SBJCT got to know Broadway’s newest baby, ADRIENNE WARREN. Below, some insight into her insane work ethic and schedule and what it means to be TINA… and how being too much can be just enough.
BY ERIN WALSH
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Erin Walsh Hello Adrienne. Can I just say what a force of light you are? I still can’t get over how much energy and joy you manage to exude from your small frame. I, for one, can’t wait to see you as Tina. Can you talk us a bit through your journey to where you are now?vHow did you get started in acting in the first place?
Adrienne Warren I grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia where I was introduced to music through church and acting through local theatre companies. I went to my first musical with my mom and during the show I turned to her and said, “I want to do that.”. She instantly got me involved in whatever she could to nurture my talents. She’s my biggest cheerleader! I love her.
EW How did the opportunity for this TINA role come about?
AW I was just nominated for a Tony for my roles in Shuffle Along, I was asked to come do a table read of a new show. Having no idea what the show was I went to pick up the script from an office and then and there they told me I would be reading for Tina. I was shocked!
EW Walk us through the training process and the physical demands of the show. Seriously, I know we discussed it, but I want our readers to know everything. What kind of training you need to do pre show and then during the run. And how many shows per week and the process…
AW I trained for months leading up to the show. It is very crucial to be one’s strongest self when doing this job. Stamina, strength, balance, and agility are what I tend to focus on when training for this show. I train with Michael Olajide Jr. in boxing and jump rope. Michael trained my for my run in London as well as Broadway. I don’t leave the stage much during the show so it’s important to work with someone who will train you like an athlete, because it is a marathon. I do 6 shows a week, no matinees. In this role, no one has ever attempted more! Haha
It 100 percent IS too much. However, that is the truth of Tina Turner’s life.
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EW What do you do when you feel like its too much? I suppose I should ask if it ever feels like it is too much, but I am assuming with your kind of schedule it must just get to be too much sometimes!
AW It 100 percent IS too much. However, that is the truth of Tina Turner’s life. It was gruelling, relentless, unfair, painful, and yet I’m only telling the story, she lived it. When I feel overwhelmed I call my family and friends and like to know whats going on in their lives and I do anything that takes me out of myself. I also try to meditate daily and I enjoy learning new skills I haven’t tried before.
EW You mentioned to me that Tina has actually been a mentor in this process. Can you tell us a bit about that? And what she is actually like?
AW She is joy, light, and love. We are so lucky to have her a part of this process. She has opened herself up to me and allowed me to ask her anything I wanted and I appreciate her honesty and open heart. She has taught me a lot about myself. Being Tina Turner is not an easy feat, and she gave me permission to be myself while I did the work to find her essence.
EW What steps do you take to get into character, to find it, when you are stepping into such iconic footsteps?
AW When the shows about to begin I really just focus on being my strongest self, giving my all, opening my heart, and tell the truth of this woman’s story. That’s it. That is what is most important to me.
EW What has been the most surprising part about this process?
AW That we did it. This show is now all over the world. A job that I thought I couldn’t do, is now being told all over the world. It’s just the beginning.
EW The most humiliating?
AW Things only humiliate you if you allow them too. I try not to.
EW The most gratifying?
AW Meeting everyone after the shows.
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EW How long was the London run of the show? And how long is this one set for?
AW I was with the show for a year in London and it is still running. I hope it runs in New York forever!
EW I am curious to know what you take home with you after a show. Does it take time to let go of the character of the performance? Are you a shell of a human for a beat? What is it like in the aftermath each night?
AW I leave Tina at the theatre at night. I’ve been doing it for a while now so I know how to compartmentalize. However, due to the energy of the show I do find myself up at night for a while before I can actually fall asleep. I’m definitely hungry and buzzing for a while before it all settles down.
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I tell stories I believe in.
EW What do you hope an audience to take away from a performance?
AW I hope the audience walks away knowing a little more about Tina as a person, mother, granddaughter, sister, and friend. I hope they are moved and entertained.
EW Why did you become a performer in general?
AW I’ve always loved the way performing makes me feel. It electrifies me. It’s a high.
EW Do you find there to be an overall goal or purpose in the projects you choose or why? Or is it more random than that?
AW I tell stories I believe in. I like to find projects that push needles forward. I like to be challenged in every way while also making work that will make a difference.
EW Any idea what comes next, or is that too huge a question for such a busy woman?
AW I have been working on my first solo album for about a year now and I am very much so looking forward to releasing the project. I am also very interested in directing and producing in both theatre and film.
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EW Favorite meal(s)?
AW Breakfast. Eggs, grits, toast or bagel, and bacon!
EW Favorite company?
AW Not really sure.
EW Current fave broadway show?
AW Tina the Tina Turner Musical.
EW All time fave broadway show?
AW Hasn’t been written yet.
EW Favorite Tina moment or song?
AW I love performing with the Ikettes! Anything with them.
EW Ultimate goal as an artist?
AW Make people feel and empathise.
EW Ultimate goal as a human?
AW Lead with love.
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