Roz White has theatrical bona fides galore: Dreamgirls (nationwide tour); Amen Nook (Shakespeare Theater); Seven Guitars (Enviornment Stage); Anne and Emmett (Metro Stage); and Black Pearl Sings (Alliance for New Music Theatre). The Howard College and Duke Ellington grad stars as Tina Turner’s mom, Zelma Bullock, within the smash nationwide touring musical ‘TINA – The Tina Turner Musical’ now taking part in at Nationwide Theatre. As a part of her latest interview, White shared a couple of gems and a bit of gossip from her expertise in that musical and others.
DCTA: How does a nationwide tour evaluate with doing a neighborhood present?
Roz White: I like being on the highway. You get to work with wonderful individuals. You need to keep in mind to work out and eat clear. When you find yourself in an enormous group of gifted individuals, all people is on high of their recreation. And it’s nice to see the nation once more differently. I’ve had stagehands acknowledge me from earlier excursions.
How did you land this function?
Tesey Company contacted me in December 2021. They requested a “self-tape” audition. Everyone calls it “tape” as of late. When you name it “tape” they know what you might be speaking about. [Soon after,] I signed with HCKR Company and went to a call-back audition in New York.
Going as much as New York Metropolis on a bus and sleeping on couches is one thing I did in my 20s. It was attention-grabbing doing that once more in my 50s.
What suggestions have you ever acquired about your function?
It’s an actual story and a mini-concert. We’re telling an intricate story. Earlier than I took on the function, I didn’t find out about Tina’s contentious relationship along with her mom. Many individuals have approached me in regards to the home violence within the play, saying they couldn’t think about going by way of that type of [turmoil]. I inform them, “I’m glad you by no means needed to take care of that.”
What did you be taught working with the 2 leads, Naomi Rodgers and Zurin Villanueva?
They each went to Howard. Naomi has wonderful vocal skill on stage. She’s a fireball. Zurin is in a sorority, The Diva Society at Howard College, of which I’m a member. I really pledged Zurin [into The Diva Society]. So it got here full circle for me to play her mother.
How does Tina evaluate to different nationwide touring reveals like Dreamgirls?
I’m happier on this present. In Dreamgirls, the relationships on stage turn into the relationships backstage; it occurs each time. One in every of my mentors, Jennifer Holliday, warned me about that.
I performed Effie, which was troublesome vocally. I used to be solely 27. This time round I’m smarter. I understand how to relaxation.
How did you put together for the home violence scenes within the present?
We’ve a struggle choreographer and we realized how to not injure ourselves. We’ve two forged members who’re struggle captains. I cried the primary week as a result of I grew up in a house with home violence. However after the coaching, I acquired me a imply proper cross! It grew me up as an actor.
How was the rehearsal expertise for you?
Being on this present was like being in an enormous rock band. The rehearsal course of was very magical. It was very properly organized and nobody’s time was wasted. We labored on choreography, appearing, after which music.
It was a five-week course of. We had two tech weeks as a result of we’ve two Tinas. With each present it appears like it isn’t going to work, but it surely all the time comes collectively. It’s the magic of the theater.
How did you want your costumes?
I just like the ’50s garments, and I like the best way they match me. I’m formed in another way than the earlier actresses within the function reminiscent of Dawnn Lewis, who’s taller than me. I had a number of costume fittings.
I learn that Tina’s mother smoked cigarettes, so I included a cigarette into my character. My mom and grandmother smoked cigarettes [I drew from that]. I requested the director, Phyllida Lloyd, if I may incorporate it and she or he mentioned sure.
What analysis did you do for the function?
I studied methods to not villainize the character. Zelma gave her daughter Tina the fallacious type of robust love. Zelma needed a greater life [she moved from Tennessee to St. Louis]. She didn’t know methods to increase Tina. On this present, Zelma has a voice.
Tina had one thing completely different inside her that Zelma didn’t perceive. They did have love for one another. The hospital scene, I actually linked with that as a result of I not too long ago misplaced my mother.
What recommendation would you give somebody who needs to carry out in a nationwide tour?
I might say focus in your well being and keep sturdy mentally and bodily. Keep in mind to remain hydrated. Keep organized and get sufficient sleep.
Get able to expertise new issues. You’ll make 20 new pals. These reveals are a examine in human habits. Discover your atmosphere.
Nationwide excursions require resilience, persistence, braveness, and self-discipline. Be ready and maintain on till your time comes at bat.
You taught a grasp class at your alma mater, Howard, yesterday. Speak about that.
I used to be on a panel for psychological well being; psychological well being providers at the moment are part of Howard’s Musical Theater and Appearing college.
I directed Spell Quantity 7 there in 2019 so it was a full-circle second. I’ve taught at Howard too, and I attended Duke Ellington College of Performing Arts within the late ’80s when the founders, Peggy Cooper Cafritz and Mike Malone, had been nonetheless there.
These college students at Howard requested most of the identical questions you’ve requested me. I informed these college students my acronym for the phrase “fail” is First Try at Studying.
Operating time: Two hours 45 minutes, together with a 15-minute intermission.
COVID Security: Masks are strongly really useful however not required for all ticketholders. Broadway at The Nationwide requests patrons and employees to remain dwelling if they’re feeling unwell to guard different patrons, forged, crew, and employees. See Nationwide Theatre’s COVID Security Plan right here.
‘TINA – The Tina Turner Musical’ on the Nationwide takes you to a rock live performance (overview by William Powell, October 8, 2022)