CHICAGO — the #1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history — will appear at Detroit’s Fisher Theatre, October 16-21, starring native Detroiter Jennifer Fouche as “Mama Morton.” Jennifer chopped it up with City.Life.Style ahead of her hometown performance.
City.Life.Style: How did the role for “Mama Morton” come about and how did you prepare for it?
Jennifer Fouché: “I’ve wanted to play this role for a very long time, and oddly enough, I hadn’t ever been in for it, prior to this. So, although it was a huge deal for me, the process itself was pretty typical. I was called in to audition by the casting director and was thrilled to be seen because often, at this level, casting directors call in the people they already know and have worked with in the past. In my case, one of the casting directors, Christine McKenna, suggested me in a staff meeting and they called me in on her recommendation. I got the appointment to come in, and I auditioned for Duncan Stewart, who has been casting for the Broadway show in New York and the Broadway tours for over ten years, and he told me I had a callback. After going in for the callback and auditioning for the production team, my agent called to tell me I had booked the role. I actually screamed out loud.
The first thing I did to prepare for the role was to research the period in which the show is set. Mama Morton is a product of her surroundings as well as her personal experiences. So, understanding the world around her, helped me to understand how she functions in that world. Also, my mother is a retired Alaska State Trooper, and my father is a retired Detroit Police Officer, so I had those examples to draw from, as well.”
CLS: How does it feel to return to your hometown of Detroit to perform in Chicago?
Fouché: I’m almost beyond words when I think of what it means to me to perform in a Broadway show, in my hometown, where my dream of being on Broadway began. It’s incredibly special because Mama Morton is one of my dream roles. So, I’m feeling like I hit the lottery.
CLS: What can the audience expect with your performance and the show in general?
Fouché: That’s always a tough question to answer because as actors, we don’t see ourselves but I can say that they are definitely going to get a performance that is one hundred percent me. This is very much my own vision of who Mama Morton is, and I think people can certainly expect to have a good time because we’re having a ball on stage! The show itself is sleek and pure Fosse, and the cast is amazingly talented. We all love this story and these characters, and we all truly love what we do, so we’re giving the audience everything… every time we step out on stage. That’s what great storytelling and great theatre are all about and ultimately, that’s what people can expect. Great theatre.
Growing up on the west side of Detroit, Fouche, says the city’s history is a part of her. “The city’s history has always been an important part of who I am; from the music of Motown to the birth of the car industry. I love my city and am immensely proud of my hometown.”
For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.BroadwayInDetroit.com