Five Burning Questions with Cinderella and Real Housewives Star NeNe Leakes
Broadway audiences are about to learn what TV fans have known for years: no one can entertain like NeNe Leakes. The actress broke out on The Real Housewives of Atlanta—quickly rising to become one of Bravo’s most popular and high-profile stars—then she caught the eye of Ryan Murphy who cast her in major roles on Glee and The New Normal. Soon a stint in the Vegas production of Zumanity followed, and now she’s a bonafide Broadway headliner. BroadwayBox caught up with Leakes to talk about making her Main Stem debut as the wicked stepmother Madame in Cinderella, RHOA and when she’s joining Murphy’s American Horror Story franchise.
1. Who gave you the best advice about making your Broadway debut and what was it?
My best advice is usually always from my husband Greg because he’s the closest person to me; he knows everything I go through and how I’m feeling at the end of the day. He always keeps me grounded and he says to me all the time, ‘NeNe, you just go out there and do the best you can.’ Because I’ve come back from rehearsals, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I can make this. I need an acting coach.’ And my husband just always says, ‘Nene you work best under pressure and you always deliver, so stay grounded and you’ll be fine.’ He’s always that guy that's right there for me.
2. If your Cinderella character Madame had a Real Housewives tagline what would it be?
We have some serious Housewives tag lines…Hers would be: Don’t bother me because I’m trying to come up. Because she is trying actually to come up in life—the way she’s going about isn’t the way you or I would go about it, but she just wants a better life for her and her kids.
3. Speaking of Housewives, if you could invite a housewife from any other franchise to RHOA for a season, who would it be?
I’d invite Bethenny [Frankel, RHONY]. She’s pretty good.
4. So many people watch you on TV, but what do you like to watch? What’s on your DVR?
Oh my DVR is full ‘cause I haven’t been able to watch. I too like reality shows; in the past I’ve always watched Real Housewives of Atlanta, but this year I’m not watching; I haven’t watched one episode yet. I write my blogs based off what my followers on social media say to me. When it comes to the housewife franchise, I’ve always been a fan of New Jersey. And I like those police shows like The First 48.
5. You’ve killed it on Glee and New Normal, are we ever going to see NeNe on Ryan Murphy’s other hit, American Horror Story?
[Ryan] is my fairy godmother. You know what, everyone asks me about that. I should text him. I don't like blood and I’ve never watched the show before, but I would do it if Ryan called me—I’ve done everything he’s told me to do—so if he calls and says, ‘Get on the airplane,’ I’ll be there.
Don't miss NeNe Leakes in 'Cinderella' at the Broadway Theatre now through January 3, 2015.