Kevin Ray Johnson
I would like you to meet the wonderful and talented Ari Groover. Ari has been seen on Broadway in Holler If Ya Hear Me, and most recently in Head Over Heels and in Bare Off-Broadway. Up next she’ll be performing in Tony & Grammy Award Award Winners Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s newest musical Alice By Heart, inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and directed and co-written by Jessie Nelson (Waitress) at MCC Theater. Performances begin on January 30th. I was very excited to have the chance to interview this very talented artist.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a performer?
I knew I wanted to be a performer since I was 3 years old. My mother said I would dance and sing everywhere. My mother was also a dance teacher, so it’s really her fault why I sing and dance so much.
Where did you study? Do you have any mentors that stand out that helped you become the performer you are today?
I am based out of Georgia so I got a lot of my training out there. With my mother being a dancer, my training started with her while she taught dance at Savannah State University. I also received training from The Alliance Theater, The Broadway Dreams Foundation, the Southwest Arts Center, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre company. My mom and my brother have been a big influence in my life and taught me the importance of a great work ethic, especially being a woman of color! We have the ability to do anything we want, but we still have to fight to get roles and be shown. So we have to show them that we as black women work hard.
Congratulations on the run Head Over Heels. When you look back years from now what will be the thing that you remember most about this show?
I think I will remember how Head Over Heels shows the importance openness, acceptance, and inclusivity. Head Over Heels is a queer love story and fairy tale that ANYONE can love. I also will have to say this cast and crew were the fucking best! This experience was so inviting and these people will always be family to me because we are that close! I have never had so much fun with a group of people.
Are there any shows in your career that will always stick out and be near and dear to your heart?
I feel like every show that I have done will stick out in some way. Head Over Heels is definitely on the top of my list though.
What advice do you have for young performers?
Keep on keeping on! This is not an easy industry to be in. It takes a lot of hard work and patience, but you have to persevere. Also, this industry has a way of making people feel like they are never good enough, this is where self love is important! Make sure you are always giving yourself positive love and light. You have something to offer in this world and don’t let not getting the job discredit that. The biggest one I am learning is, don’t wait for someone to hand something to you. You have the power to create the next best thing. Write down your ideas and manifest them into work. You never know how big your ideas/dreams can go!
If you would like to learn more about Ari’s upcoming show please visit – www.mcctheater.org