Sarah Rose Davis is an actor, singer and Seattle native who began her career in the Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE program. In 2014, Davis successfully tackled Barbra Streisand’s signature role as Fanny Brice in Village’s Funny Girl, for which the Seattle Times called her “highly appealing.”
You may have seen Davis recently at the 5th Avenue Theatre as Maggie in A Chorus Line, Frenchy in Grease and at least 15 other shows there. She’s currently playing the role of Rosemary Pilkington in their production of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
In the midst of this successful run—the show closes February 21—Davis joined me for this week’s installment of Five Friday Questions.
What’s the best performance you’ve seen lately?
Come From Away at Seattle Rep. It was beyond brilliant. It was captivating, intense, humorous, and had me completely enthralled. It’s totally my kind of theatrical experience, both as an audience member and a performer myself. It’s ensemble-driven—the whole cast was involved and onstage working together almost the entire show. The music was new and exhilarating with incredible rhythmic movement. The story, about a small town in Canada whose population doubled overnight when 38 planes were re-routed there on September 11th, was intense yet surprisingly relatable.
It was a show about human experience, about amazing strangers who were forced to work through an incredibly difficult time together. I could go on and on about this show! I love seeing new and inspiring theater in Seattle especially when I have so many friends involved in the process!
The best movie I’ve seen recently was a Disney Pixar animated short called Lava. Oh man, watch it. Disney tears.
What’s the best meal in Seattle?
I have to admit I’m not much of a foodie—not that I don’t LOVE food, I do, really. I’m just not good at finding all the cool places in Seattle to eat. I am, however, a huge breakfast person and a huge proponent of second breakfast as well. Sometimes one breakfast simply is not enough. My two favorite breakfast spots are The 5 Point Cafe and Brave Horse Tavern.
I could eat breakfast all day long. My boyfriend often makes me amazing breakfast as well. He can throw anything into an egg scramble and it is delicious.
What music gets you pumped up? What do you listen to when you’re sad?
I love to listen to music I can sing along to. This usually means a female singer or high tenor—I’ve found that if I cannot comfortably sing along and belt out the songs, I won’t really get that into it. I love listening to an album until I know absolutely every single word. Before my shows right now I’ve been listening to Demi Lovato. She’s incredible and her range is outrageous.
I’ve also just barely started to scratch the surface on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new show Hamilton and I know how obsessed I’m going to be with it shortly.
When I need some completely calming music when I’m feeling a little down, I listen to Carole King’s Tapestry (brilliant) which I belt out with joy, or Colbie Caillat’s album Breakthrough.
What’s the most crucial element of any production?
There are a million crucial elements that contribute to a successful production: story, casting, direction, production design, acting, etc., which is why I would say that communication is the most important element for a production to work. Let’s assume that the story is already worth telling, which is why someone has decided to theatricalize it. For the production to be a success, everyone involved in the process needs to be on board in telling the SAME story, whether that be through the lights, costumes, sets, or character relationships.
Whenever I am in a really successful production—and of course we could have a really long conversation about the definition of a successful production—I always attribute that success to awesome communication from everyone involved, both on the creative team and as part of the cast. For How To Succeed, I felt that our director, Bill Berry, was really great at making sure everyone was telling the same story and we were all living in the same world from set design to costume design and musical direction. Same world, same story. To me that is the key.
What’s the most useful thing anyone’s ever taught you about working in theatre?
Be yourself and keep learning. Keep learning about the arts and about yourself. Theater is an incredibly strange world in which you have to know so much about yourself that you can then completely lose yourself within a character. I don’t mean hide yourself behind a character, because you need the personal connection in order to fully transform into this person, but if you don’t understand who you are as a human, artist, friend, lover, daughter, etc., it’s impossible to approach a character with any sort of authenticity.
It’s really easy, especially in a musical theatre BFA program, to lose yourself in a million suggestions, but ultimately YOU have to decide which pieces of advice to follow. I have tattoos and currently have blue hair—never thought I could do that in theater with auditions as frequent as they are but then I decided: Why not?
I’ve also been told to never stop learning about your craft. I continue to study my voice and I push myself to take more dance classes and improve my skills. I’m sure I could articulate this clearer, but as I understand it now, this is the best way I know how to share the advice I’ve been given. I am still learning.