Making its way back to Southern California—specifically, Orange County—the national touring company of the Tony Award-winning musical MEMPHIS will be spreading its tuneful message of rock and soul at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts for a two-week engagement starting November 6.
Smack-dab in the center of this electrically-charged musical set in the turbulent South of the 50's is phenomenal triple-threat Felicia Boswell, who, appropriately enough, plays the leading role of Felicia, a juke-joint singer who enters into a very taboo-for-the-times interracial love affair with rabble-rousing local radio DJ Huey Calhoun (played by Bryan Fenkart) while trying to pursue a professional recording career amidst an environment boiling over with volatile racial tensions.
Blessed with natural beauty and a killer singing voice, Boswell is mesmerizing in the highly-emotional role, seamlessly transitioning from fiery to vulnerable within the span of the show. (In my review of the musical during its appearance at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood earlier this year, I remarked that Boswell "had me muttering 'wow' with each song she sang.")
Equally as impressive as her voice is the list of past stage credits she has amassed. Prior to her originating the role of Felicia in the national touring company of MEMPHIS, she was previously Tony nominee Montego Glover's cover for the same role in the Broadway production. She has also been in the national tours of DREAMGIRLS and AIDA and have embodied well-received roles in regional productions of RENT, CAROLINE OR CHANGE, THE WIZ and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, to name a few.
To our delight—right before she and the brilliant cast take the show behind the Orange Curtain—she agreed to answer a series of silly, rapid-fire questions from BroadwayWorld.
Subject: Felicia Boswell
Which 50’s musical icon(s) do you most find inspiration from to play your character?
Diana Ross and Tina Turner.
We just stole your iPod! Which musical artists will we find on it?
Dominic Miller, Whitney Houston, Jane Monheit, Mary Mary, Carrie Underwood, Andrea Bocelli, Robin Thicke, Cassandra Wilson… I LOVE everything, really!
What is your must-do, pre-show ritual?
Pray, water, vocal warm up, stretch, and pray again.
In one word, describe what goes through your head right before you step out on stage:
What's your favorite musical show and/or cast album of all time?
AIDA, hands down! Fave cast album… CAROLINE OR CHANGE.
What's the song that you like belting in the shower or when you're all alone in the car?
"I Loves You, Porgy"
What scares you the most?
RATS in the subway! They OWN it and they know it! Ewww!
What is your one guilty pleasure?
HONEY SMACKS! LOL
What do you like to do on your day off?
REST ... a lot!
What or who irritates you the most?
Audience members eating during the show in a quiet scene! Eat the darn candy already!
What instantly puts a smile on your face?
A baby's laughter.
Name a dream role in another show you'd like to play someday…
Rachel Marron in THE BODYGUARD—if it ever comes to Broadway!
If you could trade lives with someone for one day, who would that person be and why?
Barbie! She has everything and her "Ken" is Perfect! Haha!