Nova Y. Payton is currently performing at Signature Theatre in Xanadu where she plays Melpomeme and Medusa. She recently was at Siganture in Hairspray as Motormouth Maybelle. That performance won her a 2012 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Resident Musical. Area and regional credits include Ain’t Misbehavin for Washington Savoyards, The Happy Elf for Adventure Theatre, Smokey Joe’s Cafe at Flat Rock Playhouse and Effie in Dreamgirls at Prince Music Theatre which won her a 2005 Barrymore Nomination for Best Actress. Nova has a big, strong voice and is a wonderful talent!
What is your first remembrance of being on stage?
I was 3 years old and in a production of Santa comes to Cabbage Patchland. It was done with my dance school and DC Parks and Recreation.
You performed in the workshop production of The Happy Elf which had a score by Harry Connick Jr. What do you like the most about working on a brand new musical?
I loved working on Happy Elf because it’s great to be one of the originators of a role. Building the character and making it the part that everyone after you plays.
Can you please tell us about the characters that you are currently playing in Signature Theatre’s Xanadu?
In Xanadu I play Melpomene who is the older sister of the lead Kira. She is the evil sister and a bit jealous of Kira. She’s a lot of fun and goes though a lot in the show.
You performed with the Washington Savoyards in Ain’t Misbehavin’. If you had to pick your favorite song from that show what would it be?
“Handful of Keys” in Ain’t Misbehavin’ has to be my favorite song of the show. The song has great harmonies, fast paced and fun!
After Xanadu what are your next few projects?
After Xanadu I’m doing Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Dreamgirls at Signature Theatre.
Xanadu plays at the Signature Theatre- 4200 Campbell Avenue in Arlington, VA- through July 1, 2012. For tickets, call the box office at 703-820-9771 or purchase them online.
Watch MD Theatre Guide’s Video of Nova winning her Helen Hayes Award (21:33) and her interview (1:25:15).