On Juneteenth, Broadway came back with a bang, as Black performers from various Broadway musicals took to the stage on Broadway and sang to the public free of charge. One of those performers was a young woman whose vocal instrument blew me away. She will be part of the cast of the upcoming Broadway musical “Caroline, or Change,” and her name is Anastacia McCleskey. Prior to the Broadway musical, audiences will have the opportunity to hear her gorgeous voice as she performs at Feinstein’s/54 Below Supper Club at 254 W 54th Street in “Hello Beautiful Spirits” on August 12, 2021 at a 9:45pm show.
McCleskey recently sat down with the AmNews to talk about her upcoming show. Explaining where the show’s name came from, McCleskey said, “’Hello Beautiful Spirits’ was a way I greeted people for a while. Trying my best to look beyond exteriors, while connecting with people on a more spiritual level. Over the past sixteen months it become a part of my own daily affirmations. With Broadway shutting down on March 13, 2020 indefinitely and us living through two pandemics. I had to get creative, sit still, and do some internal work on self.”
The actress candidly shared why she had to do this production. “Healing knows no space or time. It becomes a process of life that when you dig deep enough, forces you to see parts of yourself that can be frightening and inspiring. 2020 was that forced process for me,” McCleskey said. The actress recalled that through self-discovery, a year of trauma and pain, she found freedom and the calling to inspire others. Freedom in her Blackness, freedom in her femininity, freedom in her queerness, and the freedom to love God openly in her own way.
Describing the bill of fare, McCleskey said, “My show will be a mix of songs I grew up with. A combination of Soft rock, R&B/funk, and gospel songs. Mashed up with personal videos, poetry, and pictures I took/created last year as a way of healing.”
To those who see the show, McCleskey remarked, “I want people to be inspired and not fear doing their own reflective self work. Gaining their own inner peace and finding freedom in that. We live in a world that encourages people to assimilate and conform to the constructs of society. While degrading or putting down people who are unique, different, weird, or who stand in their authentic truths.”
If McCleskey, a Nashville, Tennessee native, looks familiar to you, it’s not surprising, she has quite a body of work already. Most recently she has played Dr. Phylicia Elder on NBC’s “New Amsterdam,” Opal on CBS’s “The Good Fight,” was an Original DIVA from Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Nurse Norma in Waitress and while an ensemble member in “Caroline, Or Change” she is also the standby for the lead role of Caroline. She’s been featured in the Broadway companies of Violet, The Book of Mormon, Hair, Tarzan, the 1st National tour of Hairspray and traveled across Asia with The New York Harlem Singers. You can also catch her weekly on the web series “I Take The Zoe” as Rhonda.
McCleskey will be joined on stage by her friends Kayla Davion and Tyrone Davis Jr. There is a $35-$75 cover charge and $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at www.54Below.com. Use Code: ANASTACIA35. Tickets on the day of performance after 4pm are only available by calling (646) 476-3551.