Interview with actress, Natalie Weiss

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.06.12 AMNatalie Weiss is a young, sweet, talented musical theatre performer.  She graduated from Penn State and has since left her mark both on the stage and screen.  Natalie has been on Broadway, toured across the country, was a
semi-finalist on American Idol and has an incredible social media following.  Before giving too much away, let’s dive into what makes Natalie tick.

The Playbill Collector (TPC): How did you decide on Penn State for your college education and what was
your favorite role you played there?

NW: I auditioned at a bunch of schools. Back then I had NO Idea what I was doing!  When I auditioned on campus at Penn State I loved how the current BFA students socialized with the auditonees. They made us feel so at home. I felt like I fit in there.  I really felt like the faculty appreciated my talent and thought I had potential! The whole “Big 10” school environment sold me too! I got the
opportunity to play Queenie in Lippa’s WILD PARTY my junior year!

TPC: The first National Tour you did was WICKED where you were in the ensemble and understudied Elphaba.  How often did you get to donne the green face and “defy gravity”?
NW: My experience with Wicked was very short and a-typical. Since one of the girls broke her foot, they needed a temporary replacement for her ensemble track just or ten weeks until she healed. Even though I was contracted as an Elphaba understudy, I never got the chance to rehearse or perform the role because by the time I learned my ensemble track, the injured girl had come back to start
Elphaba rehearsals. Alas…

TPC: What was it like to be part of a show (WICKED) that has been a fan favorite over the past decade?
NW: It was incredible to perform to sold out crowds every night. The audience was on their feet during bows every single night.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.17.09 AMTPC: You recently finished up a two and a half year tour with LES MISERABLES where you were swing.  What was your favorite role to go on for?
NW: I understudied the eight ensemble women. I’m not sure what my favorite role was.
There is such a broad selection: crazy whore, bloody whore, young whore, etc
HAHA

TPC: In 2010, you were an understudy in Sherie Rene Scott’s show EVERYDAY RAPTURE.  What was it like working alongside her, Lindsey Mendez and Betsy Wolfe?  (I might add, all four of you are dynamic and powerful women!)
NW: It was so awesome performing that show. I got to go on for Betsy for a whole week and Lindsey for one show. The Saturday night during the week I was on, I had 75 people in the audience. Sherie took time out during the bows and pointed to me to acknowledge I had family and friends there and that it was my Broadway debut. So selfless and awesome!! It was so awesome to be able to belt in tight harmonies and dance to old rock classics!

TPC: I’ve watched your videos “A New World” and “Spark of Creation” many times.  Since then your YouTube videos “Breaking Down the Riffs” have become a major hit.  How did you get started doing that?
NW: Well, the concept sort of started when a friend of mine kept saying she couldn’t get the Beyonce “Halo” riff. I started counting the notes and realized that it was a simple 7 note scale downward with skipping one note in the 8 note major scale. When I told her to count 1234 tilt her head on 5 and count 6 7, she said it totally worked!!  I was going to film one video with me “breaking down”
(the term was solidified after brainstorming a few catchy phrases) like 10 different riffs. A friend of mine suggested it might be better to film a few short videos with one riff in each. I asked a friend of mine to film it with his iPhone but when I realized he had a professional camera, we went with that.  It couldn’t be what it is today without my friends amazing editing skills!!!

TPC: You do impersonations of famous people such as Celine Dion, Britney Spears and Carolee Carmello.  Who is your favorite person to impersonate?
NW:I think my favorite is Carolee because it is SUCH a specific vibrato.  I have to move my hand a certain way to create the speed haha.

TPC: What is the best advice you could give a young person who is interested in musical theatre?
NW:  You should only enter into this business if you can’t see yourself doing anything else. It is REALLY tough. You have to have thick skin, good networking skills, start learning 10 instruments, and learn a million circus tricks (haha sort of not kidding).

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.19.01 AMTPC: Lately you have been teaching many workshops and are doing a concert in January at 54 Below.  Tell us a little bit about those.
NW: I absolutely love traveling to  different schools around the country. Having the kids look up to me truly makes me feel like I’m making a difference in people’s lives. I think the reason it affects me so much is because I didn’t grow up with siblings!  The students are like the younger siblings I never had! At my January 54 Below concert, I will be performing mostly pop tunes (with two
theater songs) with a five piece band. In addition, my two backup singers truly add an awesome sound.

TPC: What’s the next big thing for you?
NW: Currently I’m in Omaha rehearsing for their big Symphony Christmas Spectacular. I have a bunch of master classes scheduled out of town in the Spring.

TPC: You have an incredible Twitter following.  Would you say that is the best way for people to stay connected to you and follow what you are doing?
NW: Yes I mainly update people on what I’m doing through Twitter, Facebook, my website etc;)

 

To stay up to date with Natalie via social media, check out here sites:

Website: http://www.natalieweiss.net/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalie-Weiss/121009677912153

Twitter: https://twitter.com/natalie_weiss

 

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