BY CARY GINELL
In a week, Natalie Storrs leaves Ventura County to pursue her future in New York City. All of us wish her the best of luck and look forward to seeing her when she returns as part of another national tour. For now, we conclude our interview with Natalie as she sums up her experience touring with Sister Act.
VCOS: What’s the most important lesson you learned from your eight months with Sister Act?
NATALIE: I already knew this, but acting and doing theater is a very difficult lifestyle. It’s hard. Every time “they” say it’s hard, you have to be prepared for that. It’s very tiring, but I learned that I could do a show for that long, and that it’s worth it. It’s worth the exhaustion and not cooking your own food and not having a fridge. To be able to make a living doing this beautiful art form is such a blessing, no matter how difficult it gets.
This show in particular really blew me away because we really affected audiences in an amazing way. We never went without having a standing ovation. Not once in my whole time on the tour. I was lucky enough to be able to participate in Broadway Cares, where they collect money for Equity Fights AIDS over the holiday season. We did it at Christmas and then at Easter. So I went out and collected money right after the show, in my silver, sparkly habit. That’s when people would talk to me about the show. It just reinforced, for me, how important live theater is. There’s nothing like it. It affects people in positive ways, it changes opinions, it’s such a force for beauty and change in the world. And it made me realize that I want to continue doing this for a while. I wasn’t sure.
VCOS: Would you recommend this experience to anyone in the theater?
NATALIE: I think it’s an eye-opener because it encompasses both the best and the worst. You know – do I want to do this for a long period of time? Because the work of it comes into play. It’s not like “Oh, we have this show for two or three weeks and then we’re done!” It’s more of a job, which has its positives and its negatives. It’s nice to have security, as a musical theater actor, for a little while. That was something I wasn’t used to!
VCOS: If you had a chance to do another tour, number one, would you take it? And if you had a choice, what show would you like to do for a long period of time?
NATALIE: Oh, man, that’s hard, because near the end of the tour, I was telling myself, no, I’m not gonna tour again, at least for a little while. It’s physically exhausting. But after being home for a week-and-a-half, I’m starting to think – yeah, I’d go on tour again. But I’d have to love the show that I’m doing. I don’t think I’d be able to do a show that I didn’t really love for that long. If I could go out on Wicked, then I’d be set for life (laughs)! My happiness quota would be through the roof! That show really affects me as an audience member and I can’t even imagine what it would be like doing it.
VCOS: How about Les Mis?
NATALIE: Yes, oh yes. And pretty much anything Sondheim. I’m obsessed with him. Into the Woods is one of my favorite shows; I would love to do that one.
VCOS: So getting back to that quote that we started the interview with: “A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds,” do you have to have a certain attitude to persist in all of this?
NATALIE: Absolutely. Absolutely. I was a little nervous before going out on tour because you are stuck with the people you are with. And you live and breathe and eat and work with these people, seven days a week. There’s no break. So I was nervous and was thinking, what if there are mean people or what if I don’t make any great friends? But I found, for my personal experience, reputation goes a long way. And if you’re not a nice person, people won’t want to work with you. And if you’re not a hard worker, people won’t want to work with you. Once you do a show, these people you are working with – directors, stage managers, music directors – are at that level for a reason. They’re going to continue to work. So you can’t have an attitude or be a mean person and expect to get hired again. The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of talented people in this world and everyone is replaceable. As great as you are, there’s always someone else waiting in line.