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I finally returned home from the Michael Jackson World Tour this summer to a bittersweet conclusion. Happy to be home, elated that I had such an amazing experience on the tour, but not happy to be unemployed. With that said, I got back to the grind and began the normal N’Kenge hustle. Audition for everything and anything until that phone call comes in and says “N’Kenge we’d love to offer you to the role of….”

I read about the actors equity open call auditions for the New York Musical Theater Festival. I’ve always wanted to be apart of it but never was home during the time period of the festival so I never auditioned. This time I was home and AVAILABLE! I did the entire week of auditions where you get to sing for all the Directors and Casting Agents for each musical. Singing for so many people was like being a kid in a candy store except there is that one candy you have your eyes on during the entire time. For me that candy was TUT. I read the breakdown and REALLY wanted to be apart of it. When I did the audition for TUT and three other musicals at the same time, I felt really great about it. All I kept thinking to myself is “I hope I get TUT, I hope I get TUT”. Then I thought about the process. Usually they do the open call auditions before the agent submitted auditions which meant I might not hear back for a couple of weeks. I hate the waiting process…ugh.

Somehow the universe had mercy on me because I received a message from Tut’s Director Abdel Salaam only 2 hours after I sang in the audition. I was then asked to submit a few recordings of myself since the composer Marcus Hummon was currently out of the country. Two hours after I submitted the mp3s, I got the CALL. “N’Kenge, we’d love to offer you the role of King’s Tut’s wife Ankhesenamun”. I was soooooooooooooooo happy I couldn’t contain myself.

A few weeks later, I learned that they were still seeking a TUT. The night before the auditions I called my very talented tenor friend Curtis Wiley to see if he was auditioning. To my shock, he knew nothing about it. After some emails back and forth with the General Manager, I got Curtis seen and Curtis did not disappoint. A day later, he told me that he was now my TUT.

Now with less than a week away from opening night, the experience has been just magical. Working with such a great team of people has been so rewarding. The choreography and direction from Abdel Salaam is breath-taking and the music of Grammy Award winner Marcus Hummon is simply undeniable. I LOVE the music. Beautiful pop/theater melodies with classical roots makes me wonder why TUT is not a musical being played all over the world. Soon enough soon enough;-) Hear for yourself and check out the link from one of the rehearsals!

N’Kenge performs “It is a Hunger” from the musical TUT