At 30 years old, Cynthia Erivo has a Tony, a Grammy and an Emmy and is about to star in a major film about the life of Harriet Tubman. Erivo, a British actress, singer and songwriter, garnered mass acclaim for her starring turn in the Broadway musical The Color Purple and has seen her career skyrocket in the past several years. Fans can see this stunning talent perform at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC) on Sunday, August 20.
After starring in the 2013 Menier Chocolate Factory production of The Color Purple as lead role Celie, Erivo reprised the role on Broadway in 2015 and played Celie until earlier this year. Winning a Tony, Grammy and Emmy for a stage role is almost unprecedented, and Erivo still marvels at the accomplishment. The Tony and Grammy are no surprise, given Erivo’s powerful voice and stage presence, but the Emmy was a shock, if only because it was for a one-song performance on NBC’s The Today Show. “That was amazing,” says Erivo. “It was really special.”
Erivo is now only one award away from the coveted EGOT, an acronym representing performers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Only 12 people have earned an “EGOT:” Richard Rodgers, Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, John Gielgud, Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Jonathan Tunick, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, Whoopi Goldberg (fun fact: Erivo has played two stage roles originated by Goldberg in film—Sister Act’s Delores Van Cartier and The Color Purple’s Celie), Scott Rudin and Robert Lopez. With Erivo about to star in the high-profile Harriet, the EGOT doesn’t seem like a stretch. “When I hear it out loud, it’s a complete dream come true,” she says. “I didn’t expect that to happen at all!”
Erivo is looking forward to starting work on Harriet, and has some ideas of what she’d like to do beyond the film. “I’d love to do something completely original, to be a part of from the very beginning. That’s really a dream to me,” she says. “Something that’s not been done before. That would be a dream come true. Right now I’m very happy to be doing film and I do have music regularly.” Erivo mentions Broadway and Hollywood icon Barbra Streisand as someone whose career she admires. “I’d love to be able to have a film career and mirror that kind of work because I think [Streisand] does both [music and acting].”
Audiences can look forward to an eclectic show at WHBPAC. “It’s going to be pretty intimate,” says Erivo. “It’s going to be pretty acoustic, and I’ve tried to create a setlist that almost tells a love story, with things I haven’t been able to sing before.”
Cynthia Erivo performs at WHBPAC on Sunday, August 20 at 8 p.m. For tickets and more information, call 631-288-1500 and visit whbpac.org.