Happy Trails to Anastasia’s Zach Adkins!

On November 25th, 2018 at the Broadhurst Theatre, Anastasia bid farewell to their leading man, Zach Adkins. After being the Dmitry understudy, Zach took on the role of Dmitry full-time last March. His performance is amazing and without a doubt, he is a star on the rise.

I have had the privilege of meeting Zach numerous times at the Anastasia stagedoor and at Broadway Flea Market and it’s true: he is one of the kindest people on Broadway. As sad as I am to see him leave Anastasia, I can’t wait to see what is in store for him!

Happy trails, Zach!

Sending love and light,

JuJu

JuJu Jaworski
Talking with Shina Ann Morris: Performing in College, on Broadway, and in New Musicals!

Seven Broadway shows (with another one heading to NYC this upcoming Spring). Two out-of-town runs. A BFA from University of Michigan. Shina Ann Morris has the Broadway resume most performers dream of and is constantly onto her next project. I have gotten the privilege to see Shina perform in Anastasia on Broadway three times and the rumors are true: she is an absolute star! Shina is not only an amazing performer, but one of the kindest people I have ever met. Recently, I got to interview Shina about her life in college, on Broadway, and advice she would give to aspiring performers. Scroll below to read my interview with Shina!

When you were younger, did you always know you wanted to be a performer?

I think I did always know I wanted to be a performer. I specifically remember two moments where I felt this twinge like I should be doing this. I remember being about 2 or 3 and seeing The Nutcracker on TV for the first time. I told my mom, "I want to do that!" So she enrolled my sister and me in ballet & tap at a studio in our hometown. The other memory I have is my grandpa sitting with me as we watched ANNIE and MARY POPPINS. Those movie musicals really spoke to me as a little kid, and I've been dancing ever since.

I did have a lull (as lots of adolescents tend to do) around middle school where I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep dancing. That's when I found out my studio was joining up with the theatre in the same building, and they needed dancers to be in the cast. That's basically the moment I got the music theatre bug. Once I found out you could make a living in musical theatre, I think I kicked it into gear. I got my BFA at University of Michigan for Musical Theatre, moved to NYC after our Senior Showcase, and hit the ground running.

You just finished your out of town run of Tootsie: The Musical, what is it like getting to develop a show right from the beginning? What are you most looking forward to when it transfers to Broadway?

This is now my second out of town run (ANASTASIA being the first), and it's still a very surreal thing to me. I have wanted to be with a show from the ground floor my whole career. The thing is, I wasn't with these shows in their actual beginning stages; I wasn't a part of the readings or labs they worked on to get the show in the shape it was for us to go out of town. It's truly remarkable what a production goes through in order to get that far, and I applaud every single person in every single area of putting a show together.

I guess as far as being with a show out of town, you have the opportunity to see what works with audiences not in NYC, and there are so many dance steps, costumes, songs, lines, props that get cut or morph throughout that time. Some that totally make sense to say bye to, others, it's sad to see those steps or costumes go. But changes we make out of town are in the show's best interest, and hopefully the audiences in NYC agree with us!

I'm most looking forward to seeing how much more we grown once we transfer to Broadway. We of course have tons to continue to work on, so I'm very excited to just get back in the room with all those wonderful, fun-loving people and experiment and play!

Who was your biggest theatrical inspiration growing up?

Audra McDonald and Ann Reinking were my two biggest theatrical inspirations growing up. Obviously, since I was so obsessed with the 1982 movie musical; I would watch Ann Reinking dance "We Got Annie" over and over and over again. That then took me down the Fosse rabbit hole. Just her style and physicality were mesmerizing to me.

Audra captured me with her voice. RAGTIME is still one of my top 3 favorite musicals, and she can absolutely do no wrong in my eyes.

What’s the most important lesson you took away from your years at University of Michigan?

