PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Portia

Cue and A   PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Portia
 
Portia — a star of Manhattan Theatre Club's Off-Broadway run of Ruined — fills out Playbill.com's offbeat questionnaire.
Portia
Portia


Full given name: Litha Portiaeyne Johnson
Hometown: Niagara Falls, New York
Zodiac sign: Aries…what else?
First Broadway show ever saw: Pirates of Penzance, my first trip to NYC with my high school drama club
Current show you have been recommending to friends: Sweet Storm by Scott Hudson at the Alchemy Theater Company
MAC or PC? PC for now
Most played song on your iPod: Well… let me check: Okay right now there is a three-way tie with 96 plays: Beyonce "Freakum Dress," Amy Winehouse "You Know I'm No Good" and Aly-us "Follow Me." I love music so that list will change by the end of the day.
Web obsession: Facebook's FarmVille and I need neighbors!!
Last book you read: I never read one book at a time, my brain doesn't work that way, the last two are: "Fledgling" by Octavia E. Butler. I am pretty obsessed with her, she is fascinating, I don't call her work science fiction, I call it science faction! I have read almost everything she wrote except one book that is no longer in print…and I am searching; searching; searching for "Survivor." Also read, and continue to read "The Wisdom of The Lotus Sutra"
Favorite board/card game: UNO... and I take my game very seriously, ask the LAB members!!
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Reality TV: "Intervention," "Real Housewives of Atlanta" and "…New Jersey," "Biggest Loser," "America's Best Dance Crew," "America's Next Top Model," "Project Runway," "Top Chef"…oooh boy!!
First stage kiss: McReele with Anthony Mackie. Shortly after, I kissed Dylan McDermott in The Treatment (woo-hoo!!!) and then got naked on stage with Robert Clohessy in Frankie and Johnny… hey I don’t mess around
Favorite pre-/post-show meal: Dessert! Pre- or Post-show!!
How you got your Equity card: The Merchant of Venice directed by Peter Sellars. I was working as a horticultural technician (the plant lady) and Peter was casting the role of Jessica. He decided to stop in NYC on his way to LA. I hadn't been in NYC that long and had no idea who he was or what I was doing. During my audition, I looked down at the text and the book was upside down and I was too mortified to fix it so I just kept going. The job was to start the next day in Chicago with a European tour to follow. I remember going to work the next day to water plants as usual; I was caring for my niece Ayana, who was two at the time, I picked her up from the sitter's and we went on a shopping spree (shopping is a ritual after all auditions now, even if I only buy gum). I got home and got the 21 messages saying I had the job.
Who have you played on "Law & Order"? Which edition? Between the original and "CI," I have played a prostitute, a drug addict (recovering, that's important), a housekeeper, a nurse, and a foster mother
Worst costume ever: Frankie & Johnny… costume: nudity. When we started rehearsal the director allowed us to go at our own pace knowing that eventually we had to get comfortable with being nude. I started with my earrings and then my socks. I spent every moment outside of rehearsal in the gym. Finally, I realized that when you're nude you don't go around looking at yourself. I also got a full weave which helped a lot.
Pets' names: Earl and Ruby, my 3 year old cats.
Who would play you in the movie? Regina King or Kimberly Elise. I think they have the depth and sensitivity needed to pull off something like that. They also happen to be two of my favorite actresses.
Worst job you ever had: waiting tables at the South Street Seaport one summer…I am very sensitive to smells and well, you know seafood and heat, not a good mix for me
TV or commercial gig you most enjoyed: Voice over work, you don’t have to sweat over what you are going to wear or spend time putting on a face.
What other single-named artist would you love to work with? Oprah of course!
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