Kristolyn Lloyd Talks Paradise Blue, Dream Roles, How She Chooses Projects, & the Heathers & Dear Evan Hansen Fans
May 11th, 2018
by Josh Ferri
Kristolyn Lloyd gives a sensational performances as Pumpkin in Signature Theatre's New York premiere of Dominique Morisseau's Paradise Blue. The play examines the lives of musicians living and working in Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood in 1949 as a big change is underway. Pumpkin is a reluctant singer who loves poetry and the men she cares for. She's the girlfriend of Blue (the owner and star talent of the Paradise Club) and helps him run the place.
BroadwayBox caught up with Kristolyn Lloyd (whose New York credits include Ophelia in Hamlet at The Public, the Tony-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen, and fan favorites Heathers and Invisible Thread) to talk about this exciting new play, the big cult musicals she's been a part of, and her dream musical revivals.
1. What was the most interesting or striking thing you learned about Blackbottom and jazz in preparation for this show?
How many black business owners there were within the community. I was surprised to learn it wasn’t just clubs, hotels, and restaurants. They were distributors, lawyers, doctors, dentist, etc.! A completely self-sufficient black community.
2. What do you admire about Pumpkin, and what do you wish you could tell her?
I admire her positivity and ability to connect with others. She is this bright light. I wish I could tell her it’s ok to cuss.
3. You’re one of two remaining cast members that did the world premiere at Williamstown in 2015. How has the piece changed for you since performing it there?
The relationship between Pumpkin and Silver has evolved. There is more texture to them and detail. It is two women looking to give and receive strength from each other. We don’t see that very often with two women on stage together.
4. Your resume is so interesting and varied. How do you choose projects? When do you know if it’s right for you?
It changes! Sometimes I like to do projects with teams I like, and other times it’s roles. With Paradise Blue, it was easy. I loved the role of Pumpkin the first time I read it! Other times, I may not immediately connect with a character, so it is just the creative team. You gotta either love what you’re doing or who you’re doing it with.
5. How would you describe what it’s like to be part of a show that has such devoted fan bases as Dear Evan Hansen & Heathers?
It can honestly be overwhelming at times, because I like my anonymity, but it’s also cool to be a part of something with a legacy.
6. You recieved a NAACP Image Award for your role as Dayzee Leigh on TV's Bold and the Beautiful. When’s the last time a Bold and the Beautiful fan stopped you?
Last week maybe???
7. You haven’t done a musical revival yet here in New York. Do you have a dream revival you’d like to do?
If I could choose I would want to play ‘Millie’ in Thoroughly Modern Millie or ‘Queenie’ in The Wild Party!
Don't miss Kristolyn Lloyd as Pumpkin in Paradise Blue at off-Broadway's Signature Center through June 10.