Monday, December 22, 2014

PHX STAGES Q/A with Trisha Hart Ditsworth

Trisha Hart Ditsworth has quickly established herself as one of the top female musical theatre stars in Phoenix in a relatively short time period.  Currently staring as Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins at Phoenix Theatre, in just the past 16 months, Ditsworth also appeared in Phoenix Theatre's Memphis and Pippin (Catherine) as well as The Secret Garden (Martha), Hairspray (Penny), Sound of Music (Maria) and The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Pickles) at Arizona Broadway Theatre. She also appeared in several other shows in town before then as well as in numerous regional productions. She has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Arizona and has lived and worked out of both New York and Chicago but now calls Phoenix her home.

Name: Trisha Hart Ditsworth

Where you were born and or raised: I was born in Bellevue, Washington. My family moved to Mesa, AZ when I was 4 years old so I consider Arizona home.

What made you decide to return to Arizona? I made the decision to return to be close to my parents. Living out of a suitcase booking work out of New York and Chicago didn't allow me to spend much time with my family.

Siblings: Two brothers. I'm the middle child.

On a "Jolly Holiday" with Toby Yatso in Mary Poppins, Phoenix Theatre, 2014
(photo courtesy Erin Evangeline Photography / Phoenix Theatre)

"Heading the cast are Trisha Hart Ditsworth as a warmly human but sternly disciplinarian Mary Poppins and Toby Yatso as the crafty chimney sweep Bert.  While the pairing of Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in the film couldn’t have been better, Ditsworth’s glisteningly sharp willed Mary and Yatso’s athletically miraculous Bert, charm their way into audience hearts." - Chris Curcio's KBAQ review of Phoenix Theatre's Mary Poppins

Family/Children: No family of my own yet, however it is on my mind all of the time. I want to have children soon.

Day job/part time job: I am a full time actor and on my day off I teach private voice lessons at Prestige Music Academy. I also coach audition songs and monologues.
with John Dooley in The Sound of Music -
Arizona Broadway Theatre 2013 (photo: ABT) 
First show you ever saw: I'm not sure I remember my first stage show. But I remember at an early age I loved The Wizard of Oz, so much that I tied a string around my pound puppy and dragged it around the backyard singing.

The one performance you attended that you will never forget:  Porgy and Bess with Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis. It was perfection.

Best stage experience you’ve had so far: That's a really tough one. I'm going to have to say playing Fanny Brice in Funny Girl at Bucks County Playhouse. The role is all-encompassing. Playing a character that changes so much through the show is really rewarding, and I adore the music.

What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of your current/ most recent show?  At the moment I am playing Mary Poppins at Phoenix Theatre, which now runs until Jan. 4th. I am so thankful to be playing this amazing role. Flying in with my umbrella and carpet bag into the first scene is such a thrill. I also love singing "Jolly Holiday" and dancing in that number. It is such a classic style, and I love using my legit soprano voice. Singing a high C in "Brimstone and Treacle" is so invigorating! 

Clips from Mary Poppins at Phoenix Theatre through January 4th:

Most challenging role you have played onstage: Percy in The Spitfire Grill. The character is so different from me physically that it was a challenge to get that into my body. She is a total tomboy and extremely closed-off emotionally at the beginning of the show. Two things that are polar opposite of my own personality. My director, Brad Carroll kept telling me that I was too graceful. By the time we opened I felt great about the physical life we had created for the role. 

The Spitfire Grill - Phoenix Theatre - Video clips:

Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about? I'm doing a show called Doo-Wop Divas this January with Lonely Street Productions. We perform all over Arizona, but have two shows in Mesa at The Palms Jan 20 and Jan 27. It's a revue show with 4 female vocalists, lots of harmony and fun 50's 60's music. After that I will be playing the role of Hope in Phoenix Theatre's production of Anything Goes running this coming March. 

