You may not see Major Attaway onstage at Jubilee Theatre's Little Shop of Horrors, but you'll definitely hear him. Attaway is the voice of Audrey II, the carnivorous plant that brings fame and ultimately murder to Skid Row in the campy, fun musical.
His rich, rumbling voice has graced several stage across the area, and before Little Shop closes in Fort Worth on August 3, Attaway took the time to fill out our survey of serious, fun and sometimes ridiculous questions.
Name: Major Attaway
Role in Little Shop of Horrors: Audrey II
Previous work in the DFW area: Casa Mañana (Frosty the Snowman, Frosty); WaterTower (Hank Williams: Lost Highway, Tee-Tot); Uptown Players/Turtle Creek Chorale (Ragtime, Booker Washington); Kids Who Care (Peter Pan, Captain Hook); Theatre Arlington (Big River, Jim)
Hometown: Fort Worth
Where you currently reside: Fort Worth
First theater role: My first role ever was in Lost in Disney Land, a production my elementary school class co-wrote with my teacher. I played Billy the Bully. My first professional show was at Casa Mañana, Babe the Sheep Pig. I was a sheep rustler!
Moment you decided to pursue a career in theater: I knew I loved the theater early on, but when I saw my first Broadway show, I knew I was hooked for life. I sat on the aisle of the ninth row of the New Amsterdam Theatre while the cast of The Lion King took me to the Pride Lands.
Most challenging role you’ve played: Jarvis Blake in the one-man show Masked: The Untold Story of Jarvis Blake.
Special skills: Chicken leg trick — in goes the chicken, out comes the bone. Oh, and high kicks.
Something you’re REALLY bad at: Other than interviews?
Current pop culture obsession: Does Orange Is The New Black count?
Last book you read: Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All by Russell Simmons
Favorite movie(s): My favorite movie of all time is Houseguest starring Sinbad and Phil Hartman.
Favorite musician(s): Joe Williams, CeeLo Green, Gregory Porter, Outkast, Pentatonix, Luther Vandross, Earth Wind & Fire, Stephen Sondheim, Jason Robert Brown, John Legend
Favorite song: "Mr. Wendell" by Arrested Development
Dream role: The Genie (Aladdin), Sweeney (Sweeney Todd), Martin Luther King Jr. (The Mountaintop), Othello (Othello). Also, Luther Vandross in the movie of his life. Someone get on that, please and thank you.
Favorite musical(s): Whichever one I am currently in!
Favorite actors/actresses: Keith David, James Earl Jones, Kevin Michael Richardson
Favorite food: Anything made with love or cheese.
Must-see TV show(s): OITNB, House of Cards and Animorphs
Something most people don’t know about you: At age 10 I was diagnosed with Blount’s disease, a growth disorder of the tibia (shin bone) that causes the lower leg to angle inward, resembling a bow. I had major surgery at age 13 at Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital in Dallas. They put an Ilizarov on my leg for nine months, which was designed to slowly straighten out my leg.
Although my leg is now straight, I still deal daily with edema and dead nerves. I can’t feel the top of my right foot, or right side of my right leg from the knee down.
Place in the world you’d most like to visit: Aruba (crystal-clear water), Greece (honeymoon), Switzerland (chocolate)
Pre-show warm-up: Depending on the show, if I really need help dropping myself into the world of the play, I might listen to the music my character would’ve listened to on that day in that time, current events or even a particular food. I also warm up the vocal chords, which will also be tailored to the type of music and level of intensity.
Favorite part about your current role: I can wear my pajamas to work.
Most challenging part about your current role: The hardest part is acting from offstage; I like to feel the energy of the audience.
Most embarrassing onstage mishap: I have many mishaps; all of them involve ripping the seat out of my pants. ALL OF THEM. I blame the high kicks.
Career you’d have if you weren’t a performer: I am a massage therapist now; I think I still would be. My father is an auctioneer, and my mother is a real estate agent. I would probably be doing a little of both of those as well.
Favorite thing about Dallas-Fort Worth: This may sound clichéd, but it is the constant growth. The space and cost of living make this a great place to create. In DFW, it is possible to solidify multiple streams of income as an artist, which can prepare you for other markets. The work is here; you just have to be aggressive.
Most memorable theater moment: Coming to life as Frosty the Snowman at Casa Mañana. I have played quite a few entities up until this moment, but never have I been someone who is iconic to all ages. I played Frosty as myself in a tailored three-piece suit, so I didn’t miss a reaction. Bringing Frosty to life took my breath away every time.