Friday, we had the pleasure to be in the room with Tony Award Winning actress, Cynthia Erivo. During an interview with the AOL Build series (moderated by Laura Heywood, BroadwayGirlNYC), she talked about everything from the current state of the United States to workouts to Fantasia Barrino being obsessed with her speaking voice. But, there were a few valuable takeaways we got from the conversation we just have to share.
1.) She’s Superhuman
This woman is known for her killer workouts (have you seen her Facebook videos?) She ran a half marathon and went to do a two-show day? Now she’s training for the NYC Marathon, and how does she do it? Just getting up and doing it and listening to her body. Okay Cynthia, way to make the rest of us look bad.
2.) She was a music psychology major.
Amazing. Before enrolling at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Cynthia was studying music psychology. The study of how music affects the way we feel, think and act. After realizing she didn’t need to attend lectures to learn the material, Cynthia went on to find her true passion the theatre. (We are forever grateful for that!)
3.) It doesn’t matter what she’s singing her voice is always going to be heaven sent and snatch us bald.
Someone once asked Cynthia how she spelled her name and instead of spelling it, she sang it. Seriously, HOW?
4.) Humility goes a long way.
When asked how she remains humble with everything going on around her she had the most honest and sincere response. “People should lead by example, just be good people. It takes nothing to be a good person, it takes nothing to be grateful for the good things you receive, because you’re opening yourself up to receive more good things because I feel like when you demonstrate you can handle the good things in a graceful way you’re opening yourself up to be ready for more, because you can handle the good things.”
5) The world needs just a little bit more love.
After recent events in the United States, the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the murders of the cops in Dallas, Cynthia still had a show to put on. How did she prepare? The cast went out and did the show for all the people in the audience. She wanted them all to know they were in this together. “We just love harder,” she says in heartfelt response to what the world needs to do to combat this problem. “ We all have to just make an effort to be understanding towards one another. Just love just a little bit harder, be just a little more hopeful. So that your hope might spread to someone else, your love might spread to someone else. And eventually I believe that’s where we’ll get to, a place of understanding, peace and love.”
Watch and learn a few things for yourself!
Erika Dickerson-Despenza Addresses Flint Water Crisis with Cullud Wattah
There is limited seating left for Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s new play CULLUD WATTAH at The Public Theater. Opening today, Thursday, March 7th and running until Sunday, March 10th in the Public Studio is about three generations of Black women living through the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
“It’s been 936 days since Marion’s family has had clean water. When local activists file a class action lawsuit against the city, Marion—a third-generation employee at General Motors—must decide how best to support her two daughters, sister, and mother while lead seeps into the community, their home, and their bodies. As corrosive memories and secrets rise among them, the family wonders if they’ll ever be able to filter out the truth.”
2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist and poet-playwright makes her Public Theater debut with CULLUD WATTAH directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones; the cast includes Deonna Bouye (Marion), Alana Raquel Bowers (Reesee), Caroline Stefanie Clay (Big Ma), Nikiya Mathis (Ainee), and Kara Young (Plum).
The creative team includes Production Stage Manager Gregory Fletcher, Stage Manager Priscilla Villanueva, and Movement Director Adesola Osakalumi. Along with scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, Costume Design by Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene, lighting Design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, and sound design by Megan Culley
We believe in this work so much we’re giving away 4 tickets to the performances on March 10th. 2 tickets to the matinee and two the evening performance thanks to our founder Drew Shade and actress/playwright Jocelyn Bioh. Go to our Instagram to find out how!
Also, find out more about how you can help the Flint Water Crisis and support this show HERE.
Listen to Erika talk about her work on an episode of Off Book Podcast below
Surely Goodness and Mercy by Chisa Hutchinson Begins Off-Broadway
Performances begin today, Tuesday February 26th, for the New York premiere of Surely Goodness and Mercy, presented by Keen Company. A story about an exceptional boy living a troubled life in Newark, NJ who does a good deed for an often unnoticed person. Sarita Covington, Jay Mazyck, Brenda Pressley, Courtney Thomas, and Cezar Williams star under Jessi D. Hill’s direction.
Set in an under-funded public school in Newark, Surely Goodness and Mercy by rising playwright Chisa Hutchinson, tells the story of a bible-toting boy with a photographic memory who befriends the cantankerous old lunch lady. Against all odds, Tino and Bernadette help each other through the mess of growing up and growing old.
Surely Goodness and Mercy has spent the last year charming audiences across the country: “Notably absent from Hutchinson’s frank and sobering story: cynicism” – Chicago Reader; “(Surely Goodness and Mercy has) a soul-stirring quality, touching audiences with its sincerity” – Daily Utah Chronicle; “it’s impossible not to like it” – The Salt Lake Tribune. Now, Keen is honored to bring this big-hearted new play to New York for the first time.
Performances for this limited Off-Broadway engagement of Surely Goodness and Mercy will continue through Saturday, April 13th only, with opening night set for Wednesday, March 13th.