Nikki M. James picked up a Tony Award for her funny yet grounded performance as Nabulungi in the blockbuster musical The Book of Mormon. The New Jersey native, who also starred in Broadway’s All Shook Up, now makes her cabaret debut at 54 Below with a new show about growing up in the Garden State and making it on the Great White Way. Below, James talks about the music she loved as a kid, the disco song that gets her moving and her dream duet with original Mormon co-star Josh Gad.
What record/album was your favorite growing up?
A tie between Debbie Gibson’s “Lost in Your Eyes” and New Kids on the Block’s “Hangin' Tough.”
What is your go-to audition song?
“I Never Has Seen Snow” from House of Flowers.
What song are you most excited to perform in your show?
I put together a really fun "90s Mixtape" medley that I'm super excited to share.
If you could invite any performer onstage for a duet at 54 Below, who would it be?
I would do anything to invite my old co-star Josh Gad on stage to do “Tonight” from West Side Story. I'm sure we would nail it.
What’s your favorite love song?
“Kissing You” by Dess'ree. Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet has a fabulous soundtrack!
What is your favorite workout track?
“Eye of the Tiger.” ;)
Favorite break-up song?
“The Heart of the Matter.” I love both Don Henley's original and India.Arie's cover.
What song most makes you smile?
India.Arie’s “Private Party.” It’s a song about enjoying just being you and celebrating all the wonderful things in your life.
When this song plays, I can’t help but dance:
Gloria Gaynor's “I Will Survive.”
My vote for the song of summer is:
Daft Punk “Get Lucky.”
Don't miss Nikki M. James' cabaret debut at 54 Below June 22 and 23. Click below to hear James perform her "go-to audition song."