Eight times a week, Valisa LeKae leads a double life, starring as Diana Ross in Motown: The Musical.
The show, which has the largest ensemble of any show currently on Broadway (over 35 performers and nineteen musicians) opened weeks ago, and has since become the must-see musical of the year.
According to the New York Times, “Motown: The Musical is the biggest box office hit among the new productions of the 2012-13 season.” Since opening the show has consistently sold out, raking in over $1 million per week.
In April Motown: The Musical picked up 4 Tony nominations including a Best Actress nomination for LeKae.
“I’m very happy. It’s really a blessing to know that my hard work is playing off,” Lekae told theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon. “To be recognized in such an esteemed community of legendary actors and people who’ve worked their craft all their lives, and to say ‘we notice you and we’re gonna honor you with a 2013 Tony nomination’ is really fantastic.”
Last month Motown debuted on Broadway to a star-studded crowd including Gladys Knight, Bono, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy and Diana Ross.
LeKae opened up about what it was like meeting Ross for the first time on-stage.
“Next thing I know there’s this women who looks like me, but I look like her, in the corner, with this hair, and I go, ‘she’s here already, she’s on stage,’” LeKae said.
LeKae will be honored by the National Action Network in October for her outstanding performance in Motown, and has received a 2013 Drama League nomination, and an Outer Critics Award nomination.
She is also the recipient of a 2013 Theatre World Award.
LeKae has no plans of slowing down, and hopes to take on TV and film roles in the near future. But for right now, she is enjoying every moment on the Motown stage.
“Every night I find joy in everything that I do. Even when I’m tired or not feeling well, I know that there’s one person out there that I can inspire. And that’s why I got into this business.”
Fans of LeKae can tune into the Tony Awards Sunday June 9 to see if she walks away with the prestigious award for Best Actress.
Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC