PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Cinderella's "Lord Pinkleton," Phumzile Sojola

By Matthew Blank
12 Mar 2013

First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Something by Kool and the Gang
What are some of your most memorable roles as a kid or teenager and how old were you? My life as a performer began at 23. But, I would say the Honeyman in Porgy and Bess. That was such an amazing experience as a whole. I learned so much from that run.
First stage kiss: Outreach. 6 months. 2 shows a day. Me and the soprano. Hundreds of children grossed out in every school when we had to kiss every show. After this experience, I learned to focus.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: When I was at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, I took a music appreciation class. We were required to listen to this tape of musical selections from western music. In that tape was the duet from La Boheme sung by Placido Domingo and Montserrat Caballe.

I was so obsessed with this duet and I would not stop listening to it. I think that made quit studying criminal justice and go with performing.

How you got your Equity card: I was cast in Porgy and Bess on Broadway.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: I like chicken, green beans and plantains from Grinis on 143 and Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Water or Jamaican ginger beer
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I enjoy the foam roller and stretching. I have learned to appreciate a physical warm up since injuring myself so much on stage.
Most challenging role you have ever played: I will say Rodolfo in La Boheme. You are onstage just about the whole show. The third act is the most demanding vocally and requires stamina.
Craziest audition story: I was singing an audition and forgot that my cell phone was in my pocket. It rang as I was about to sing the toughest and highest part of the song. I sang that song well that day because I was singing and trying to turn my phone off at the same time. The casting person laughed and said that was a first. I got cast in the show.


Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: We were doing a Kurt Weill piece in Graz, Austria, and we didn't have any rehearsal with the lighting designer.

So in the middle of my solo I am on a table singing and a strobe light came on, flashing in front of my face. In that second, I forgot every word and everything from the song. I stood there silent, motionless. I came off the table and walked off stage without finishing the song. I think the Austrians thought it was really dramatic.

Worst job you ever had: I worked at UPS loading trucks from 12 midnight to 7 in the morning for three months.That was rough. The Christmas season was the most challenging. I have never seen that many boxes in my life.
If you could trade roles with anyone in the cast for a week, who would it be? I would trade with Cody Williams or Andy Mills. They are the animals that run around and tumble all over the stage. They are so good at it that it makes me want to do it as well. I'd probably break my leg if I tried all of that tumbling.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: Radames in Verdi's Aida
Something you are incredibly proud of: I am proud to a husband of such a wonderful lady, Andrea Jones-Sojola, and proud to be a daddy to Zanelanga.
Career you would want if not a performer: Pro tennis player or physical therapist
Three things you can't live without: Sports, my family and chocolate chip cookies
"I'll never understand why…" … there is Braille at a drive-thru ATM.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:

"Don't wait for things to be perfect, just go!"

—Fairy Godmother in Cinderella