Natalie Storrs is an artist based out of New York City, who has performed all across the country and abroad. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Storrs has also trained at the prestigious British American Drama Academy (BADA). Some of her regional credits include: 9 To 5 (Flat Rock Playhouse), Legally Blonde (Cabrillo Music Theatre) and The Marvelous Wonderettes (Utah Shakespeare Festival). She was also in the first national tour of Broadway’s Sister Act: The Musical. Storrs is now back home for a limited time to star as Cathy Hiatt in Jason Robert Brown’s heartrending love story, “The Last Five Years.” I had the pleasure of speaking with her recently about her dream role and how she nailed this audition, which proves life doesn’t always imitate art.
Hi Natalie! How does it feel to be back home in SoCal? It seems like you arrived just in time for the heavy rains.
I couldn’t be happier about being back in So Cal. Since graduating from USC, I’ve traveled all over the US for both regional theatre and on tour, but after settling in NYC a little over two years ago I really started to feel what it was like to miss home. There’s no place like California to me. I’m so grateful to be near my family and dear friends for this job! And I’m honestly thrilled about the rain, even though it’s inconvenient at times, because I’m just happy CA is getting some much-needed precipitation! Can’t be selfish about that! Plus, New York has made me used to the rain…and it’s a lot colder out there. I can’t complain.
Can you please tell us how you got involved with this production of The Last Five Years?
This casting process was actually a very cool and unique experience. The incredible Julia Flores of Flores Casting reached out to my agent to see if I’d be interested in auditioning for the show. The Last Five Years has been a bucket-list show for me since I discovered it at age fifteen, so I absolutely couldn’t say no…but since I do currently live in NYC, I wasn’t able to audition in person. I sent in an audition tape from New York, and the artistic team asked if they could do a FaceTime callback with me from LA- definitely a first for me! I had piano accompaniment recorded and did a live callback over my computer. What a crazy age we live in when these things are possible. I recorded one more video with the final callback material, which the producers, casting, and artistic team watched in Los Angeles, and got the call from Julia the next day while walking through Times Square (no joke) that I’d booked the show. Truly one of the most thrilling, happiest moments of my career thus far. I felt like I’d won the lottery. I still do.
Oh my goodness, what an amazing audition story! Your character, Cathy would be envious I’m sure. Speaking of Cathy, do you have any similar real-life audition mishaps as well?
Oh gosh – tons. Auditions are the weirdest, and sometimes they’re everything you want them to be, but sometimes they’re REALLY not. One of my first big audition appointments in New York was for Elphaba in “Wicked”. I went into the room so excited…and then started singing “The Wizard and I” and something that didn’t even sound like my voice came out of my mouth. I had no control over it and it felt and sounded terrible. I was so mortified and discombobulated that after the song that I couldn’t even concentrate, and lost my place reading the scene I was supposed to perform – TWICE. Just a complete mess. It was such a bad audition that I left the building, went straight to Central Park, and cried openly on a bench. Hahahaha. I thought the casting company would never call me in again and I’d ruined my whole career. The fact is, we all have bad auditions sometimes, and it’s learning to laugh and just move on to the next one that helps the most. And ice cream. Ice cream helps a lot.
What is your favorite musical number from The Last Five Years?
I know this sounds cliche and a bit like a cop-out, but I can’t choose a favorite number. Every time I try to pick one, I think about another and love it just as much. I’ve always loved “The Schmuel Song” in every way. But I also love every single number I get to perform in this show. Every song is so real, deep, smart, funny, poignant. It’s why this musical has been one of my favorites for so long. I must say, I do really love “The Next Ten Minutes” in this particular show, because I love being able to sing and connect with Devin, who is a phenomenal artist.
You and Devin Archer did an outstanding job respectively. Kudos! How do you weigh in on the deterioration of Cathy and Jamie’s relationship?
Hooo boy, that’s a big question to answer in a short way. I guess I’d start by saying this: The Last Five Years is an incredibly beloved show for many, many people familiar with the songs and subject matter. Why? Because it is so relatable. I’d challenge anyone who has been in a significant relationship to not see some part of themselves in either Jamie or Cathy and in the struggles that their young relationship go through. Both characters in The Last Five Years have vices within themselves that contribute to the demise of the relationship, and being younger and a bit less wise (in this gal’s opinion), they aren’t able to fully recognize those flaws and have the humility to really work on them to be a better partner for the other before the relationship collapses. And on top of THAT, both Jamie and Cathy work in the entertainment industry in some fashion, which puts a whole other weight of pressure and complications on top of a relationship. There are comparison issues, ego issues, self-doubt issues, trust issues, self-worth issues, support issues…issues that lead to downward spirals, which lead to people bringing out the worst in each other. There’s a lot. Ultimately, they get to a place where they don’t know how to fix the relationship anymore. It’s really sad…but it’s also really real. And it makes me really grateful for my fiancé, who I have a very healthy relationship with!!
Follow Natalie Storrs on Twitter and Instagram: @natstorrs
Photo courtesy of Michael Lamont.
The Last Five Years is playing at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts now thru February 12, 2017. Tickets are available by calling the box office at (562) 944-9801 or (714) 994-6310 or Order Online