Danielle Lee Greaves RSC ’88 talks about her current role in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, The Broadway Musical and shares insights about life as an actor.
HOMETOWN: New York, NY
MAJOR: BA in Visual and Performing Arts
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE THEATER/ACTING/PERFORMING? I’ve always known I wanted to perform. My family was and still is very instrumental in supporting my dreams. From as early as I can remember, I was taken to theatre, dance, concerts and plays. I started out wanting to be a dancer. I was on full scholarship at Dance Theatre of Harlem from ages 6 - 15 but resigned after working on pointe. I shifted my focus to singing. During my high school years, I was a member of All City High School Chorus and Concert Choir. While at Russell Sage College, I set my focus squarely on musical theatre and was able to develop my skills in a safe nurturing environment. Dr. Richard Jones was very instrumental in my artistic growth in Visual and Performing Arts.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT PERFORMING? I love creating and bringing art to life. I love transforming into a character. I love being a storyteller and the challenge of always telling the story truthfully. I love the give and take with the audience which is different every single performance. And the applause is pretty nice too!
SHARE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CURRENT PROJECT: I am currently playing the role of Mariah on the 1st national tour of the Tony Award winning production of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Mariah is the matriarch of Catfish Row - a real community in Charleston, South Carolina. She is nurturing but also no nonsense. Mariah is the glue which holds the community together. I adore her! (www.porgyandbessthemusical.com)
MOST MEMORABLE CAREER MOMENT THUS FAR? I honestly cannot pick one moment as the most memorable. I have been blessed to have so many amazing experiences; one does not outweigh another. Touring America, Europe and Asia, working on Broadway, playing a recurring role on Whoopi Goldberg’s last NBC sitcom…all of my career has been memorable so far. I look forward to the adventures to come!
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM ROLE/PROJECT? My dream role is in an original project written for me. I’m not interested in rehashing previously performed works. That always leads to comparison. My goal is to leave my mark on theatrical history.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF TEN TO FIFTEEN YEARS FROM NOW? I hope to still be a successful working actor continuing to hone my craft.
WHAT TYPES OF THINGS DO YOU ENJOY TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT PERFORMING? My life is pretty low key. I’m a homebody but I do like hanging with friends. I am a 19 year member of Broadway Inspirational Voices - a gospel choir comprised of Broadway performers - in which I liturgical sign. I am in constant study of American Sign Language. (www.broadwayinspirationalvoices.org)
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING ACTORS? I would say, if you know in your heart this is what you were put on this earth to do, then go for it and don’t let anything hold you back. This is not an easy life. The constant having to prove yourself, the competition, the rejection and the instability are not for the faint of heart. But this can also be the most amazing, surprising, rewarding life journey you can imagine. Trust in your talent and the uniqueness only you can bring. The resilience of your spirit will carry you to your dreams!