After originating the show in Japan, Laurie Wells is now leading the cast of Trip of Love, the new 60’s musical revue that’s opened in New York. We caught up with Wells about what it’s like to bring some heart to the visual spectacle and having moments of peace in this Follies-esque show.
You bring some grounding to Trip of Love. What’s like singing these famous songs and bringing new energy to them?
It’s a dream. I trained in opera, moved to Nashville, sang on cruise ships and now am here in New York. Singing and telling a story is all I want to do. For this show, I get to start the show acapella. It’s so grounded and peaceful.
What’s your favorite moment in the show?
Singing “Both Sides Now.” I love Joni Mitchell. It gets very quiet and the audience is right there. I’m the one that stands closest to the audience and get to take them in. “Both Sides Now” is a song I don’t even have to think about anymore. It’s that beautiful and the lyrics are that easy to deliver.
Mamma Mia just ended it’s Broadway run. What was it like to be a part of something that was so synonymous with Broadway?
I met my husband on that show. We started the tour in 2003 and I went to Broadway in 2007. The best part was bringing people so much joy. Donna sings 13 songs and no matter how tired I would be, I would feel energized by the audience because people are so happy to see this show.
When I was younger, performing was about ego, furthering myself and figuring out how I could be a star. As I get older, it’s about sharing music, making people happy, and taking people away from where they are at in their lives. The greatest thing about Mamma Mia is the joy in the audience.
How do you continue to challenge yourself to grow as a performer?
I’m always taking voice lessons because I will think I know how to sing and then I will get some music I won’t know how to do. I go to the best, study with the best and every time I have an audition, I do all the work. I see coaches, I do scene work and I keep working on it. You think you know something in this business but every day it completely flips. It’s a gift to never stop learning.
What else are you working on?
There’s a show based on George Strait’s life that’s supposed to come to New York next year and I did a few readings of that. I’m super into it and I love country music. I also want to make a jazz album. I’m doing a few readings here and there. Storytelling and singing those stories is where my heart is at.