DIVA TALK: Paige Faure Discusses Her Journey to Cinderella, How to Succeed Leading Men and More

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Paige Faure
Paige Faure

Paige Faure
Paige Faure, the up-and-coming singing actress who made her Broadway debut in the Daniel Radcliffe revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, has a long history with the Broadway debut of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. The Kentucky native, who is married to fellow actor Adam Monley, was asked by 2013 Drama Desk nominee Josh Rhodes to play Cinderella in his audition to become the show's choreographer (he got the job). Flash-forward a couple years, and Faure is now starring in the title role of the Tony-nominated musical at The Broadway Theatre, and in October she will launch the national tour of the production in Rhode Island. I recently had the chance to chat with the talented artist, who spoke about her Broadway debut, her current gig and her other roles as wife and mom. That interview follows.

Question: Since we've never spoken before, let's go back a bit. Where were you born and raised?
Paige Faure: I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but raised in Atlanta, Georgia.

Question: When did you start performing?
Paige Faure: My earliest memory is dancing. I grew up dancing, mostly. I was one of those competition dancers for many years. But then my last year of middle school I joined the chorus and did my first musical, which was, as cheesy as this sounds, Cinderella. [Laughs.]

Question: What character did you play?
Paige Faure: I was the Fairy Godmother.

Question: Were there any performers that you admired while you were growing up?
Paige Faure: Most of the dancers that I aspired to be like were the ones that I was surrounded by. One of my dance teachers growing up, Marin Mills, was one of the coolest people I knew. She was so outgoing and such a free and fun dancer, very creative. She would wear blue wings and cheetah hot pants and dance. She was just the coolest person, and I always wanted to be as free and exciting as she was. Of course, I grew up with the classics, Julie Andrews. I always had them in the back of mind, too. I kind of soaked up whomever I could. Question: When did performing change from being a hobby to when you knew it would be a career? Was there any production or specific moment?
Paige Faure: I don’t know that I ever had a specific moment; I’ve always just kind of known that performing was a part of me and was something that was very important to me and very fulfilling. Probably the moments that I realized that I could make my art my work as well was anytime I saw the Atlanta Ballet or when a touring company would come through. One of my first dance solos growing up was dancing to “Someone Like You” from Jekyll and Hyde. And then I remember seeing Jekyll and Hyde, and I remember being blown away by the all-encompassing effect of the theatre. So I’d say that maybe that’s the closest moment. But it’s always been a part of me to create and perform.

Question: Moving forward a few years, when did you get to New York?
Paige Faure: I got to New York when I was 18. I graduated from high school and moved up here to go to Marymount Manhattan College, which was great for the year I was there. [Laughs.] But, of course, I was hungry and started auditioning while I was there and booked the national tour of Aida pretty soon after starting, and I left after my first year at Marymount to start my career.

Faure in Cinderella
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Question: Your first Broadway production was How to Succeed…
Paige Faure: Yes.

Question: Do you remember your first night on Broadway and how that lived up to or was different from what you thought Broadway would be like?
Paige Faure: I mean, it was so much what I thought it would be and more. To be able to make your Broadway debut alongside somebody like Daniel Radcliffe — I never really thought that would happen! But it was such a gift, and the whole cast was all such a gift. We were pretty tight-knit pretty early on, especially the girls in that ensemble dressing room; we all just clicked really well. It was definitely a family, and that was the moment that I realized that this whole Broadway community was a community. That it was not just a show, but these were the people that you were going to share your life with in a lot of ways. It was just a really beautiful experience – that whole show.

Question: Did you stay with that show throughout the whole run?
Paige Faure: Yes, I was there for the whole run. I briefly took over for Hedy La Rue while Tammy Blanchard went to film a movie. So it also gave me my first principal assignment, even if only for a short time. It was just a gift. I don’t know what else to call it. It really was.

Question: What was it like getting to work with the different lead guys?
Paige Faure: It was great. You know, all three of them had such a different energy, and it was really fun to work with and it was really exciting to see what they brought to the table. Obviously, Daniel Radcliffe was so thrilling to work with because he is so about the work and he really, you know, gave it his all and was such a nice person.… Darren Criss was just a complete sweetheart and was so willing and able to do it all. And, of course, brought a crazy amount of fans to our show. [Laughs.] I’ve never seen anything like our stage door with Darren Criss in our show. And Nick Jonas, too, he was a little younger than the other two, but brought his youthful energy to the show, and it was a privilege to perform with all three of them.

