Nicole Parker may have achieved TV fame for her Emmy-winning role on the sketch comedy show MADtv, but this former Elphaba in Wicked is really a Broadway baby. Parker brings her love of showtunes and pop hits together in the new one-night-only solo show Nicole’s Ultimate Mixtape at 54 Below on October 28, performing songs associated with defining moments in her life. Below, the actress recalls the songs that shaped her 20s, sparked her crush on Victor Garber and more.
What record/album was your favorite growing up?
Well, I always loved my parents' records: The Mamas and the Papas and the Beach Boys; but the records that really played nonstop in my room were Annie, Mame and 42nd Street. And these were actual records, not these newfangled compact discs the kids listen to these days...
What concert most influenced you as a performer?
It was a Sondheim Celebration concert at Carnegie Hall. I had it on tape from a PBS Great Performances. It's so fantastic. My favorites were always Bernadette Peters singing "Not a Day Goes By," and Madeline Kahn doing "Not Getting Married Today" (see video below). I don't know how many times I watched it just to see the commitment of each singer and the way they were able to convey character and emotional stakes out of the context of the shows.
What is your go-to audition song?
If it's a legit audition, "Vanilla Ice Cream." If not, "Diva's Lament."
What song are you most excited to perform in your show?
Probably "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead or "One Day I'll Fly Away" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.
What musical theater track is the most played on your iPod?
Probably "Johanna" [from Sweeney Todd]. Victor Garber... *sigh*
If you can invite any performer onstage for a duet at 54 Below, who would it be?
Judy Kuhn, but I'd probably just end up not singing so I could listen to her : )
What musical theater performer from the past do you wish you could collaborate with?
Madeline Kahn, Bea Arthur and Danny Kaye.
What album was the soundtrack to your 20s?
Fiona Apple’s When the Pawn.
What’s your favorite love song?
"Longer" by Dan Fogelberg.
What song makes you feel sexy?
ANYthing by Feist, especially "One Evening."
What is your favorite workout track?
"Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO. IMHO.
What’s the best hidden gem in on your iPod?
"Glass Half Full," sung by Martin Short, written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It was the last song in Fame Becomes Me, which was my Broadway debut. My favorite moment in that show (and there were many!) was sitting backstage and listening to Marty sing this beautiful, simple song.
Favorite break-up song?
"Inconsolable" by Jonatha Brooke. I'm singing it in the show!
What song most makes you smile?
"Just Fine" by Mary J. Blige.
When this song plays, I can’t help but dance:
"Raise Your Glass" by Pink.
Check out Nicole Parker’s Nicole’s Ultimate Mixtape at 54 Below on October 28.