We all know Erica Bledsaw from the Broadway quality performances she has directed over the years for Kids Art Academy however outside of LCCC Erica Denise is a celebrity in her own right. She is locally known for her amazing singing voice and her Hollywood quality acting ability. Over the past few weeks Erica transformed into Effie White for her lead role in Dreamgirls at CenterStage.
For 10 shows Effie White captivated the audience. We at LCCC are fortunate enough to have exclusive access to Ms. Erica Denise and were able to interview her on her lead role as Effie White.
MB: How did it feel to play Effie White?
EB: Playing Effie White was a dream role. A lot of people say I am Effie White in real life (lol). I do not agree fully, but I do see some similarities between us as far as our perseverance and not being willing to back down and standing up for what we believe in. This role has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone & challenge myself vocally. The role gave me the opportunity to showcase my skills as an all around performer. It was truly an honor to play Effie White and I was inspired by great women who’ve played her in the past like Jennifer Holiday, Lillias White, Amber Riley and Jennifer Hudson. I went in knowing there were high expectations so I pulled a little bit from each actress I just mentioned and I was able to make the character my own. I hope I was able to do it justice.
MB: 10 shows, wow! What were some of your most rewarding moments? Challenging?
EB: The most rewarding moment was the camaraderie between the cast from beginning to end. I loved being able to see where we started and then finally seeing the magic we were able to present on stage at the end of the process.
The most challenging moment was the long hours spent rehearsing. Rehearsal took place sometimes 5 days a week and sometimes 6 hours a day over the course of 8 weeks. Another challenge was the dancing. I am not a dancer at all so having to learn choreography stretched me but by the time we opened the show I was ready. I’m just happy all of the dancing I had to do was during ACT I and was minimal compared to what the “Dreams” had to do by the time Effie was kicked out of the group in ACT 2. I got out of having to do the big dance numbers!
MB: What is your ultimate dream role and why?
EB: My dream role is to play Cinderella because it is the ultimate rags to riches story! Cinderella also has such a dynamic musical score that I absolutely love. It’s a story that reminds us that impossible things are happening everyday!
MB: What is up next for Erica Denise?
EB: My presence on stage is on hold at least until the Troupes at LCCC are finished with their next productions of Lion King Jr. and The Nutcracker. Shows for the Lion King Jr. and Nutcracker will take place in December.
In the mean time I am working on writing a musical about Old Walnut Street. Louisville has such a rich history and I want to shed light on the major players from the 1930s and 1940s who owned thriving businesses. It is my goal to wrap up work on the script by the end of 2020.