Here, via email, we hear from singing actress Alysha Umphress, who plays Cee Cee Bloom in the Signature Theatre's world premiere of the new musical Beaches.
What show recently impressed you?
Fun Home at Public Theater was the last show I really loved. The score was gorgeous, and the story was sad and touching and funny and beautiful. I ran into the little girl who plays Young Alison in an elevator at Pearl Studios and basically compliment-assaulted her all the way down to the lobby where I'm sure she was thankful to finally lose me. Sweet girl. Anyway, I hope it has another life beyond that run because it's a real special piece of theatre.
What production are you most excited to see?
I'm really excited to see Rocky. Alex Timbers is always doing new and exciting things with every project he takes on, and Steven Hoggett is an innovative bad ass. Plus Ahrens and Flaherty?! The team that brought us Once on This Island (one of my all-time faves) writing the score?! Woo! I'm so interested to see how they tell that story on a Broadway stage.
What play/musical would you most like to revive on Broadway, and which role would you want to play?
I would die to see The Life revived on Broadway, and I would kill to play Sonja. (Color-blind casting)???? To play a worn-out hooker is a childhood dream of mine. And, on the opposite side of the spectrum, Once Upon a Mattress has always held a special place in my steely cold musical-theatre loving heart. It's light and fun and silly. To play Princess Winnifred would be sofaking fun.
My current project is playing Cee Cee Bloom in the musical adaptation of Beaches at the Signature Theatre! I grew up watching this movie and had it practically memorized so to have the opportunity to play this iconic role is so surreal. I feel SOY BLESSED. I play opposite Mara Davi, and let me just say that she is perfection in this role. I really lucked out getting to share this journey with her. We run until March 30, so come on down to D.C.! Right before Beaches started, I played "Hildy" in the pre-Broadway workshop of On the Town. So that's planning on coming in very soon! I do love that sex-crazed Brooklyn-bred taxi drivin' woman, so I'm very much looking forward to that beautiful Barrington Stage production getting another life in NYC!!!