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Tony and Grammy Nominee Orfeh: “You ain’t sayin’ nothin’ but a word!”

Some of the “movements” I’m most passionate about (anti bullying, Adopt Don’t Shop to name a few) already exist but if I could get people onboard with “movements”, I’d first start with basic cleanliness and consideration for others! I cannot tell you what it does to me when I see ANYONE over the age of […]

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Some of the “movements” I’m most passionate about (anti bullying, Adopt Don’t Shop to name a few) already exist but if I could get people onboard with “movements”, I’d first start with basic cleanliness and consideration for others! I cannot tell you what it does to me when I see ANYONE over the age of 6 cough/sneeze without covering themselves up. As I’ve mentioned, I’m an actual germaphobe. Let’s learn to be more conscientious! And also, a movement of respect, kindness and understanding. Rudeness has literally NO PLACE in my life and I won’t tolerate it happening in my vicinity either. It’s SO MUCH EASIER and less taxing on your mental and physical health to not be a douche! To the absolute extent of my abilities, I make it my business to always do the right and just thing and not just because it’s a “trend”.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Tony and Grammy Award nominee Orfeh. Orfeh most recently starred as Kit De Luca in Pretty Woman the Musical on Broadway (Broadway.com audience choice awards). Other favorite Broadway credits include Paulette in Legally Blonde: The Musical (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, Broadway.com Audience Award), Saturday Night Fever, Fascinating Rhythm, Footloose. Off Broadway: Love, Loss, and What I Wore, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Love, Janis. TV/Film: Netflix’s The Good Cop, Sleeping with the Fishes (with Gina Rodgriguez), Across the Universe, Film U, L&O CI, L&O SVU, Sex and the City, Chappelle’s Show. She has performed at Lincoln Center with her husband, Olivier Award winner and Three time Tony nominee Andy Karl, and at Carnegie Hall with Tituss Burgess. Her extensive recording career includes leading the ’90s pop group Or-N-More and she has performed with many music legends from the O’Jays to Chaka Kahn. Her solo CD, “What Do You Want From Me,” latest single, “Forget My Name,” and live album “Orfeh & Andy Karl: Legally Bound — Live at Feinstein’s/54 Below” are available on iTunes. Twitter: @official_orfeh, Instagram: @orfeh.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I’m a proud NYC native. Grew up in Murray Hill. A responsible latch-key kid and an only child which gave me a lot of time to play pretend and sing in the house when my mother was at work. Spent hours on my toy phone until I was old enough to get my own line. All that imagination time definitely helped when I went to summer camp and performed in the shows we’d put on. I ended up playing leads like Snoopy and a Von Trapp in Sound Of Music, etc. It became clear that others liked what I was doing which reinforced what I knew was a calling to become a performer.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

After my amateur appearances at summer camp, I applied to The High School of the Performing Arts (the original FAME school) and got in after an exhaustively intense audition process. Notable people in or near my class were JENNIFER ANNISTON, CHAZ BONO, DONDRE’ WHITFIELD and the list goes on! Academics came easy so I was able to work on my acting, singing and dancing skills which is where my heart was. That’s when I met a kid named Mike More, an extremely gifted musician (who would tell you so himself). With his confidence and our skills we formed a pop-R&B duo fresh off the tails of my senior year called OR-N-More.

Being young and brave and driven, we landed a rather “big time”record deal with EMI records (and future big shot Ron Fair). Soon, constant song writing, studio session, photo shoots and music videos became our day to day existence and we created a terrific album which had a song that debuted on the Top 40 Billboard charts and an even higher slot on the “club play” dance charts. All of the sudden, we were on the road playing clubs and segued immediately to stadiums opening for groups like multi platinum group, C&C Music Factory.

But the music business is very tough and very fickle. So much has to line up to ‘make it’ and because of mismanagement, a corporate split at the label and a partnership becoming unstable, OR-N-MORE became no more.

