15 Questions in 15 Minutes with Badia Farha

Famous to theater-lovers (for well more than a Warholian fifteen minutes) for her engaging performances and powerhouse vocals in Broadway’s School of Rock, the 1st National Broadway Tour of Little Shop of Horrors and the International/National Tour of Rent, Off-Broadway’s Sistas: The Musical and Joe Iconis’s Broadway Bounty Hunter (in which she was involved since its inception), among many other stage credits, Badia Farha is fresh off a special guest appearance with Iconoclast Theatre Collective, debuting songs from their musical-in-progress The 13th Child by Erik Ransom and Andy Peterson.

Badia Farha in Broadway Bounty Hunter. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

The New York-based North Jersey native and resident, who earned her BA from Kean University and MA from NYU, is also known for her screen appearances in such popular TV shows as A Gifted Man and All My Children and the web series Book Club. And in the coming year she will be reviving her commissioned show From Ella to Amy, which she performed live on rooftops across NYC for eight months during the pandemic.

Next up for Farha, in June, is The Gospel According to Heather, a new pop musical by Paul Gordon, directed and choreographed by Rachel Klein, and playing a limited Off-Broadway engagement at Theater 555. Set in small-town Ohio, the story grapples with politics, religion, and teenage romance, as Heather navigates her way through high school with the advice and support of her teacher Mrs. Parker, played by Farha, who sees how special Heather is and encourages her to be herself.

I had the chance to chat with Badia before she begins rehearsals for the upcoming show, to give our readers a chance to get to know a little more about her, her background, and her well-deserved fame as a performer.

Badia Farha. Photo by SneakPeek Photography.
  1. What do you love most about the theater?

Badia: In the theater, you MUST tell the truth; if it’s not truthful, it shows in your performance.

  1. What came first for you, acting or singing?

Singing. I always wanted to be a singer; every morning I would wake up, listen to music, and sing along.

  1. Who has been the biggest inspiration in your career?

My husband. He’s a retired NFL linebacker, who played for ten years and won a Super Bowl championship. Being around someone like him, who’s so accomplished and successful, pushes me. It takes relentlessness, and he’s so inspiring.

  1. What’s your first creative memory?

I was probably in fourth grade when I asked my music teacher if I could sing a solo – “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston. She said, “Uh . . . ok . . .” She wasn’t sure I was ready, but she let me. I ended up singing it for virtually every event at all the schools and municipalities in Northern NJ and it got my career going. Being so young and assertive, I knew this was what I wanted to do!

Spencer Garrett and Badia Farha in Windfall, Bay Street Theater, Sag Harbor. Photo by Lenny Stucker.
  1. Which of the characters you’ve played on stage did you find most relatable?

Kate in Windfall, which I did last summer at Bay Street Theatre, in Sag Harbor, directed by Jason Alexander. She’s a hardworking woman with a 9 to 5 day job at an office. She dislikes her boss, all her friends are her office co-workers, and she’s living a mundane existence that isn’t really making her happy. As with many jobs, they have a work pool to buy lottery tickets, so she’s hoping it will change her life. She ends up finding herself, by trying to reach that intangible dream. I think it’s something everyone can relate to – being in a situation you don’t like and wanting to make a change.

  1. What’s the most memorable reaction you’ve ever gotten from an audience member?

It was the first time I stepped out of the stage door of a Broadway show, and there were masses of people waiting for my autograph! I wasn’t expecting it, and my friend Jason, who did the wigs for the production, took a photo and had a print of it made for me, which I kept on my dressing room mirror.

  1. Is there one classic role or show you’d like to play in the future?

Phantom, in The Phantom of the Opera. It’s my dream role; I would be amazing!

  1. Do you have a favorite song you never get tired of singing?

Yes! I never tire of “Don’t Explain” by Billie Holiday. In high school, my music teacher gave me the song. I learned it then, and as I’ve gotten older, I understand it on a deeper level. I bring my own experience and my own voice to it, and I think the audience sits up and takes notice.

  1. What three things do you always have in your dressing room?

Pictures of my husband and my kids. Music. And water.

Badia Farha in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Jason Nuttle.
  1. What three emotions do you feel when you take the stage?

Joy, excitement, and awareness. By awareness I mean that I like to put myself in the moment – to be present and grounded, to give and to receive an emotional connection.

  1. Casual or dazzling – which style of clothing do you prefer wearing?

Since the pandemic, I would say casual, but with some kind of dazzle to it – an accessory, an extra something-something that says I see you!

  1. What do enjoy most about touring?

Every place I go, I like to visit vintage shops, boutiques, and thrift stores, to get things you can’t find anywhere else – clothes, art, specialties from different states that aren’t in my particular area and culture from different parts of the world.

  1. What do you do for fun when you have some time off?

I spend time with my husband and kids; I have two girls, Creya and Alanna – Crelanna! – eleven and twelve. Since I’m working so much, I’m not always around, so when I am, I like to do things with them.

Badia Farha. Photo by SneakPeek Photography.
  1. What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Driven. Creative. Goodpeeps! [I can definitely second that!]

  1. What’s the greatest thing about fame?

For me, the best thing is that it makes it easier. You have access to people and things you want to do, with opportunities to do a plethora of things because people believe in you and can justify you being paid for your worth.

Thanks, Badia, for a fun conversation (for way more than fifteen minutes!) and for sharing your thoughts with us. I look forward to seeing you on stage again in June, at Theater 555!

The Gospel According to Heather plays Wednesday, June 14-Sunday, July 9, 2023, at Amas Musical Theatre, performing at Theater 555, 555 West 42nd Street, NYC. For tickets (priced at $29-59, plus fees), go online.


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