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5 Questions with Nicole Parker, vocalist for As Heard on TV

Tuesday, April 14th, and the afternoon and evening of April 15th sees the TSO Pops present As Heard on TV. The concert takes place at Roy Thomson Hall, with TSO Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke, along with vocalist Nicole Parker. The actress and comedian is perhaps best known from her time at MADtv, or from playing Elphaba on Broadway in Wicked.

This is going to be a memorable presentation of TV songs and themes, including a very memorable song from Smash, a rendition of the Game of Thrones theme, an exploration of Jim Henson’s Musical World, the classic Down With Love, and The Judy Garland Show tribute.

We spoke to Nicole Parker from her home in Los Angeles, where she cracked us up more than a few times, and promised a number of surprises for AS HEARD ON TV.

Scene Creek: I assume that you are singing during the tribute to Judy Garland?

Nicole Parker: There is a little tribute to Judy Garland, yes. Because of course, The Judy Garland Show. We are paying tribute to music that was on your television. One of the big pieces of the show, and it’s one of my favourites, is a gigantic TV Theme Show singalong. And it’s fun to see how much people remember. I had to memorize a few myself. I realized that I didn’t know all the lyrics to Gilligan’s Island. But that’s really fun. There’s a lot of audience participation. And yes, some surprises in that vein as well.

SC: Gilligan’s Island really gives you an idea of what is to come, doesn’t it?

NP: Perfect exposition for Gilligan’s Island. You know us Americans are like “Uhh, we don’t wanna work”, or “how can I be entertained immediately, without working too hard?”

SC: What do you think makes for a good TV Theme Song?

NP: One of my favourites is Golden Girls, which again, doesn’t necessarily, I mean it sort of tells the story, but by the end of the show, I understand that these women are friends, and they’ve been friends for a long time, and not only because they’re older. The combination of what you’re seeing visually, with the song, just makes me want to watch it. Sometimes, maybe it’s aesthetically pleasing, like Family Ties, now Cheers is a good one which I think combines both, it’s going to be set in a bar where everybody knows your name, but it’s also a pleasant song everyone knows, and everyone loves to sing. Something that should be catchy. But maybe it could convey the mood of the show. Wow, I should teach a College course.

SC: What do you like to watch on TV?

NP: I watch a lot of TV shows, not only because it’s my area, but because I’ve got a lot of friends on them. I try to watch all of the shows that I have friends on, and it doesn’t leave a lot of room for, The Walking Dead, if you will. I have to watch because otherwise I will very lost as to which zombie that are killing when and where. I do watch Game of Thrones, which my husband made me watch because he read all of the books. I love that show. There are great female characters on that show. And I was a huge Breaking Bad fan, and I watch Better Call Saul which is the prequel to that show. But other than that, my friends’ shows, you know, The Mindy Project and Modern Family, and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which was just on Netflix Canada. So you know, I’m a fan of the comedies generally. I love Jeff Richmond’s scores, for that show and for 30 Rock, it’s a very fun, but almost cartoonish in a way, but for adults. Right. Very entertaining, almost like its own character. I love that. The theme song is ridiculously catchy.

SC: Do you have any surprises planned? Props?

NP: As for props, there may be some impressions, but you’ll have to come to the show to see who.

For more information and to purchase tickets for As Heard on TV, go to http://www.tso.ca/en-ca/concerts-and-tickets/2014-2015-Season/EventDetails/As-Heard-on-TV.aspx