The most important lesson I took away from my years at U of M (and I wish I had realized it sooner), was to not let the teachers pigeon hole me into one label. I came to the program as dancer first, my singing and acting skills the ones that needed more work. But I was easily just always that. And I think I wasn't given the opportunity to work more at my "weaknesses", but I also could have pushed myself farther without help from the inside. I learned in hindsight, that I wasn't as great with time management as I thought I was. I was working to pay for living expenses 6am-10am, and then I had class until I had rehearsal. There was not really time for me to do outside productions that would have let me explore a bit more, and that was a hard lesson to learn.

I know now that it is MY responsibility, not the responsibility of my teachers, to push myself and prove that I am more.

You have an amazing Broadway resume! From West Side Story to Anything Goes to Nice Work If You Can Get It to Annie to Cinderella to Holiday Inn to Anastasia, you’ve been in some amazing shows. what has been your favorite show to be a part of?

I have had the luxury of loving the shows and the people in the show with every production I have been a part of! But if I had to pick, my two favorite shows to be a part of: WEST SIDE STORY and ANNIE.

WEST SIDE STORY is my favorite musical of all time, and to have had the chance to work with THE Arthur Laurents, and sing and dance that incredible choreography to that glorious music every night, was a dream. I was lucky enough to do that show for a year and a half, but I truly could have done that show for years.

I loved being a part of ANNIE because KIDS! DOGS! CHRISTMAS! What more do you need!!??! I did love (after I stopped being terrified) getting to stand on the stage and sing N.Y.C. staring out into the gigantic Palace Theatre house every night.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring performer looking to make it in the Broadway world, what would you say?

My advice would be to work hard. There will be some days you don't feel like putting in the work. There will be some days when you will think giving up would be easier. So many people say it, and it's true. This business is hard. But if you can't handle 100 NO's for every YES, then keep at it.

I would say don't limit yourself. Believe in yourself, because there are plenty of people that can doubt you, but you can always have yourself on your side.

Make sure to stay up to date with Shina by following her on social media!

Instagram: @shinamorris

Twitter: @shinamorris

Make sure to see Shina shine onstage in Tootsie on Broadway spring 2019! Previews begin March 29th at the Marquis Theatre.

Thank you so much to Shina for taking the time to answer my questions and thank you to all reading this post!

Sending love and light,

JuJu

JuJu Jaworski
Broadway Flea Market 2018: The Best Day of the Year!

Meeting Broadway actors, finding all kinds of Broadway memorabilia from playbills to props, and raising money for a good cause. What could be better?

On September 30th, I attended the 32nd annual Broadway Flea Market run by Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA). This was the second Broadway Flea Market I had attended and it was just as much fun as last year. I got to spend the day meeting and spending time with so many of my friends that I have connected with through Broadway — whether it was meeting them at stagedoor, through mutual friends, or interacting over social media. It made me so happy getting to walk through the streets of the Theatre District with some of my greatest friends, all celebrating our love for Broadway.

Some of my favorite moments from the day were: meeting Broadway actors (such as: Christy Altomare, Zach Adkins, Lyrica Woodruff, Kyle Selig, Taylor Louderman & her cute dog Charlie, Gianna Yanelli, Antonio Cipriano, Celia Gooding, and more! It was so nice to see some new faces and greet familiar ones), buying some amazing show memorabilia (I got some props from Anastasia and Mean Girls!), and hanging out with my friends going from table to table. Broadway Flea Market really is the best day of the year and only makes my love for the theatre and broadway community grow. My heart is truly so full of admiration for the Broadway community and the amazing BCEFA cause.

I have included some photos below of my day at Flea! Scroll down and click the carousel of photos to see all of them!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and that you get the chance to go to the next Broadway Flea Market!

