Tears of joy flowed for a stellar performance by Cynthia Erivo at the close of her Friday visit on “CBS This Morning." The British singer and actress for television and stage makes quite the impression with her wardrobe, along with her striking blonde hair, not to mention her voice that is powerful enough to move a mountain. Her Jan. 6 sit-down with co-hosts, Charlie Rose, Gayle King, and Norah O'Donnell, covered all the highlights of her spectacular Broadway year, and ended with a very touching and unexpected surprise.
There were plenty of magnificent topics to discuss with Cynthia Erivo, and she playfully laughed with the tease from Gayle King about getting the “magenta and black” memo. Matters soon turned to all that the stage actress has to be thankful for in this magnificent year, and first among them is how her role of Celie has “changed my life, really,” going far beyond the gleaming hardware on her mantle. Unable to single out just one reason why the acting adventure has meant so much, whether the depth of the role, or that “it made me search to such depths within myself,” or the life-changing recognition that is now heaped upon Cynthia Erivo, her life from now on will be very different. She took home the Tony award for Best Actress in a Musical last June, and that comes while sharing the stage with the unforgettable Jennifer Hudson. She will be closing out her run in the production this Sunday, the same day as her birthday, and there won't be any successor following Cynthia Erivo. Producer, Scott Sanders, insists, “nobody can step into this role” after Cynthia, so the curtain will close, but her career is on track for the stars. She has been called “incomparable” and “a force of nature” in her portrayal of the intrepid, unstoppable sister in search of Nettie. No one knows whether her star will one day glow as brightly as that of musical grande dame, Audra McDonald, but no one would be surprised. Like McDonald, the lady from across the pond has already made her mark on American theater.
Cynthia Erivo breathes a life-force into the character of Celie, in large part because she never views the original Alice Walker character, as downtrodden, but instead, as a resilient survivor, who never relinquishes her search for her sibling and family, and never lets go of the power of love. “She's an ultimate survivor,” proclaims the star. Besides Broadway accolades, Cynthia Erivo survived running a marathon this year, in strong style. She also went with another bold choice, going blonde, and agrees that people may respond differently, because, “it's such an adventuresome choice” it allows them to take down their guard. She brought down the house with two performances for President and Mrs. Obama, and Kennedy Center honorees. When Oprah Winfrey appeared on a video, exclaiming her “heart of gratitude” to Cynthia Erivo for “transcending the moment” and what her gift has brought “to an extraordinary play, to this musical, to her words,” the dynamic stage presence could not contain her tears, explaining how deeply she was touched “by someone I admire so much.” This is a star destined to be gathering her own admirers for countless productions to come.