MONDAY, SEPT. 21 — Imagine performing eight performances a week, each week in a new city, for almost a full year. For Adrian Baidoo, ensemble member in the touring production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” it’s just part of the lifestyle.
“I am a nomad,” joked Baidoo. “I still wake up and think, ‘What city am I in?’”
Being a nomad is nothing new for Baidoo. He was born in England and his family lived in Ghana for part of his childhood. His family lived briefly in California and then Philadelphia before settling in Pittsburgh.
“Pittsburgh feels like my American hometown,” said Baidoo.
It was in Pittsburgh that Baidoo discovered his love of acting. He became enamored with Tom Hank’s performance in “Forrest Gump.” Soon after he discovered the city’s rich theater scene.
“I just wanted to sink myself into acting any way I could,” said Baidoo.
But the New York-based actor does have a Michigan connection. Baidoo attended the University of Michigan, graduating with a degree in musical theater in 2013.
“Michigan has such a highly valued (musical theater) program,” he said. “I fell in love with the program when I did their summer program when I was 16. (Program director Brent Wagner) instilled a passion for musical theater in young kids. When it came time to audition for colleges, Michigan was my No. 1 choice.”
He moved to New York after graduation, and within four days had booked his first acting job. “Cinderella” is the actor’s first national tour.
Baidoo hits the Wharton Center stage Wednesday when the touring production of “Cinderella” comes to East Lansing. Even with 340 performances under his belt, the show hasn’t gotten stale for the young actor.
“It does not get old,” Baidoo said. “It really is amazing.”
This version of “Cinderella,” originally penned by Rogers and Hammerstein, features an updated book by Douglas Carter Beane.
“It really elevates the script,” said Baidoo. “It’s still the classic story, but it’s such an updated Cinderella. She’s very empowered. She fights for what she believes in.”
Baidoo is looking forward to spending some time at his old stomping grounds.
“As soon as the plane touches down, I’m going right to Ann Arbor,” he said. His plans include catching up with his professors — and grabbing a deep dish pie from Pizza House. He is thankful for all the lessons he learned from his professors, even if he didn’t appreciate it at the time.
“When you’re in school, you’re so antsy to get out there and be in the world,” he said. “But the knowledge they provided really stuck in my head and really served me well, even though I was so hard-headed and ready to do it all on my own. I wouldn’t be on this tour without their help.”
“I love hearing from people who come to the show,” he said. “It’s an amazing way for people to get a first-hand connection to the performers.”
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22-Thursday, Sept. 24; 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26; 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27
Tickets start at $38
750 E. Shaw Lane, East Lansing