ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Welcome to 9 Questions with…, an exclusive Spectrum Bay News 9 feature in which we get to know some of the Bay area’s movers and shakers a little better. It could be a politician, an artist, a first responder, a bartender—just about anyone, really. This week, we spoke with musician, actor and improv comedian Colleen Cherry. Is there someone you’d like to answer 9 Questions? Let us know!
What You Need To Know
- Spectrum Bay News 9's series spotlights notable members of the Tampa Bay community
- Colleen Cherry is a veteran multihyphenate performer in the Bay area
- Check back every week for a new "9 Questions with..."
Are you a Tampa Bay native? If not, where are you from?
I was born and raised in the area. I lived in NYC for a brief stint but there's no place like St. Pete.
How would you describe your job or claim to fame?
I'm a performing artist and non-profiteer. I've produced and performed in all kinds of theatrical and weird performance art events with my friends for the last 15 years. Currently, I'm an Artistic Associate and ensemble member with Jobsite Theater, the resident company at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, so many folks recognize me from their shows. I sing with the 20-piece band The Florida Bjorkestra and produce our (kinda sorta, THANKS COVID) annual Buffy the Vampire Slayer Festival at The Palladium. Pre-COVID I performed locally and around the country with American Stage's musical improv team Definitely Not Murderers. I also write and record songs about other people's pets—my latest side business. By day I work in development and run the volunteer program at SPCA Tampa Bay.
What’s your favorite Tampa Bay restaurant?
Senor Taco. The greatest Mexican food I've ever had.
Do you have a personal Tampa Bay “secret spot” and/or “hidden treasure”?
I'll reiterate, Senor Taco. Lassing Park is my favorite spot to set up my hammock or paddleboard out to the sandbar.
What is your favorite Tampa Bay tradition?
American Stage in the Park. I can't wait for that to come back with “Footloose”!
What’s one thing many people don’t know about you that you’re willing to share with us?
I'm pretty outwardly confident but I have wicked imposter syndrome. And then I have whatever that thing is called where I question if I'm even worthy of having imposter syndrome. Brains are dumb.
If you could change one thing about the Tampa Bay area or your community specifically, what would it be?
That more people would go to the dang theater. It's better than binge-watching Netflix, it's a great way to impress a date, it connects you with incredible stories and actual human beings which we could all use more of after this year of disconnect—win-win all around. Get thee to the theater!
Music is a big part of your performing life, from the theater shows to Florida Bjorkestra to your own ukulele videos. Which came first for you, music or acting, and is there a specific mode of performance that’s your favorite?
I've been singing since birth and my parents have the home videos to prove it. If you search real hard you'll find some solid early living room performances of mine that my dad put on YouTube. My mom signed me up for acting camp when I was 4 years old. Since then I haven't gone a year without performing on stage until 2020. I'm grateful to have mediums like YouTube to share all my ukulele songs for a virtual audience whenever I need to sing something out, but nothing compares to collaborating with other artists and making magic in front of a live audience. It's an energy unlike anything else in the universe and I've missed it so much.
What projects do you have coming up?
We're planning the return of Definitely Not Murderers so stay tuned for more musical improv madness later this year. I'm currently in rehearsals for Jobsite Theater's darkly hilarious musical Shockheaded Peter. Talk about making magic with some brilliant artists—our cast and band are absolutely incredible. I'm in my element getting to do everything from puppeteering a ten-foot stork, tap dancing, and playing bass. It's going to be a wild ride folks don't want to miss, running June 11th through June 27th at The Straz.