I had the prestigious opportunity to chat with Krista Curry who plays Lily St. Regis in the national tour of Annie, which recently opened in September in Philadelphia. The ten month-long tour will run through June of next year. Rehearsals started in August in New York, with previews following shortly after that. The touring production, directed by Jenn Thompson, will hit major cities such as Las Vegas, San Diego, Cincinnati, Charletston, and Tampa,with some lesser-known stops along the way.
Spoiler alert: we’ve both played the role of Lily St. Regis, so revisiting one of my favorite roles in this production was a trip down memory lane.
With her roots in community theatre, Curry has been performing since the age of six with her father. She harnessed her passion and talent, studying and training extensively to take it to the next level, where she established a blossoming theatre career. Not her first time playing Lily St. Regis, the “floozie” con artist girlfriend of Rooster Hannigan, (or floozies,) Curry is reprising the role since her performance in college, this time playing her with more smarts and pizzaz as a fully fleshed out comedic character. As a child Curry was inspired and obsessed with Bernadette Peter’s interpretation of Lily and has wanted to play her ever since. She credits Broadway performers like Peters and Kristen Chenoweth as some of her biggest performance influences.
Once a casting director in college told Curry she could play “sexy,” bombshell women well, and she went for it. A self-described “exuberant mover,” the role fits her to a tee as she often plays character roles that are blonde, buxom, and possess high voices. In fact, playing sensual, voluptuous characters is Curry’s forte.
“You gotta get a gimmick,” she laughs. “I really love my box and being able to encapsulate that.” She knows her type well and what works for her. In this case high voices and a little cleavage. Curry can specialize in singing badly, but is classically trained with a voice that can soar into the stratosphere. Acknowledging that the theatre and entertainment industry can at times pigeonhole a musical theatre performer with its various stock characters and typecasting, she has been fortunate enough to branch out and even perform straight theatre, cutting her teeth on Shakespeare while performing the role of Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor. While some performers might prefer versatility in their craft Curry leans into playing an archetype- and thoroughly enjoys playing the daffy character of Lily St. Regis. She’s been seen in roles from Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain and Hedy LaRue in How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, to Chava in Fiddler On the Roof.
Curry describes landing the role of Lily as nothing short of “luck and a miracle.” Performing in a touring production takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and talent, and it’s no easy feat to perform on the road for the duration of nearly a year. Curry feels extremely lucky to have made it this far and to be living out one of favorite roles.
Other national tours she’s been a part of are PJ Mask, (Luna Girl,) while regional theatre credits such as the Arizona Theatre Company productions of Fiddler On the Roof, Palos Verdes Performing Arts The Three Musketeers, and Key City Public Theatre in The Merry Wives Of Windsor, are just some to name a few. When asked if she could play any role, Curry has a few at the top of her list. Dream roles include Glinda in Wicked, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors and Adelaide in Guys and Dolls.
Joining the national tour of Annie has been an exciting journey and once in a lifetime opportunity for Curry. Being on the road with kids is nothing short of fun as she tours with mini professionals who also know how to still be kids and let loose and have fun.
“ They turn a very mundane long travel day into a big game. They are making Tik Toks at the airport and having the time of their lives. It’s a real treat and they are fantastic.”
Going from city to city and getting a chance to perform at beautiful ornate historic theatres is also an honor for her.
“You can feel the history. It’s not intimidating per say but there’s something you feel, like you need to do it justice. There’s so many incredible people that have performed there and then you get to do it.” She reflects.
“There’s a beauty of the juxtaposition of the stage and the lobby, the velvet seats, and then the backstage, with the fly system and the ropes. There really is something special about it every single night,” Curry enthuses. “There’s nothing quite like it.” Sometimes the tour is in a city for a week and other times a performance is just for one night. Curry will be stationed in Omaha for a week, having an opportunity to experience the metro with the Annie cast.
With all the success and opportunities she’s landed, Curry stays grounded and thankful through the experience. She is grateful to be able to play a role that she grew up with that means so much to her.
Annie runs through November 13th at the Orpheum Theatre. Tickets on sale now!