But in an interesting turn of events, one of my dancers from my bands music videos and concerts was hired to choreograph the Broadway show Footloose. He told the producers about me and they auditioned me. I guess my brief experience doing musicals in a (predominantly) sports summer camp, paid off because I was thrust into a Broadway debut. And this is the ultra short version 🙂

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I wouldn’t call this “funny” but the most expensive lesson I learned was to ALWAYS “manage” your OWN MONEY!! The label hooked us up with one of the most “legendary business/money mangers” of the time. It was a “right of passage to have him on your team”, we were repeatedly assured…guess what, apparently, the right of passage was actually getting egregiously ripped off, left penniless all while HE bought gold bathtubs.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The list would be long if I mentioned everyone. So I’ll mention two for now. My latest performance on Broadway was the musical of the hit movie Pretty Woman. My friend and director Jerry Mitchell (whom I’d previously worked with in Legally Blonde on Broadway) asked me to play the role of Kit DeLuca, and wouldn’t stop talking to me about it until I said ‘YES’. It’s good and RARE to have someone in your corner, championing you who’s that prominent and loyal in the entertainment industry, let alone the Theater world. The other would be my step-father, Stephen, (who raised me) Before he passed away (at an unfortunately young age), he was a big influence on me. He was excited about life and always encouraged my talent as a child. He hooked up my first headshot session, took me to my first commercial audition, the list is endless…The standard is VERY high when it comes to comparing people to him.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

It’s hard not to take things personally in this business but when it comes to getting or not getting a certain role or a record deal or an opportunity, “it’s never personal”. My success comes from being able to adjust from one part of the business to another and knowing my strengths. If I had been too “devastated” to keep moving after my deeply beloved (and successful) music career literally imploded while the single was climbing the charts, I’d have never agreed to even consider Footloose as a “next step”. With that said, you can never judge your success based on other people. Like any really good story, success comes from the journey that most likely took you somewhere you didn’t expect. Stay smart, hyper aware, flexible and ready to change.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

My husband (Andy Karl) and I are constantly coming up with ideas and writing scripts based on how we think and view the world. It’s fun and exciting to create something of your own. We also have a concert career that takes us around the country and we can add and change songs and stories and get to perform and talk to people from all over.

We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

First and foremost, this conversation is LONG overdue! Talent is talent, emotion is emotion, strength is strength and all cultures, races, genders and identities should be included and celebrated!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I’d say it goes back to the “it’s never personal” thought process. The BUSINESS of Entertainment is a very expensive business. It’s about THEIR bottom line, or image of a character, etc… it’s not because they didn’t “like your shoes” and if that ACTUALLY WAS what it was about….SCREW THEM! You don’t want to work with those people anyway!

Look straight ahead, not to the left, or right or behind you… You have no idea why someone got to where they got instead of, or before, after you etc…

It’s seemingly a cliche but it truly IS A MARATHON and not a sprint…I’m so thrilled and grateful now (as miserable as I was about it then) that I didn’t “peak” at 24!

MIND YOUR business!

Never stop moving, never stop creating! (Easier said than done)!

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.

First, I’m a germaphobe. My routines have always been about keeping things clean. I drive my husband crazy sometimes but he’s tall and can reach the tops of shelves and refrigerators for dust.

Second, my mind is on (literally), all the time. Even my dreams are very vivid and extreme. I write in a journal daily. The act of writing things down helps me look at them objectively instead of festering on things. And no, I do not meditate and yes, I’ve tried!

And lastly, I’m not a prude but I rarely drink. It puts me to sleep, but I also think it keeps the doctors away…have the apple once a day not the apple-tini.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One that immediately comes to mind is from my all time favorite indie film, JUICE when Tupac says, “You ain’t sayin’ nothin’ but a word!”

I love that quote because it’s the best response to use when people talk trash or negatively. It’s all just words. Some words motivate us to think and act in the right way, others want to stop us or have an opinion/reason to hate. I can choose which ones to listen to.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Some of the “movements” I’m most passionate about (anti bullying, Adopt Don’t Shop to name a few) already exist but if I could get people onboard with “movements”, I’d first start with basic cleanliness and consideration for others! I cannot tell you what it does to me when I see ANYONE over the age of 6 cough/sneeze without covering themselves up. As I’ve mentioned, I’m an actual germaphobe. Let’s learn to be more conscientious! And also, a movement of respect, kindness and understanding. Rudeness has literally NO PLACE in my life and I won’t tolerate it happening in my vicinity either. It’s SO MUCH EASIER and less taxing on your mental and physical health to not be a douche! To the absolute extent of my abilities, I make it my business to always do the right and just thing and not just because it’s a “trend”.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Long list!! Big table!! LOT of chairs!! 🙂

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