I came from a really musical family. I studied classical piano because my grandparents were piano teachers, but started doing musical theater at age nine in Fresno, California, and went to a performing arts high school. That was my life.
I admire but don't envy people who have children and also have big, wonderful perfect houses. Maybe Martha Stewart could do it; to me those two things aren't compatible, but I know our children will grow up with a feeling that home is a place of comfort.
When I first was exposed to 'Porgy and Bess' many, many years ago, I was blown away by it - loved the music, overwhelmed by the production at the Met that I saw, and thought I want to play Bess someday. But I also knew they were stereotypes that were considered racist.
When you become a parent, it blows you open in ways that you never thought possible in terms of a level of love that I know I never thought I could possibly have.
'Go Back Home' encompasses not only actual geographic location but also, for me, back home in the worlds of music and theatre, and back home in terms of making albums again. There are lots of meanings to that.
The authentic Gullah dialect is actually very clipped, and so it would sound almost Jamaican and be very odd to an American audience's ears. It's not the typical Southern dialect that we're used to.
I feel a connection to many songs that I won't sing because I don't think they are right for me! There is something in my gut that immediately responds. There's no science to it.
I used to practice Tony speeches in my bathroom with my hairbrush.
One thing that is constantly on my iPod is India Arie - I like her a lot; I listen to her a lot. I think she is just a spectacular artist.
When I wanted to audition for a dinner-theater junior troupe in my hometown, I needed to have a piece of musical theater music to sing. I wasn't sure what I wanted to use. My mom and dad suggested that I sing 'Edelweiss' because I knew it from the music box.
I choose things that challenge me. I was afraid of the camera - that's why I chose to do 'Private Practice.' It's not like I left the theater.
Anytime I get the chance to sing or work with Michael John, it is such an incredibly fertile and incredibly creative and safe and encouraging environment - and challenging, too, because he is so collaborative!
The authentic Gullah dialect is actually very clipped, and so it would sound almost Jamaican and be very odd to an American audience's ears. It's not the typical Southern dialect that we're used to. It has a much more percussive rhythm to it.
I auditioned for Julliard because I wanted to live in New York, and I wanted to be on Broadway at the time. Julliard seemed like right way to get there.
I certainly miss playing piano, and I really wish I did it more - it's really a very therapeutic thing to do for me. I just need to be home for more than a few minutes to be able to play more, I guess.
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