Songwriter Session: Chris Janson
Singer-songwriter Chris Janson will perform, offer insight into his creative process, and share stories behind songs from his new album, Everybody. Janson wrote his singles
The nine-time Tony award-winning musical, The Book of Mormon, has been a standout cheeky and boisterous Broadway go-to for more than five years. In 2014, the Mormon missionaries first introduced Nashville audiences to their misadventures, which take place in a remote Ugandan village, during a sold-out and record-breaking run at TPAC. The comedic revival returns for a limited-time engagement starting November 15 at Andrew Jackson Hall. We caught up with Belmont University alumna Candace Quarrels who stars in the principal role of Nabulungi.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
CQ: I always always always try to get to the theatre a bit early. I have a pretty strict pre-show regime. I steam for 10 minutes, warm up with a Liz Caplan voice lesson, and do a light yoga routine to warm my body up. From there, I really just socialize with the cast until curtain!
I always, without fail, go to Cody's room (my Elder Cunningham) and we chat or watch TV before we both hit the stage. And I always go visit the girls dressing room to hang out with the ladies before I get my wig on for the show. They are all like the big sisters I never had. We are a big village so just messing around with them helps a lot.
What is it about your role as Nabulungi, and this story that appeals to you?
CQ: Well this show is one of the greatest that has ever been created. As a musical theatre buff, that appealed to me from the get-go. The music is brilliant and the writing is flawless, I also find a lot of myself in Naba. We both live with our heads in the clouds sometimes and have so much love to give. I'm the baby of this cast just like Naba is in her village, so that's a really beautiful dynamic both on and off the stage.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
CQ: I think it's so special that this show allows people to just enjoy good (and a little crude) humor. I hope the audience just allows themselves to laugh. It's essential to allow yourself a couple hours a day to just let go and I hope our show allows those who come see it that opportunity.
How did your time at Belmont prepare you for where you are now?
CQ: Belmont was such a special time. I made some of my most lasting friendships and learned things about myself and my craft that I use daily. Mostly I learned to cherish where I am now and know how blessed I am to be here. I wouldn't be here now if I hadn't gone to Belmont.
Now that you’re back in Nashville, what are some of the things you’d like to do / things you've missed around town?
CQ: First thing I'm going to do is sit my bags down and take the cast to Hattie B's! I've been missing hot chicken, haha! I'm just excited to be in a place that is so near and dear to my heart and to share that with my cast mates. I plan on taking them to shop, eat, and dance as often as I can.