You began your career at a young age. How did it unfold?
“I was invited to join the San Francisco ballet at 17 years old. I worked with all the great American choreographers and eventually became a soloist. After dancing the classics like the Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Giselle, I found myself much more aligned with the contemporary works and new ideas that many choreographers had. I realized I’m more of a contemporary ballet dancer, despite my classical training. Then I joined Nederlands Dans Theater 1 and I was there for a year when the offer came to do An American in Paris on Broadway. I was with the show for the Broadway run and we’ve been on the road touring ever since.”
Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
“I knew I wanted to be a ballet dancer first; that was my first dream and passion. There is something special about ballet dancers – the way they walk and carry their body – I was drawn to the elegance. I always loved to sing as well. I sang in the choir growing up and played various instruments and always loved music, so it was really a blend of two things I was passionate about. You don’t dance without music; you dance because you feel connected to the music.”
Sounds like musical theatre was a natural fit for you.
“I didn’t know if I was going to be in the kick line or the star or the show, but I knew I needed to be a part of it.”
Do you ever get stage fright?
“Usually, I get jittery the first couple times I do something. But it’s different now; it’s like a calm comes over me. You never know how you’re going to feel when you wake up in the morning, especially with the political world today. I want to channel what’s going on in our world in my performance, especially this story and this character. Our nation was built on immigrants and that’s what this show is about – the ending of WWII. The show starts with a flag over me and the planes flying overhead leaving Europe. We see the city and people rebuild themselves after a tragic time in European history. It’s especially pertinent today. I hope when people see the show, they get similar takeaways, like how important it is to keep our eyes and ears extremely open. The things we need to work on today are continuing acceptance and equality and to forget about intolerance, fear and division.”
What’s your dream role?
“Hopefully my dream role is being written right now! I want to originate a role and be part of something brand new.”
What are some of your favorite things to do around New York City?
“I love Emily [in Brooklyn] – it’s amazing! I also like Roman’s on DeKalb in Brooklyn and Mercer Kitchen in Manhattan. I love Brooklyn, it’s where I live and spend all my free time. I’m a major bicyclist and like to ride my bike around Prospect Park. My dog Pilot loves to sit on the back of my bike with the wind in his face.”
What does being part of the NYC LGBT community mean to you?
“Being part of the LGBT community here means being part of the beautiful fabric that is the diversity of NYC. Everyone is proud to be a New Yorker and an American. We can’t let our differences divide us; they have to enfold us into one another. After the tour ends in April, I’m looking forward to just living in NYC without such a grueling schedule. I’m excited to get back and get involved.”