DIVA TALK: Catching Up With Chaplin Star Jenn Colella

By Andrew Gans
21 Sep 2012

Colella and Will Chase in High Fidelity.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Question: I know you've done Broadway and a lot regionally. I wonder if there's any theatrical experience that stands out for you when you look back at your career so far.
Colella: You know, it's interesting, they all do in certain ways. Urban Cowboy was such a special time because it was my Broadway debut, and it was Matt Cavenaugh's Broadway debut, and that's where I met Lonny Price, who is one of my dearest friends today. We loved each other. And, Jason Robert Brown, who's also one of my dearest friends. Tom Kitt, I met him. These are men who have since written songs for me. And, it was my introduction to New York. I think High Fidelity was also a joy, but out of New York, doing Peter Pan and Annie Get Your Gun and shows like that where, again, it just feels like the role fits me perfectly. Those are pretty special roles that will never leave me.

Question: I know you are also a part of a lot of workshops. Is there any musical you've been a part of that you're surprised hasn't gotten to Broadway yet or you feel really deserves to get here?
Colella: So many of them! I'm the queen of workshops, man! [Laughs.] Which is one of the best parts of living in New York—it's such fertile ground. There's always something new happening, and again, I feel deeply honored that these composers and writers trust me with their new material and continue to do so. Yeah, there are a lot of things that I'm still waiting [to get to the stage]. Piece of My Heart is this Bert Berns musical that's really tremendous, and I've got another workshop of that coming up. I have a lot of hope for that. Kiki Baby that I did at the NYMF last year that Lonny Price wrote. We're still gaining momentum with that and really hope that that gets on the stage. And then I'm also working on a new piece with Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt that will have another workshop of that in November. That's an incredibly special piece that I'm really excited to do.

Question: How do you find doing eights shows a week? How do you manage the rest of your life so you're able to do?
Colella: It's one show at a time, man. If you're like, "Oh, I've got six more," then you're screwed. I have to take it just one scene at a time, but certainly one show at a time, pretend like it's the last time I'll ever perform and get enough rest and food before the next one and say, "No, this is the next one." [Laughs.]

Question: What do you do on your day off? Is there anything special that you do for yourself to reenergize?
Colella: I try to get plenty of sleep. Like yesterday, I spent the entire day in Central Park, which I call my backyard because I live pretty close. If it's nice outside, you will find me doing some yoga in Sheep Meadow. I'm there a lot of the time.

[The Barrymore Theatre is located at 243 W. 47th Street. Tickets, which range in price from $66.50 to $135.50, can be purchased through Telecharge or by calling (212) 239-6200. Visit ChaplinBroadway.com.]

Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching! E-mail questions or comments to agans@playbill.com.