For someone who only came onto the Broadway scene a few years ago, Ephraim Sykes already has some pretty impressive credits under his belt. He started out in the ensemble of Disney’s The Little Mermaid and went on to major shows like Memphis and RENT at New World Stages just this past year. Now, Ephraim has taken on one of the biggest shows 2012 has to offer – Newsies. Based on his twitter feed it’s obvious the theater community loves him!

What first inspired you to be an actor and dancer?

My first inspiration to become a performer was Michael Jackson! I grew up listening to the Bad and Off The Wall vinyls while I did my chores on the weekends and watching all his videos whenever I got home from school!! He has and always will be my favorite performer!

You’ve worked in the largely popular Broadway shows Memphis & RENT. How have your previous roles prepared you for tackling another big show like Newsies?

Doing Memphis and Rent have helped prepare me tremendously for Newsies! Memphis was a very technically demanding dance show for me which required alot of the same moves I’m having to do 8shows a week in Newsies. Rent was very demanding vocally and I learned alot about my voice that I’m able to call upon for the EXTREMELY demanding Newsies score.

For many people, Newsies is a movie very dear to their heart. Did you grow up loving that movie? Any pressure trying to live up to people’s high expectations for a good musical adaptation?

I actually never saw the movie until I was doing the first reading of it about a two years ago and they gave us all a copy of the film. I will say though, once I saw it I was instantly a huge fan of it and was very excited to see what a staged version would be like…always knowing that it would be a great adaptation that would have no choice but to meet and/or exceed people’s expectations.

What has been your favorite part of the Newsies experience so far? I’m sure the standing ovations that keep happening right in the middle of the show have to be pretty awesome!

I have to say that the audience’s standing ovations have been one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced on a broadway stage! #thatisall

Free time while working on Broadway is rare. What’s your favorite way to spend an off day?

I have to say my favorite way to spend a day off is at Spa Castle….35$, stay ALL day, good food, great saunas, steam rooms etc and even nap areas with your own lazy boy and flat screen attached!

I asked my twitter followers to send in some questions for you! I picked one question from @officialgigi. Gabrielle wants to know who your favorite Newsie in the film is.

It’s funny, my favorite Newsie in the film is actually Mush!lol

What would be your ultimate dream role?

To be completely honest, my dream hasn’t been created yet and I hope to one day create a role where I can really act, sing, dance and really bare my soul every night! As for roles done before, I really would love to be Scarecrow in the Wiz (I.e. Michael Jackson in the movie lol)

Tell us a fun fact not many people know about you…

A fun fact not many people know about me is that I actually started out as a musician, playing saxophone and drums my whole life and was actually kind of bad at dancing when I was little!lol I also had a lisp for a few years and anytime I needed to say words with an “s” I said it with an “f” like ” mommy I wanna go fwimming!”

Best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever gotten was to think of SHARING your gifts/talents as opposed to thinking of performing or entertaining. That way you take yourself and your ego out of the equation and focus on what matters most which is speaking truthfully from your soul which effects and changes people lives. Be the blessing!

Favorite twitters you follow? (theater and non-theater related)

My favorite people to follow on twitter are Chris Gattelli (@cgattelli), TheInspiredWordNYC (@inspiredWordNYC), African Proverbs (@AfricanProverbs), and Martina Sykes (@ladysykes10) …and of COURSE BWayNews! ; )

Big thanks to Ephraim for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat. Be sure to check Ephraim out in Newsies at the Nederlander Theatre. Follow him on Twitter @ephsykes.

Photo credit: Kevin W. Paige

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