Leading role you've been dying to play: Violet in the musical Violet.

with Antonio Tillman in Hairspray,
Arizona Broadway Theatre 2013
(photo: ABT)
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:   When I was working as a singer on my first cruise ship contract I had a really fast quick change that involved a beautiful white sequin top hat that had a chin strap. As I was trying to make my entrance back onstage to sing my solo, the strap attached itself to a hook directly off of the wing. So I was literally thrown backwards being held by my chin strap while singing "I left a big job in the city..." my cast and I laughed about it for weeks.  

"Trisha Hart the dim light-bulb, and Tracy’s best friend, Penny Pingleton...makes the character so much fun you might find yourself wondering what a Penny Pingleton spinoff might be like, with Trisha in the lead!" David Appleford,  99.9 KEZ- review of Hairspray at Arizona Broadway Theatre

If you could go back in time and catch any performer or show, what would they/it be? Judy Garland in anything.

Your personal acting idols:   Audra McDonald, Victoria Clark, Barbra Streisand, and Julie Andrews. 

Favorite play: You Can't Take it With You
Favorite musical(s):  In The Heights, The Light in The Piazza, Violet, Bridges of Madison County, A Little Night Music, this list could get really long so I'll stop now.

with Madeline Alfano in The Secret Garden,
Arizona Broadway Theatre 2014
(Photo: Mike Benedetto  ABT)
Favorite showtunes of all time: "Try to Remember" from The Fantasticks, and Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is The Ocean".

Most listened song/music on your iPod/Phone? The album Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes. 

First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Sarah McLachlan's album Surfacing. Listened to that a million times.

Favorite restaurant in the Valley: Wild Thaiger 

"Trisha Hart Ditsworth charms as Martha, the cheeky maid. Her voice soars and with it, our spirits, when she sings “Hold On,” encouraging Mary to finish what she’s started." Doris Nehrbass, review of The Secret Garden at Arizona Broadway Theatre.

Something about you that might surprise people: I'm actually kind of shy. I have a hard time being "Trisha" for public appearances and such. I much prefer to create a character and be that character onstage. I am much more nervous for interviews.

backstage as "Catherine" in 
Phoenix Theatre's Pippin, 2014
(photo courtesy of Trisha Hart Ditsworth)
"Trisha Hart Ditsworth as Catherine rises above them all in the supporting cast. As the young widow that Pippin meets who makes him realize the possibilities of a simple life, Ditsworth puts a hot jolt of electricity into the usually somewhat wooden second act. She is earthy and charming but also very funny and touching with a superb singing voice. Her two solo songs have such charm and depth to them that it really makes you see this show, Pippin's journey, and this woman he meets, in a whole new light." - Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway review of Pippin at Phoenix Theatre

Special skills: I can speak and sing like the mice on Cinderella, or Alvin and the Chipmunks. It's really dorky.   
As Pickles in The Great American Trailer Park 
Musical-Arizona Broadway Theatre, 2013 

Worst non-theatre job you've had: Selling microfiber cleaning products for commission only compensation. 

Best non-theatre job you've had: Hostess at a great Chicago restaurant managed by great people! Bistrot Zinc. Loved my co-workers and my boss.

Three things you can't live without: Hugs, music, my family.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Stay positive, always do your personal best and try not to compare yourself to others. All you can do is be the best you.

What you love most about theatre in Phoenix: The people! For the past four years I have called Phoenix home, and I've been lucky to work with some of it's best talent. I get to work with friends on more than one show and it brings me such joy. I cannot believe how much of a family this community is. So lucky!

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Architecture or interior design.

"Trisha Hart Ditsworth continues to broaden her range and charms as Maria...Trisha truly delights as the postulant nun who doesn’t fully realize that the monastic way of life might not be for her.  Trisha sings well, but as a performer, from her energy and that unstoppable ebullient nature she projects from her character, she instills a sense of infectious excitement at the mere idea of singing and making music." - David Appleford's review of The Sound of Music at Arizona Broadway Theatre

1 comment:

  1. Trisha has such amazing talent and once you see her in a piece it will make you want to watch it over and over again.
    Also wanting to see her in whatever role she is cast in, each one is a delightful experience. We can't wait for the next!!!