Theater stars know what’s hot in entertainment, fashion and pop culture, so Broadway.com decided it was high time to tap in to the after-hours obsessions of our favorite stage actors. Tony Award winner Nikki M. James has been slaying audiences at The Book of Mormon as naive villager Nabulungi, with showstopping numbers and a sweet personality that make us love this Ugandan gal—and the talented lady who plays her. We asked Mormon 's original leading lady for her pop culture picks, which range from To Kill a Mockingbird to Paul Newman’s salsa.
“Everything that airs on Sunday night. Plus, 1600 Penn [starring Josh Gad] and The New Normal [starring Andrew Rannells] for obvious reasons."
“Pretty much any movie musical made before 1985, and Cool Hand Luke.”
STAGE SHOW (OTHER THAN MY OWN): Rent
“I saw the original Broadway cast of Rent somewhere close to 20 times. I was a full-on Rent-head, complete with overnight street sleepovers for front row seats. I can most definitely still perform the entire show as a one-woman event. I also really loved the '95 revival of How to Succeed... (saw it at least five times). This list grows from there, but I will spare you my Broadway musical nerdiness.”
“India.Arie heals my soul!"
BOOK: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“My first favorite book was and still is To Kill a Mockingbird. I re-read it every few years. When I grow up I want to be brave just like Scout and honorable like Atticus."
CELEBRITY: Paul Newman
“I would give anything to spend a day with Paul Newman. I have named two pets after characters he has played and I have seen pretty much every movie he's ever made. THOSE EYES. (His salsa is pretty great, too.)"
REALITY SHOW: Intervention
“As an actor I know I'm not supposed to admit that I watch them, but I DO! I gravitate towards the shows about people in crisis who are transforming their lives. I DVR every episode of Intervention."
VACATION SPOT: The Couch
"I love to travel, but my dream vacation right now is a few days on my couch with the best movies, really good TV and all the SkinnyPop I can eat."
RANDOM OBSESSION: Smarties/My Cat
“I am addicted to Smarties candies. Once I start, I can't stop until the bag is empty. It is not at all healthy. I also worship my fat, gray, diabetic cat, Grifter. He's named for The Sting, a movie in which Paul Newman and Robert Redford pull off the greatest 'grift' of all time. He's a two-for-one obsession."