PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Porgy and Bess' Nikki Renee Daniels

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Porgy and Bess' Nikki Renee Daniels
Nikki Renee Daniels, currently appearing as Clara in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess on Broadway, fills out's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Nikki Renee Daniels
Nikki Renee Daniels

Daniels has been seen on Broadway in Les Miserablés; Nine; Aida; Little Shop of Horrors; The Look of Love; Promises, Promises; Anything Goes and Lestat.

Other theatre credits include Ray Charles Live! (Della B.) at Pasadena Playhouse, Anything Goes (Hope) at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Beauty and the Beast (Belle) at Sacramento Music Circus, Ragtime (Sarah) at North Shore Music Theatre and Dorian (Celia) at the Denver Center.

She has performed as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and at Carnegie Hall.

Full given name: Nikki Renee Daniels
Where you were born/where you were raised: Atlanta, Georgia
Zodiac Sign: I'm a true Capricorn.
What your parents did/do for a living: My mom teaches pre-schoolers, and my dad manages a meat packing company.
Siblings: One sister
Current audition song/monologue: Whatever they give me!
Special skills: If I had a LOT of time to practice, I could play the flute and the piano.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Drawing. I'm a terrible artist. Oh, and swimming. But I'm working on it!
First Broadway show you ever saw: Kiss of the Spider Woman with Chita Rivera and Brian Stokes Mitchell. It was legendary.
If you could go back in time and catch any performance, what would it be? I would love to catch the original Dreamgirls.
Current show you have been recommending to friends: Sleep No More
Favorite showtune of all time: "Home" from The Wiz
Some favorite modern musicals: The Light in the Piazza
Caroline, or Change
Some favorite classic musicals: West Side Story
Favorite contemporary plays: I’m a big fan of Stephen Adly Guirgis and Martin McDonagh
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: Mariah Carey in her heyday and Kathleen Battle
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: I saw The Normal Heart last year. I can't remember ever having a more visceral reaction to a play than that one. It blew me away.
Most played song on your iPod: Lately I've been obsessively listening to tracks from my upcoming solo CD!
Most-visited websites:,, and
Favorite Tweeters: @AudraEqualityMc, @TheOnion and @PorgyBessOnBway.


You can follow me @nikkireneesings grin

Last book you read: "The Grapes of Wrath"
Must-see TV show(s):

"Modern Family"
"Who Do You Think You Are?"
"The Daily Show" And I hate to admit it, but, "Dance Moms!"

Last good movie you saw: "Beginners"
Some films you consider classics: "The Color Purple"
"Twelve Angry Men"
"The Godfather"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: My husband, Jeff Kready grin
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Anything involving a "Real Housewife"
Favorite cities: New York, Paris and Venice
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Into The Woods!
When you first realized you could sing: Funnily enough, singing "Summertime" in my middle school music class
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Luisa in The Fantasticks and Ti Moune in Once on This Island
How you got your Equity card: I got it when I was 17, in the ensemble of Purlie in summer stock with Robert Guillaume and Melba Moore.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: I love the soup and salad at Thalia Kitchen- great food at a great price!
Favorite liquid refreshment: These days all I seem to drink is water and tea. As Adult Beverages go, I love margaritas!
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I do vocal warm-ups in the shower, and then again right before the show. I also try to stretch and do some ab work since we are on a raked stage.
Most vocally challenging role you have ever played: Aida in Aida. Luckily it was a short summer stock run.
Worst costume ever: I once played a soccer ball in a Christmas concert. That was a real low point...
Worst job ever: Luckily, I have never had a "survival job" so I will have to hearken back to the soccer ball for this one...
Favorite Gershwin tune from another show: "Someone to Watch Over Me"
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: I would love it if my Ray Charles show, Unchain My Heart, made it to Broadway!
Something about you that surprises people: I'm really shy. It's something I have to work against when I first meet people.
Something you are incredibly proud of: Getting to sing Clara in Porgy and Bess at the New York City Opera
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I still have terrible stage fright.
Career you would want if not a performer: I can't think of anything else that I'm remotely qualified for!
Three things you can't live without: Jeff Kready, music and performing
"I'll never understand why…" ... people aren't nicer to one another.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:

Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Know your type. That is half the battle. Knowing what parts you're right for, and what you need to work on as a performer will help you tremendously in this business. Also, before you audition, always read the whole script if it's available!

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