“Make your work ethic the best it can ever be and greatness will follow.” – Chatting with TOOTSIE’s Anthony Wayne.

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  • Kevin Ray Johnson

I would like you to meet Anthony Wayne. This triple threat can currently be seen in Tootsie on Broadway performing in the ensemble. On Broadway Anthony has also been seen in the 2018 Tony Award Winning Revival Once on this Island as well as Pippin, Anything Goes and Priscilla Queen of the Dessert. He has performed in the touring companies of A Chorus Line (Richie), The Color Purple, and Fame: The Musical (Tyrone). He has also starred as the 1970’s disco legend Sylvester in the new show Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical! It was a privilege to have the chance to interview Anthony!

How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a performer?

I was about five years old when I knew I wanted to be a performer. I was that young kid running around with a lot of energy and nowhere to store it. My mother placed me into a Children’s Theatre camp called CenterStage, Inc which ended up being the beginning of it all for me. The founder's name was Margie Day Walker who was an incredible Blues and Jazz singer in the 1960s who gave up her life and career to become an inspiration for young kids in the Tidewater area. To this day, I owe her for everything. She taught me how to sing, speak, walk, dance and gave me the foundation I needed to make me the man I am today.

Where did you study? Are there any mentors that genuinely helped make you the performer you are today?

When it comes to studying, I was fortunate enough to take part in different performing companies growing up in Norfolk (Hurrah Players, Virginia Opera, Virginia Musical Theatre). Many were adult companies who needed young people, so I was happy to be a part so I could sit and learn from the Actors’ Equity members at work to ask them many questions. School wise, I was part of the Governor’s School for the Arts and took my training seriously. That was a significant focus for me. I went to the college at Shenandoah University and got my BFA in Music Theatre. During my time in college, I took my summers to study dance at the Alvin Ailey School as well as Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. As far as shows go, I came to NYC to see Broadway shows while on High School trips and always knew I would make this home, however, I promised my mom I wouldn’t even think about auditioning for the show until I graduated from college. Once I did that, it was on!

When it comes to mentors, there are some that I haven’t met but know I stand on the shoulders of them like Gregg Burge, Sammy Davis Jr., Gregory Hines, and many others. A few currently that I’m grateful to consider colleagues and inspire me daily now are Adrian Bailey, George Faison, Desmond Richardson, Brandon Victor Dixon, Julius Thomas III, Chester Gregory, Jericho Brown, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Kendrell Bowman, and many others as well. These gentlemen give me the drive to work harder and be the best performer I can be. I’m just grateful to be in a company of actors who are going above and beyond to be even greater every day.

Congratulations on Tootsie! What are you most excited for about this show?

THANK YOU SO MUCH on the Congratulations for TOOTSIE! For this show, I am really excited to be back on Broadway, but I am most excited for the two women making their Broadway Debuts (Diana Vaden and Katerina Papacostas)! They are incredible and have worked their butts off over the years to get where they are!! You only get one first, so I am SO EXCITED to be able to experience this journey with them!

Are there any shows (Prior to Tootsie) that you have done in your career that will always be near and dear to your heart?

A show that is truly near and dear to my heart is a new and exciting show called MIGHTY REAL: A FABULOUS SYLVESTER MUSICAL. This is a show that I was inspired to create with my producing partner Kendrell Bowman on the life and times of the 1970’s Disco singer SYLVESTER! This show encourages people to live proud and free in their own truth through any adversity just as SYLVESTER did. MIGHTY REAL has changed my life and has made me a better actor, a better performer and allowed me to be strong in my own self as a man. We are currently in development to bring the show to BROADWAY, and I cannot WAIT for the world to see how inspirational this show is and will be!

What advice would you give young performers who want a career in this business?

For young performers who want a career in this business, I would tell them to drink your water, get your rest and tip your dresser! Lol. I would, also, tell them to be greater than great. Make your work ethic the best it can ever be and greatness will follow. Don’t follow the “in” crowd because you are “in” all by yourself. Don’t try to fit in when you’re custom made. Be the best YOU that you can be, trust God and know that all things will work out no matter what, but you MUST do the work!

For more information about Anthony, please visit – www.awayne.com or www.anthonyken.com and to learn more about Tootsie make sure you visit – www.tootsiemusical.com