Triple-threat Natascia Diaz makes Strathmore debut -- Gazette.Net


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Much like her body of work, singer, dancer and actress Natascia Diaz’s Strathmore debut will showcase a variety of genres.

“I straddle and encompass many different styles,” Diaz said. “I run the gamut from rock musicals to more [traditional] musicals. I don’t want to be constricted to one idea.”

Instead, Diaz said she will sing a variety of tunes during her two cabaret shows Saturday night.

“There’s a song from ‘Seussical,’ songs I sing from parts I would like to play,” Diaz said. “I’ll even slide one pop tune in there.”

But all of the songs will have one thing in common; their special significance to Diaz.

“I chose to stick with songs that have meant something to me,” Diaz said. “I almost look at it like the show will be an opportunity to look under the hood and [the audience] can join me in the meaning of this; what it means to me personally.”

The daughter of renowned opera singer Justino Diaz and professional ballerina Anna Aragno, it seemed Diaz was destined to become a performer.

“It’s in my blood, it was in my house,” Diaz said. “I was always like this, I was never intrigued by anything else.”

Though new to Strathmore’s stage, Diaz is hardly a stranger in the Washington, D.C., theater scene. She is a two-time Helen Hayes Award recipient — first in 2009 for her role as Scottish punk rocker Monica P. Miller in the musical “Rooms” at MetroStage and then in 2012 for her performance in the theater’s production of “Jaques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.”

“There’s a strong-knit community here in D.C.,” Diaz said. “I found an artistic home in Washington.”

Diaz’s credits include three Broadway productions: “Capeman,” “Seussical,” and the 2004 revival of “Man of La Mancha.” But the performer said it is the nation’s capital that has cultivated her development into a triple-threat.

“I want to do dramatic roles in meaty plays. I want to dance and I love to sing,” Diaz said. “In this town, I have been able to realize the maximum potential of those skills. I’ve gotten to play the gamut of roles from the spider woman to this scrappy little Scottish punk rocker … to a beautiful Russian princess.”

But Diaz’s toughest role may have been playing herself. She was one of a handful of actors depicted in Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern’s 2008 documentary, “Every Little Step.”

The film follows the process of the casting of the 2006 Broadway revival of “A Chorus Line.”

“I went in for [the part of] Diana and Cassie and I showed up the first day and there were all of these piles of paper on the desk,” Diaz said. “I was with 25 other women and they said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to be filming this audition, we’re going to need you to sign this.”

While several dancers objected, Diaz said she was so desperate to get the job she “just signed it.”

None of the participants were aware that the footage would later be used for the documentary. Though Diaz ultimately did not get the part, she said “Every Little Step,” has been one of the greatest gifts in her career.

“The response has been staggering to me,” Diaz said. “I’ve had people come up to me on the subway saying, ‘You should have gotten Cassie’ … Usually the person who doesn’t get the job doesn’t get seen, but I did and that was almost better. That is the biggest consolation prize an actor could ask for.”

Diaz said she is looking forward to the opportunity to simply be herself on stage at Strathmore on Saturday night.

“For me, the difference here is I’m not in a story, I don’t have lines,” Diaz said. “This is me without having to put on a costume and be somebody else.”

chedgepeth@gazette.net