Dani de Waal is an English actress, who recently joined the touring cast of the Broadway hit “Once”, playing the role of ‘Girl’. Her previous achievements on stage include “Picnic” on Broadway and “Mamma Mia!” for the role of Sophie Sheridan on West End. Media Mikes got a chance to chat with Dani about “Once” and her role as she was kicking off the 29 city tour which runs until October 2014.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what made you want to be a part of “Once: A New Musical” for its North American tour?
Dani de Waal: I saw the movie years ago when it came out, I was England at the time then. I loved it and the music and thought it was a beautiful story. I ended up seeing the show on Broadway also when I came to New York on a holiday. I remember saying to myself and secreting it to the universe that I would love to be in this show [laughs]. As it turns out, I ended up moving to New York the following year. I got an audition and it sort of happened from there. It really has been a dream come true. It is one of those shows that I wouldn’t [laughing] mind being in it for free every night. It is so incredible and doesn’t feel like a job at all.
MG: What made you connect with the character, ‘Girl’?
DDW: She is very interesting. She has this sort of cold exterior, I guess you can say. She’s hard to read. She has these walls up to protect herself. She also has a very warm and inquisitive side about the world and about people. She really believes that music can save us and change us. I share that as well in fact. Music is a universal language that can touch anyone no matter what we speak. I love how she expresses herself through the music and playing the piano. I have played piano most of my life but never have done it in a job. So that was an amazing thing for me to explore. Also singing with everyone on the stage as a band, I have never done that before either. It all has this kind of magical quality to it in playing her for this show.
MG: What is your most challenging aspect of the role?
DDW: When I first came to the part it was the piano. It was getting over the nerves of playing in front of people. So that was it initially, but now being that we are on stage pretty much the whole show once you are in it you are in it. I quite enjoy that. Stamina wise that was quite a challenge to get going but now it is something that I really love about it. You step up on stage in the beginning and sort of don’t breathe until curtain call. In a way it is a challenge but it is a great thing as well.
MG: The music is so amazing, which song is your favorite to hear and/or sing?
DDW: I have to say my favorite is “Falling Slowly” but the reprise version, which is at the very end. The song is beautiful anyway but the reprise in particular has everyone joining in and singing. It has that swell moment that is just incredible. So that one to listen to and also play, it is just such a highlight for me. Also since it comes at the end of the show, there is this great build up and then you have that moment.
MG: How you had a chance to meet Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová?
DDW: No, we haven’t met that yet. I know they were very involved with the show’s process when it first started. I am pretty sure at some point within the show’s run we are going to get to meet them. But we only recently just started touring, so hopefully soon.
MG: Is there a city that you are looking forward to visit most on the tour?
DDW: I haven’t been around America at all, so I just very excited to see all of it really. I have never been to the West Coast and we hit there next summer, so I am really looking forward that. We are currently in Chicago and it has been amazing so far, so I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Here is the rest of the tour schedule! Check it out when it comes to a city near you!
Chicago, IL (Oriental Theatre)
Oct. 9 – 27, 2013
Philadelphia, PA (Academy of Music)
Oct. 29 – Nov. 10, 2013
Cleveland, OH (Playhouse Square)
Nov. 12 – 24, 2013
Toronto, ON (Royal Alexandra Theatre)
Nov. 26, 2013 – Jan. 5, 2014
Boston, MA (Boston Opera House)
Jan. 7 – 19, 2014
Durham, NC (Durham Performing Arts Center)
Jan. 21 – 26, 2014
Orlando, FL (Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre)
Jan. 28 – Feb. 2, 2014
Miami, FL (The Adrienne Arsht Center)
Feb. 4 – 9, 2014
Tampa, FL (Straz Center)
Feb. 11 – 16, 201
Fort Myers, FL (Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall)
Feb. 18 – 23, 2014
New Haven, CT (Shubert Theater)
Feb. 26 – March 2, 2014
Atlanta, GA (Fox Theatre)
March 4 – 9, 2014
Pittsburgh, PA (Benedum Center)
March 11 – 16, 2014
Rochester, NY (Auditorium Theatre)
March 18 – 23, 2014
Buffalo, NY (Shea’s Performing Arts Center)
March 25 – 30, 2014
Minneapolis, MN (Orpheum Theatre)
April 1 – 6, 2014
St. Louis, MO (The Fox Theatre)
April 8 – 20, 2014
Des Moines, IA (Civic Center of Greater Des Moines)
April 22 – 27, 2014
Tempe, AZ (ASU Gammage)
April 29 – May 4, 2014
Denver, CO (Buell Theatre)
May 6 – 18, 2014
Las Vegas, NV (Smith Center for the Performing Arts)
May 20 – 25, 2014
Seattle, WA (The Paramount Theatre)
May 27 – June 8, 2014
Portland, OR (Keller Auditorium)
June 10 – 15, 2014
San Francisco, CA (Curran Theatre)
June 17 – July 13, 2014
Los Angeles, CA (Pantages Theatre)
July 15 – Aug. 10, 2014
San Diego, CA (Civic Center)
Aug. 12 – 17, 2014
Costa Mesa, CA (Segerstrom Hall)
Aug. 19 – 31, 2014
Charlotte, NC (Blumenthal Performing Arts Center)
Sept. 30 – Oct. 5, 2014