Interview With Stephanie J. Block From "The Boy From Oz"
Stephanie J. Block is flying high and with good reason. She has been fortunate to be part of not one, but two of the most talked about shows to hit Broadway in the same season, Stephen Schwartz's Wicked and The Boy From Oz. I guess you might say that this gal has found the Emerald City and the red slippers. I had the pleasure of chatting with this delightful lady about her amazing experiences.
Pati Buehler: Stephanie, what a great year for you!
Stephanie Block: It IS amazing!
PB: You have really done a lot of great shows, winning awards for roles in Funny Girl, Oliver and Triumph of Love. What a line up!
SB: I've been very lucky. I've worked regionally. I'm from southern California and was raised on theater and made it my bread and butter. I did a lot of regional theater throughout the entire country. About a year and a half ago, I looked at my family, looked at my boyfriend and said "I think that I've done most of what I can do from Los Angles and I'm gonna head over to New York and try it". It was really amazing. I did some regional work outside of New York and then booked Wicked within the first couple of months. I was in rehearsals with Wicked when I got the call to play Liza in The Boy From Oz. So it's been a really blessed and successful year for me.
PB: You must be pretty pumped.
SB: I am SO excited, Pati!
PB: This is great. But I must ask you; you've been performing since you were 11. When did it hit you that were actually making a career as a performer?
SB: Do you know what, I started singing in my church when I was 7. My congregation got really excited for me and calling my parents and letting them know when a local community theater was doing anything that involved children. I can still remember a production of The King and I and my mother pulling my hair tight in a bun and putting on the eyeliner. My parents were so supportive and showed such an interest at such an early age. With help from my parents and my church community, by age 11 I was chosen to be part of an album called "We Are The World" by The Children of the world. So we literally recorded the same song with voices like Janet Jackson, Drew Barrymore, Alyssa Milano and they had between 15 and 20 regular little kids for the making of the album and the video. From there, the musical director of that project, hired me for a lot of jingles for children's commercials. And so I started building a little bank account and seeing that I can use my gift and have just as much fun, go to school and have my same friends and start making a career out of this. So it wasn't like I jumped into it right away. It was little by little.