Savannah Fisher is returning to Wharton Center this week performing in Jesus Christ Superstar and GLAMoms had the opportunity to chat with this fellow Michigander before her visit! She is kind and enthusiastic, organized and grateful! Learn more about this Michigan native who knew from a young age she had a gift and how it was cultivated and so much more!
Welcome to Greater Lansing Area Moms, Savannah! We are so glad you are here!
Where are you calling from?
I am currently in New Jersey from my hotel room!
Noticed you have a 313 area code, does that mean you are originally from Michigan?
Yes, yes it does. I am from Detroit, went to Detroit School of Arts and my family is currently in Romulus.
When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
I have been acting since I was very young. My mom took me to auditions early. She learned I could sing in preschool. They surprised her at our preschool graduation and I had a singing solo. My whole family was surprised I could sing.
I started doing musicals in 5th grade and the first musical I attended was Suessical and also the first one I was in.
It was so fun. I’ve always been a singer and a dancer and I went to school at Detroit School of Arts for vocal performance. I had to decide what I wanted to do in college and then professionally.
I decided that I wanted to mix everything I loved together and everything I was gifted with. I thought, I can do musicals. I love to sing and act and dance at the same time and have been doing musicals since 10th grade.
I think my solidifying moment when I declared to myself when I wanted to be on Broadway was my senior year of high school.
How many cities have you visited for Jesus Christ Superstar?
So many. 30-40 cities throughout the United States and we were in Canada for a couple of weeks.
Are you based out of Detroit or do you live in New York City?
I am based out of Detroit but I moved to NYC about two years ago. My family is still in the Detroit area.
I like NYC and I was able to move with my partner who is also an incredible performer and one of my friends from college. We all went to the same program at Western Michigan – the Musical Theatre Performance Program. Then we went to New York City and we were in the heart of Broadway.
It sounds like early on, people around you identified you had a gift. Do you have a mentor or someone you are especially grateful for the influence they had on you and your story?
The first was my very first Music Teacher, Christopher Smith. He is the one who showed me the first musical in fifth grade and my Music Teacher since first grade. He was the first person who really saw this great talent in me and he provided opportunities (ie. solos in choir, helped me record auditions for Interlochen and Blue Lake, picking out songs). He spent a lot of extra time cultivating my gifts. He was a really great teacher for me.
He also introduced me to my first community theatre I worked with as well. He is an incredible, kind and talented person. And he is coming to East Lansing to see the show.
And second. Miss Connie Malabed. My high school music teacher. She is beautiful, wonderful and incredible. And as a black woman she is someone I can really look up to. She would also stay after for hours to help and coach me and I would say my voice grew so much because of her assistance.
She believed in me and she put me in places to thrive and always saw more in me than I saw in myself. Whenever I wanted to give up or I didn’t think that something would work she was hard on me in a motherly loving way and never let me quit.
She made room for me to do my best. She was part of an education I would not have gotten anywhere else. Connie has been really awesome and a very inspirational person.
You mentioned you went to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp?
I did go to Blue Lake for two years. My parents still tell me stories that by the end of the camp I was such a different performer and person. They saw so much growth in me and saw all of the work I had done and said they barely recognized me. I am glad they let me go. I really enjoyed Blue Lake.
What part will you be playing in Jesus Christ Superstar?
I am a soul singer and I get to play the part with two other beautiful ladies in the featured ensemble roles. I also get to dance (which is awesome).
Have you been to Wharton Center before?
I have. It is a full circle this year. Last year I was at Wharton Center for the national tour of Dog Man: the Musical and after that, I started with Jesus Christ Superstar.
Dog Man: the Musical was so fun. It was great to be part of the first musical theatre performance experience for so many little kids. I was so grateful to get to do that for them in the same way it was done for me. I am in a position now because I saw a beautiful black person on stage when I was their age and thought – I can do that. I loved that tour. It will be crazy going back to the venue a year later in a very different show.
And actually just recently some friends from Dog Man: the Musical surprised me and came to a show. I am so grateful to have people on these contracts that I can call my friends and my theatre family.
What is your pre show routine?
I come to the theatre about an hour earlier than I am supposed to and I do my hair, makeup, and get dressed.
And then it depends on what I am needing that day. I will go into meditation, or sit and close my eyes for a bit and do some deep breathing. I really try to focus on my breath in the show because I feel like that is what brings the show to life. The show is really told through the dancing and I have to prepare my body a lot before.
Also we all get together backstage and we stand in a circle, hold hands and we take three deep breaths all together and then we share something, or a prayer – we take what they need from it and my wonderful friend in the cast tells everyone that they have their back. After that I stretch and hype myself up until it is time to enter the stage.
What do you always travel with to make it seem more like home?
My stuffed animal. She is a bunny and her name is Bunny. And she goes everywhere with me. And I will never ever leave her in the hotel room.
I also travel with a blanket that my partner gave me. It is really warm and makes me think of home.
A lot of people travel with lots of different things and I may bring more on my next tour.
Early riser or night owl?
I tend to stay up too late. If I get up too early, I can be a little cranky. I sometimes do better on less sleep and would say night owl. I do like the morning shows better. So maybe a little bit of both.
Messy or neat?
Neat. I like my space neat and learned that from my dad. He made sure I made my bed, put things away and really implemented that into my life. It makes me feel so harmonious and peaceful when my space is decluttered. I feel a little incomplete when things are out of order.
Starbucks or Biggby?
Oooooh… Starbucks. And I do like the ham and Swiss croissant.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot in Michigan?
Up north. I used to go to Double JJ Ranch when I was a kid and it was the most magical place ever. Waterslides and tubes and horseback riding and campfires and just a favorite place of mine.
Text or call?
Text. It is easier if I can see it. Then I can take my time to respond in a way that I feel I would be understood more.
Strangest thing in your makeup bag.
Hmmm. Let’s look and see. (hear her looking through her bag) Lots of books.
And makeup – black eyeshadow. Dark, midnight black I wear during the show and the rest of my makeup is neutrals and browns and peachy and this is just very prominent and black.
Or my Tums.
Is there a souvenir or something you get or do from each location you visit?
I mostly try to go somewhere I have never been if it is safe. A park or a neighborhood or a walk around and go see something and do something memorable. It then feels like I really explored the place. I take a lot of photos. Hopefully I can print those out someday and put them somewhere.
How old do you think kids should be to see Jesus Christ Superstar?
It is crazy because I have seen so many young children – one time I heard a baby cry. This was created in the 70’s and there is a wide range of ages of those who come. Most appropriately though, maybe 10 and up. There is a message for everyone.
Thank you Savannah for chatting with us and we hope to see you this week at Wharton Center!
Also special thank you to Wharton Center for making these fun and engaging conversions possible. We have enjoyed learning more about so many incredible people during the 2022-2023 season at Wharton Center and are grateful for the opportunity.
If you are interested in tickets, or learning more about Jesus Christ Superstar, visit whartoncenter.com for information.