photo credit: Dirty Sugar Photography

Tony award winning actress LaChanze is ready to share her story with the world. After a busy career with roles on both film and stage, she is going on tour with her new album “Feeling Good.” We chatted with her about finding inspiration and what it takes to be successful on Broadway.

When did you know that you wanted to be a performer?
Oh, God. I must have been six years old. I started way back when. I was dancing and performing as a child all up and down the West Coast. It was actually the only thing I could do. I am a natural performer. I just always have been doing it.

What’s the first musical you saw?
Chicago. I believe I saw it on Broadway. Starring Graciela Daniele. She was not starring, but she was in it and subsequently later on she became the director of Once On This Island, my first lead on Broadway.

You won the Tony Award for The Color Purple, so how did you feel going to see the recent revival and then watching Cynthia Erivo win a Tony for the same role as you?
You know, I had mixed feelings because I felt like I was still so connected to my production that I couldn’t even imagine there being another production, but after I saw it and I saw it what the new actors and actresses were bringing to the role, I was completely appreciative of what they were doing and so happy that it had another life.

How did winning a Tony Award affect your career?
It’s been interesting. You know, winning the Tony has given me a title which is kind of cool, “Tony Award winner.” Especially for a lead actress, that was really special. It put me in a circle of performers that I have always admired and it’s actually been really nice to have that kind of admiration and support. In terms of my career and what I have been doing – I am still a working actor. I am still out here trying to find the right parts and take the right roles and do what’s best for my future. So it’s nice to have but it doesn’t define me.

Question from a Facebook follower: What was like it working with Idina Menzel and the rest of the cast of If/Then?
Oh, Idina is fantastic to work with on stage. She is such a professional. She is such a hard worker, she is relentless about work. She takes it with her everywhere. I don’t know where she gets the energy, but backstage she is so silly and funny, and we became really good friends. She is really just a lot of fun. She is very silly and she can be also very vulnerable at times, which is why I think her work is so touching to many people because she is really raw and open on stage and that’s nice to share up there. And the rest of the cast, we are one of the closest casts I have ever worked with. I am still really good friends with everybody in the show. So I miss those people. We were together for a long time. I miss all of them.

photo credit: Dirty Sugar Photography

What inspired the music for your new albu