When Jennifer Fouche was growing up in Detroit, it “never occurred to me to be an actor.”
But now that she is, Fouche wouldn’t accept it any added way.
Jennifer Fouche, 47, plays Mama Morton in the touring aggregation of “Chicago,” advancing to the Fisher Theatre in Detroit Oct.16-21. Courtesy Broadway in Detroit
“It has been a absolution above words,” Fouche, 47 — who plays Mama Morton in the touring aggregation of “Chicago,” headed to Detroit’s Fisher Theatre this anniversary — says by buzz from her accepted home in New York. But acting absolutely “found me” during her aboriginal 30s afterwards a acknowledged run as a singer, alive with Motown adept Hank Crosby and with Inner City and others on techno avant-garde Kevin Saunderson’s KMS label.
“I capital the affectionate of career Whitney Houston had, that Aretha Franklin had. THAT was my intention,” Fouche explains. “But again the (music) industry afflicted and became article that was no best accordant with my sprit or my aesthetic expression. My affection was breaking, but I knew I wasn’t activity to be able to accept the affectionate of career I knew I wanted.
“But I don’t cartage in regret. I’m so blessed now. In a lot of ways, as abundant as I admired singing, I’m happier as an actor.”
The amphitheater date was not adopted to Fouche, who grew up on the west ancillary of Detroit and abounding the Waldorf Academy and Lutheran Aerial East afore Michigan State University. Her mother advised for a available of accomplished arts amount at Wayne State University aback Fouche — whose ancestor is a retired Detroit badge administrator and civilian rights advocate — was a toddler. She recalls that “I absolutely grew up backstage at the Hillberry Theatre.”
Fouche’s music activity included stints with applesauce saxophonist Randy Scott, trumpeter Johnny Trudell and his orra and others, and she had a accessory hit in Europe with her distinct “Now is the Time.” But aback that dream began to achromatize 15 years ago, she was larboard “devastated.”
“I didn’t apperceive what to do,” Fouche remembers. “I was an artisan with no platform.”
The men of the choir in the Broadway agreeable “Chicago,” advancing to the Fisher Theatre in Detroit Oct.16-21.
But a alley administrator noticed that the Broadway touring aggregation of “The Lion King” was captivation auditions in Cincinnati, area Fouche was active at the time, and appropriate she accord it a try. “I’d consistently capital to be on Broadway,” Fouche says, “but ample I’d get there grandfathered in afterwards I awash millions of albums, like Toni Braxton or Vanessa Williams.”
She showed up but didn’t get a allotment (“I was too tall,” she remembers), but the aforementioned Cincinnati Black Amphitheater Aggregation amplitude area she auditioned was additionally captivation tryouts for “A Tribute to Motown,” for which Fouche landed a role assuming Martha Reeves.
“They anticipation I had so abundant ‘personality’ that they broadcast the role and added some curve besides aloof the songs,” Fouche says. “At this point I’m abashed because now I had to say words not sing them. I wasn’t alike in a aerial academy play. I had no abstraction if I had any bent for acting.”
It turns out she did. Afterwards Crosby alien her to Reeves for some background, Fouche became a standout in the assembly — so abundant so that afterwards aperture night her mother told her, “I accept no notes. You were brilliant.”
“In that moment it was caked that, ‘OK, I’m activity to do this,” she says.
That antecedent success led Fouche to New York in 2005 to abstraction in a two-year accelerated affairs at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. “I had abundant account for the acreage I knew I bare to abstraction it,” she says. It was acutely the appropriate move. Advancing out of the AADA Fouche aing an acting affiliation alleged the Amoralists, debuting in a comedy alleged “Bring Us the Head of Your Daughter.”
And she hasn’t looked aback since. Fouche is appreciative of the actuality that in her acting career “the longest I’ve been out of assignment is nine days,” and her résumé includes basic the role of Roberta in the Off-Broadway hit “Sistas, the Musical,” arena Brutus in an all-female adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” “Babes in Toyland” at Lincoln Center, “Hamlet” in New York’s Bryant Park, the Marvel TV alternation “Jessica Jones” and the comedy “Half Me Half You.” She additionally choir a appearance in the accessible PBS children’s appearance “Pinkalicious and Peterrific.”
“Chicago,” meanwhile, is her aboriginal Broadway musical, “An absurd validation,” Fouche says. And she hopes it’s a dispatch bean against the Great White Way itself as able-bodied as to added wish-list ambitions such as “Hello Dolly,” delivery a Disney appearance and actuality in a James Bond movie.
“I didn’t alpha there, but now I adulation annihilation added than accepting on date and accomplishing all the alertness that has to be done, whether it’s glamming it up for ‘Chicago’ with 3-inch lashes and red lipstick or arena a bag lady,” Fouche says. “I afflicted careers aback I was 34, and I anticipate the best adverse affair in the apple is cerebration that there’s some cessation date on the things we appetite to do in life.
“I’m affidavit there isn’t.”
The Broadway agreeable “Chicago” is a aeon adventure about dancers and murder. Photo by Catherine Ashmore
• If you go: “Chicago” runs Tuesday through Sunday, Oct. 16-21, at the Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit. Tickets are $39-$94. Call 313-872-1000 or appointment broadwayindetroit.com.
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