PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Star Phillipa Soo
By Matthew Blank
July 30, 2013
Phillipa Soo, who stars as Natasha in the immersive Richard Rodgers Award-winning Musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Her performance earned the Juilliard graduate a 2013 Drama League Award nomination.
Full given name:
Where you were born/where you were raised:
I make a really great risotto, and will knock your socks off with my chocolate chip scones.
Something you're REALLY bad at:
Playing basketball. I was on the team in fifth grade for maybe three days.
First Broadway show you ever saw:
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be?
The first time Carlo Goldoni's Servant of Two Masters was performed
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
Ivo Van Hove's Hedda Gabler by Toneelgroep Amsterdam. It was incredible.
You personal acting idols:
I grew up going into Chicago and seeing a lot of theatre because of my mom. I have been seeing shows at Steppenwolf since I was ten.
My mother's good friend Yasen Peyankov is a company member there. They worked together at European Repertory Company in Chicago. We would always go to see his shows. Little did I know I grew up watching some of the best theatre in America.
MAC or PC?
Most played song on your iPod:
Regina Spektor's "Ne me quitte pas"
smittenkitchen.com, joythebaker.com. I love food!
Last book you read:
"Home" the Julie Andrews autobiography
Must-see TV show(s):
"House of Cards." The writing is amazing.
Some films you consider classics:
"The Apartment," "Citizen Kane," Charlie Chaplin's films, and of course, "Clueless"
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
James Thieree. I saw his show at BAM a few years ago and was utterly captivated by his stage pictures and storytelling
Three favorite cities:
Aside from NYC: Santa Fe, Amsterdam, Chicago
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
One of my first ballet recitals when I was probably three or four. I had a terrible case of stage fright, so badly in fact that I refused to go onstage. The entire recital had happened and I got to sit in the holding room with the older girls in the pretty Swan Lake costumes.
The bows were coming and my teacher, Miss Lisa was her name, asked me if I could be brave enough to go onstage and bow with her next to me. I agreed, and after my entire class had taken their bows I scurried onstage next to Miss Lisa. She took her bow, then gestured to me, and I took my bow, the bow we had practiced every day at the end of class. Applause!
For some reason I never had trouble going onstage after that, and grew to love it more and more.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where)
Chelsea Market is right by our tent. I love to go there and splurge on some tasty treats.
Favorite liquid refreshment:
Coffee with soy milk and honey
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
I have to brush my teeth. We get so close to people I don't want them to know what I had for lunch.
What drew you to this project?
The people involved. I love the theatre because I love working with people. Good people, good storytelling, magic.
Biggest challenge about this current project:
Stamina. Our show is nearly three hours sung through. We are constantly moving around the space up and down stairs, turning on a dime.
What has been most fun or fulfilling aspect?
I am so grateful to be surrounded by such talented and interesting people. A lot of people in the cast and band write their own music.
I have gotten to see amazing music manifest before my eyes. And because most of us play instruments, we also like a good jam session every once and a while--my contribution of choice is an epic freestyle rap.
Leading lady role you've been dying to play:
Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Leading man role you'd like a shot at:
George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Maybe even both at the same time, now THAT would be exciting.
Three things you can't live without:
Family, Friends, Music
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
My dear friend Jordan Geiger keeps me real. He gave me this quote by Kahlil Gibran: "When you work, you fulfill a part of Earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born. And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life, and to love life through labour is to be intimate with life's inmost secret."