhelming!!! When I appeared as Fela’s mother and began to sing, there was loud cheering and the people knew the song and sang along! It was very moving.
6. What I want most from my next Broadway role is:
I'd love for my next starring role on Broadway to reflect positive and uplifting messages for all who witness it! It must include an up-tempo dance number and a HIT BALLAD!
7. If I had to use only one sentence to describe what it was like performing each the following showstoppers on a Broadway stage:
“I’m Not Going”
Performing the role of Effie in Dreamgirls was at times otherworldly. The constant pace and emotional content of the show was dizzying!
“Brotherhood of Man”
“Brotherhood” from How to Succeed...was such fun! Scatting with Matthew Broderick was the best!
Each show during the run of Fela! was a spiritual experience for me. There was so much ritual and truth and “Rain” was the culmination of ritualistic music, dance , drumming and sound!! It was MAGICAL!!!
See Lillias White show off her Tony-winning talents in The Lillias White Effect at 54 Below May 1 through May 3.