With ms. estrada opening in just a few short weeks, we’re sitting down with members of the cast to hear about why they love this new hip-hop musical adaptation of the Greek classic, Lysistrata, and what The Flea means to them.
What do you love about ms. estrada, the upcoming hip-hop musical?
I love that ms. estrada is a hip-hop musical that serves as a direct response to issues that we are grappling with as a society. I think it is relevant and it is relatable to all ages and backgrounds. Everyone will find a piece of him or herself in this production.
What kind of theater speaks to you?
I really have an affinity for Musical Theater. Musicals such as Color Purple helped me to find myself and people who look like me on a Broadway stage. I’m a singer at heart and hearing the notes and tones these powerhouse vocalists hit, excites me. Storytelling through song requires a lot of emotional stamina to do well and I’m up for the challenge.
What ignites you about the medium of theater?
I have always said— “You cannot fool the audience at the theater.” This is my way of reminding myself that there are no trick cut-aways or fancy angles or edits that can happen in film or television. You’re live and in order to get the story across, actors have to show up fully and give 110%, if not more! You must be fully connected to your objectives, your backstory, and the world you’re serving for 90-minutes with no intermission— every night!
If you could change one thing about the theater process, what would it be?
I would change the casting process. I would love theater to be more inclusive of all ethnicities, and to shake up their “character breakdowns”. How exciting would it be to see an Asian lead in Waitress? Or take the page from Frozen on Broadway and cast a Black person in a lead role.
And how did you end up at The Flea?
I was in a scene study class at Primary Stages with The Flea’s Audience Development Associate, Aleesha Nash. After I went up to do my monologue for the class, she started telling me all about The Flea and The Bats. I never anticipated that I would actually be a member of the company so soon, however, I’m thankful to be working with a group of dedicated and energetic actors that are supportive and hardworking.
What has acting and working as a theatermaker taught you about yourself?
Patience, tenacity, and self-reliance. I’ve been blessed to get as far as I have within the almost 4-years of pursuing my dream of becoming an actor, but patience is still required because not everything I want will happen overnight. I have to accept that. I have to accept that on a daily basis… “sometimes hourly,” he laughs.
Tenacity, because this career can be very harsh at some points and you have really know that this is what you want to do and that you will succeed.
Self-reliance comes out of a place where I’ve had experiences where people will say “I can help you!” or “We should definitely work together!” and although these encounters feel good at the moment, they may not come to fruition and the ownness is still on me to make my own way to get what I want. By creating content, networking, and being willing to hustle is what I can always count on.
What’s your dream project?
I have a lot of dream projects, dream roles and a long list of playwrights and directors I want to work with, but the entire list equates to one thing—I just really want to create PHENOMENAL work.
Beyond any list, I want to push myself and my talents to the very depths of their limits. My dream is to be to be cast in projects that will allow me to expand my capacity and develop skills that I didn’t even know I had. I love the growth process that I experience as an artist. I love having the opportunity to bring to life characters and share amazing stories. The fact that I get to do both in ms. estrada—tell stories and grow as an artist—I am completely here for it!