Sending love and light,

JuJu

JuJu Jaworski
Broadway’s “Hot Stuff”: Summer, The Donna Summer Musical

Last dance, last chance for love. Yes, it's my last chance… for romance tonight…

On September 29th, I got the chance to see the spectacular Broadway show Summer: The Donna Summer Musical playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. The show was full of high energy and the cast was insanely talented. I was blown away by the incredible voices and performances given by the star-studded cast. I went in knowing a good amount of Donna Summer songs and walked out humming all of the songs while walking on the streets of the city. The energy in the theatre was infectious — I can’t even explain the pure joy I felt during the show. The show was not only fun and uplifting but emotionally moving and powerful as well.

I would highly recommend this show to anyone. Whether you walk into the theatre as a huge Donna Summer fan or not, you are guaranteed to walk out as a Summer fan. Don’t miss Summer: The Donna Summer Musical now on Broadway playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre!

Sending love and light,

JuJu

JuJu Jaworski
Talking With Abby DePhillips: Broadway, Producing, and Finding Her Passion

From huge Broadway fan to aspiring producer, Abby DePhillips is living every theatre kid’s Broadway dream. At the age of 22, she has already made a name for herself in the world of Broadway. She runs the company Gagged Chokers (along with Broadway ladies: Courtney Reed, LJ Wright, and Teale Dvornik), she’s apart of the team that hosts the famous Broadway-event Broadway Princess Party, and has even created a series of her own insanely popular 54 Below produced-shows Pronoun Showdown. I got the chance to talk to Abby and ask her about her life in pageants, in the Broadway world, producing, and advice for those looking to make their name known in the world of theatre. Here is my interview with Abby below!

Before realizing you wanted to be a producer, you were set on performing onstage and had been doing theatre from a young age. What initially drew you to theatre?

My mom! She was an actress up until I was born and then started directing at schools. So my earliest memories are all in theaters, which is just the best. I always knew that’s where I was going to stay.

Who is your current biggest theatrical inspiration (whether its onstage or off) and why?

Katie. Rose. Clarke. I’m staying with her and her beautiful baby girl in San Diego right now while she does The Heart of Rock and Roll, and she’s blowing my mind every single day. She gave birth literally three months ago and she is the BEST mom, and it’s so cool to watch her adjust while being in a show. It’s so amazing. And the show is SO GOOD, and she’s just unbelievable in it. And beyond both of those, she’s been the best friend to me while I work through some life stuff. It’s so inspiring to watch someone have so much care and love for so many different parts of their life that they prioritize it all. She’s a superhero.

You are a past Miss America winner, what is one valuable lesson that you have learned from your years in pageants that has helped you in real-life situations?

Ahh yes! I was Miss Teen United States 2014 and it was the coolest thing I’ve ever done. I think the best lesson I learned was that it’s okay to own your excellence. In my last year, I was competing with girls from all over the world who were just AWESOME. No one was downplaying their strengths, they just owned it. I think oftentimes we self deprecate or belittle, but being surrounded by fierce women who were proud of their strengths in such a humble and genuine way was so inspiring.

How vital do you think social media has become when it comes to connecting fans to the Broadway world?

Social media has changed the game! I love that those in the public eye can choose for themselves how much they want to share. If they want to let us into their dressing rooms every single show for an Instalive, they can do that. If they want to give us the occasional post or update, they can do that too. And obviously outlets like BroadwayWorld or Playbill or http://Broadway.com keep fans SO in the loop which is incredible.

What advice would you give to young adults who want to be producers or even part of the Broadway world in their future careers?

Get involved any chance you get! Ask to help out! Ask if someone needs a summer intern! Volunteer and work your booty off, and jobs will come. I promise!

Make sure to stay up to date with Abby by following her on social media!

Instagram: @abbydephilips

Twitter: @AbbyDePhillips

Get tickets to upcoming Pronoun Showdown shows at 54below.com!

Upcoming shows are December 2nd, February 18th, and April 14th!

Thank you so much to Abby for taking the time to answer my questions and thank you to all reading this post!

Sending love and light,

JuJu

JuJu Jaworski