After appearing in Broadway's The Lion King and A Bronx Tale, Trista Dollison gives a breakout performance as the bubble-gum-chewing viral video star Violet Beauregarde in the Broadway adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Her big number "Queen of Pop" is a standout moment in the musical.
BroadwayBox caught up with Trista to talk about life onstage and backstage at Charlie, her dream projects, and finding her voice in church.
1. For you, who is the queen of pop? What’s your ultimate track?
Well it certainly isn't Madonna! I think the Queen of Pop isn't exclusive to one person—it's more like the moment when you know you've got it going on and there isn't anybody who can't tell you different. A true Queen of Pop is filled with confidence and believes everything she does is the best.
2. What’s your favorite small moment with your onstage dad, Alan H. Green?
Can I just say, I have the best Dad on Broadway!! He and I share so many moments on and offstage. One of my favorites is our water cooler chat. As soon as we finish "Queen of Pop", we walk downstairs and talk about whatever's on our hearts—be it our day, what he's eating after I explode, a joke, or what the preacher preached about! We also sometimes have daddy daughter ESP which is always awesome and super freaky!!!
3. What’s your pre-show like for Charlie?
My character Violet doesn't get her ticket until 30 minutes into the show, so I have a lot of time. I usually spend half hour catching up with my work husband, Darius Barnes. We love to catch up and check in with each other, mainly because we don't have much interaction in the show. Once the show starts, it’s makeup time—which really is my most peaceful time. I love to zone out and just paint my face—makeup time is really calming and it's something I truly enjoy. Once the face is done, I warm my body up and it's into the velour I go. I sing a quick Operatic warmup to when Veruca says. And then it's time for the Queen to slay!!
4. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was such an important film for so many people growing up. What movie did you watch the most as a child? What did you love about it?
When I was younger, I loved Shrek!! I knew all the lines and would laugh at the movie as if it were my first time watching. I think I annoyed my parents and brothers, lol. I also loved Dreamgirls, and I remember wanting to watch either Shrek or Dreamgirls on the TV in my mom's van!!! Wow those were the days!!
5. On Broadway you’ve done The Lion King, Bronx Tale, and Charlie—all movies to musicals—what’s your dream movie that if they turned it into a musical, you’d want to star?
Hmmm... Not quite a movie, but I would love to play Issa if there ever was a musical based on the HBO series, Insecure. I love that show. In terms of a movie, I would be honored to star in the musical version of Hidden Figures. I love that movie, it was so inspiring to see those three women and the determination they possessed.
6. What would fans find most surprising about life backstage at Charlie?
Most surprising, we work at a chocolate factory so there aren't any limits!! We all have fun on and offstage. There's a bunch of crazy & talented people in this show. You may be surprised at how technical some of the things onstage are even though we make the look so easy.
7. You have such a killer voice. Do you remember the moment you knew your singing voice was special?
Well thank you!! I have always loved singing in Church. My father is a pastor and he remembers me singing way before I can. One of the most special moments for me would have to be becoming the praise & worship leader at my youth convention, leading worship in a huge convention center filled with kids from across the country. While in high school, I remember family, friends and even my voice teachers being amazed at how I could sing the traditional gospel music as well as sing Italian art songs. I realized it was special to have an interest in both and even more special to be able to sing in many styles of music.
See Trista Dollison as Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Broadway's Lunt Fontanne Theatre through January 14, 2018.