Chris Isaacson Presents has announced a one-night-only concert event at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre on Saturday, August 16 at 8pm. Broadway Under the Stars will star Tony Award-winner Jennifer Holliday (Dreamgirls) and will also feature (in alphabetical order) Obba Babatunde (Dreamgirls), Erich Bergen (Jersey Boys, stage and film), Rogelio Douglas, Jr. (In the Heights), Danny Gurwin (Little Women) and Tony Award-nominee Chad Kimball (Memphis). David Galligan will direct, and the music director is Gerald Sternbach.
Chad Kimball sat down to talk about his appearance in Broadway Under the Stars and about his Tony-nominated role in Memphis among other career tidbits.
Chad Kimball is a 2010 Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award nominee for his role in Memphis. Other Broadway credits include Lennon, Into the Woods (2002 revival), The Civil War, and Good Vibrations. (www.chadkimball.com)
What are you performing in the upcoming show?
I'm singing a set of my own stuff from Memphis and some other songs that have been pretty influential in my career, like "Memphis Lives in Me" and a couple of pieces that kind of connote Broadway like "Giants in the Sky", and the old standard "You'll Never Walk Alone".
Sounds great! Have you been rehearsing?
I'm still in New York and have been rehearsing on my own, but when I get to LA in August, we intend to go fast and furious. They're pretty on top of it, so I'm following directions.
You're working with some great people. Have you ever worked with Jennifer Holliday before?
I have not. I'm really excited about it.
I read that you had some health problems that cut into your work in Memphis. Do you care to talk about that?
I was doing this rigorous role, very physically demanding onstage...the entire show pretty much. I think I had 10 minutes off stage but that was interspersed throughout the evening. It was just so physically demanding, I actually was diagnosed with nerve damage, which put me out of commission. But I kind of soldiered on and I'm still trying to put the pieces back together. When you have something that you feel is yours and you have a sense of ownership, you pursue the pain.
Is this a permanent condition?
Yes, but nothing that I can't surmount.
What is another role that you've really enjoyed playing?
I have to say that playing Milky Way the cow in Into the Woods with Vanessa Williams was a huge treat.
Maybe because it was written by James LaPine and was closely watched by Stephen Sondheim. All the people who brought it together in the first place were on board and they just wanted this cow that was a puppet...I was actually hired as a standby for Jack and Rapunzel's Prince. Kind of at the last minute, the person that they had cast was Kate Reinders as Milky Way. She was having a lot of problems with it physically...an incredibly intricate and demanding costume...and so James pulled me aside and asked me if I could try it. Of course, I was on the side lines for three months, so I said, "Absolutely!" And I got into it, and it's just one of those marriages...
But you didn't have a solo or anything...
No, there was no talking whatsoever. It was a huge jump into physical comedy, a real treat for me to be able to do and a treat for the audience as well.
What is your favorite musical of all time?
Sweeney Todd. In college I played Tobias and then I played Anthony at the Signature Theatre in Arlington opposite Norm Lewis' Sweeney Todd. Who knew that you could do horror in musical theatre? It's amazing!
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Broadway Under the Stars is at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Boulevard East, in Hollywood, for one performance only on Saturday, August 16 at 8pm. Tickets are $40, $55, and $95; for students and children, tickets are $20. VIP packages are available (includes premium seating and a post-show reception with the artists). Purchase by August 2 and save $5! Discount tickets are available at FordTheatres.org or by calling 323-461-3673. To learn about discounts for groups of eight or more, call 323-769-2147.
A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit The Actors Fund, a national human services organization that helps everyone — performers and those behind the scenes — who works in performing arts and entertainment, serving more than 17,000 people annually. Programs include social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and employment and training services. www.actorsfund.org.