Faure with Victoria Clark in Cinderella
photo by Carol Rosegg

Question: Tell me, how did Cinderella come about?
Paige Faure: Cinderella and I have had a long-standing relationship. [Laughs.] My first touching of that material was when Josh Rhodes asked me to play Cinderella for his audition to become the choreographer for Cinderella. There were three people vying to be the choreographer, and he was one of them, and he had to put together a couple pieces from the show and present them to the producers and the director. So I played Cinderella for his audition. He got it, obviously. [Laughs.] He, then, a few months later, had to put together a dance workshop putting together all the dances from the show, and I played Cinderella for that dance workshop as well. And the producers and directors liked me, so they kept me around for the actual full-length workshop where Laura Osnes was playing Cinderella and I was her understudy. And it was at that time that I found out that I was pregnant, so I wasn’t able to open the show on Broadway with the company. But, I was brought in later to replace someone in the ensemble for a while. And then I was in Bullets Over Broadway when I got called and said that they were interested in having me for the tour and for Broadway this summer. I came in and met the producers and director and kind of went through the material a couple times, and then the rest is history. It’s kind of crazy. I never actually auditioned for this show. Yet, here I am! [Laughs.]

Question: What’s it like being the leading lady of a big Broadway musical?
Paige Faure: It’s been great. You know, like I said, I’ve had such a long-standing relationship with the show, so it has never felt like this overwhelming undertaking or anything. It’s always felt like home to me, and so it’s been just joyous. The company has been so supportive of me these past couple of months, and I immediately was in double-duty with Bullets while starting rehearsal for this, so it could have been too much, but it really felt so easy transitioning into it. And, while I wouldn't say the part is easy – I’m running and singing as hard as I’ve ever sung and dancing like crazy, and she’s a deep and meaningful character with a very large character arc with this big journey — but it is so fulfilling to play her and to get to be this inspiration for little girls, and big girls! I find that she’s really touched every kind of person with the emotional journey she goes through in the show, so I just feel really blessed to be able to be that for people.

Faure and Joe Carroll
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Question: Do you have a favorite moment in the show for her?
Paige Faure: You know, my favorite moment, I love doing “The Waltz.” I have to say that doing Josh’s choreography and seeing how it transformed over the years is really thrilling. But one of my favorite parts of the show is the song “He Was Tall.” Because it’s right after she’s been at the ball and she’s been through this pursuit where they’re trying to find her and she’s just transformed back into her peasant outfit, so she’s back home and she’s just reeling over what this experience was. It's her “Oh my God, that just happened” moment. And there’s something so reflective and exciting about recreating the memories of that night. I get to just sing this beautiful song on almost a bare stage, and it’s kind of one of those moments where I’m like, “This is happening!” So I feel very at-one with Ella at that moment.

Question: What’s it like getting to experience those costume changes? They're one of the highlights of the show.
Paige Faure: I’ve been kind of talking about this with several people. It’s so neat in this age where Broadway is becoming more and more exciting in a lot of ways with the pyrotechnics and the LED screens and all of the technological advances that we’re able to make. But it’s thrilling that [the costume] transformations are all mechanical. It’s snaps and buttons and just me and my dresser making it happen. And, it’s just as magical. I think there’s something really special about that — that we can be in awe of man-made magic.

Question: When will you be in the Broadway production through?
Paige Faure: I’ll be in the Broadway production until September 7th.

Question: And, when does the tour launch?
Paige Faure: The tour launches in Providence, Rhode Island, on October 13.

Question: What are your thoughts on touring? You mentioned that you did the Aida tour…
Paige Faure: I actually ended up being on tour for four years with four different shows, so I know what this gig is. [Laughs.] I think every actor should go on tour at some point in their career. It is the best way to see the country and experience different kinds of audiences with the same show. It’s very interesting. Obviously, it will be different for me this time because I have a one-and-a-half year old who will be traveling around with me. And my husband is in Les Miz, so we’re gonna be doing a lot of hopping back and forth. But I think this is definitely a show that I’m excited for the country to see, and I think it just speaks to so many different people on so many different levels. I think that it’s going to be very well received.

Question: Tell me about combining parenthood with doing eight shows a week. Your husband's also an actor.
Paige Faure: Yeah, my husband is playing Javert for the next couple weeks. It really is a balancing act. My most important job is being a wife to him and a mother to my son, Hank. And so no matter how many shows I have a week or how many interviews I have during the week, I still have to wake up at 7:30 when Hank wakes up and so I have to prioritize that. It means not going out after the show and not doing too many extracurricular things, really, picking and choosing what’s important because it is most important to me to make sure that Hank is being raised right and that we have enough time and energy to go to the zoo and go to the park and all of that. But I'm making sure to take a lot of pictures because it certainly is really exciting for both of our careers, and I hope that Hank can also look back on it and see how cool it was to be a part of it, even though he's not going to remember it. But he has now officially learned that when I walk out the door I say, "Mommy has to go to work!" And he says, "Broadway!" [Laughs.] So he kind of gets it.

Visit CinderellaOnBroadway.com.

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Diva Talk runs every other week on Playbill.com. Senior editor Andrew Gans also pens the weekly columns Their Favorite Things and Stage Views.