Alana Bridgewater is a singer/songwriter from Toronto who will be playing Ma Rainey in Soulpepper’s upcoming production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom beginning in May. Select Soulpepper credits include: Spoon River (Toronto and New York), Porgy & Bess, Riverboat (2017), and Global Cabaret Festival (2012). Other theatre: Shrek, Wizard Of Oz (Grand Theatre), Hairspray (Charlottetown Festival), We Will Rock You (Mirvish). Film & TV: Hannibal, Dino Dan, Lost Girl, Mysticons (Upcoming). She has received a Gemini nomination for Gospel Christmas (CBC), performed with the Women's Blues Revue and Johnny Reid. Love to NLM and Tanisha.
When did you first think of yourself as an artist?
My first big show was Little Shop of Horrors in Brockville, Ontario. It was the first time I had an actual income from the theatre. The first time I felt like a true artist was when I booked my first jingle not long after that. It was the first time I knew I had a number of options to make a living as a performer.
Who helped you develop your voice as an artist?
I’ve had many people who helped cultivate my voice. From John Tuttle, to Robert Cooper, to Steven Henrikson; all of these people were instrumental in my growth. My mentor and friend Jackie Richardson really helped me develop as an artist.
What’s something that’s inspired you this week?
I am inspired by the wonderful cast of Idomeneus. The strength of this group of people, who rise above adversity, is inspiring.
What’s your favourite restaurant in the city to visit?
My favourite restaurant in the city is a new one; it’s called Beach Hill Smokehouse. The food is amazing and the service is impeccable.
What would you like to see more of on Toronto stages?
I’d love to see more inclusive casting. Recently, a good friend of mine cast a show and it was devoid of diversity. This friend is extremely open, but they did not think to have the show reflect the many cultures that are part of this great city.
Alana Bridgewater is currently performing in Soulpepper’s Idomeneus at the Young Center for the Performing Arts.