Christiane Noll apologizes when she answers her phone. The Broadway star is finishing up an important transaction: She's buying makeup at a New York department store.
Noll, who will perform the first weekend of the Orlando Cabaret Festival, is wrapping up some pre-vacation shopping. She and her family are taking a Disney cruise right before she visits Orlando from April 24-26.
And her Central Florida trip will most definitely include a stop at Walt Disney World, says Noll, the original Emma in Broadway's "Jekyll & Hyde" and Mother in the 2011 revival of "Ragtime."
She has a 5-year-old daughter, Rianna — but the Disney magic works equally on Noll.
"I'm a big Disney geek," says Noll, who contributed a voiceover to the Star Tours attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios. "I've been more to Disney World as an adult than as a child."
Rianna is already a theme-park veteran. This will be her third trip, and Noll is hoping it's a good one. Any parent who has led a family vacation will relate: There have been highs, such as seeing zebras at Animal Kingdom Lodge. And there have been lows, like a visit about two years ago.
"Oh, there were a lot of meltdowns," says Noll, laughing. "She was just at the age where hyper-stimulation proved too much."
At home in New Jersey, Noll's mother helps keep an eye on Rianna. Noll's husband, Jamie LaVerdiere, is also an actor so their schedules can be unpredictable.
"We're really lucky," Noll says. "I have a really great mom, and she lives only about half an hour from us."
Rianna had some prenatal stage experience.
"I was eight months pregnant when I auditioned" for the role of Mother in 'Ragtime,'" Noll says. "It was kind of cheating — an unfair advantage." When she won the part, Rianna accompanied her to rehearsals.
It's sort of a family tradition. Noll's mother, soprano Sara-Ann Noll, told the New York Times that she did the same. "I had her on a Saturday and went back to rehearsal on Monday," she told the Times in 2000.
Family is the focus of her cabaret, Noll says. She wrote the show after her father's death in 2008.
"There were a lot of things I wanted to think about and pay tribute to him," she says. Her father, Ron, was an Emmy-winning musician who managed the music library for CBS. Many of the songs in Noll's cabaret come from his extensive collection.
"They're songs I heard growing up that inspired me while I was forming myself," she says. "They're songs that have been with me for a long period of time."
Noll uses the songs to help tell stories.
"They're all specific to particular times in my life," she says of the songs. "People will learn a lot about me — more than they need to!"
Noll's career also includes starring roles in "Urinetown," "Grease" and "Miss Saigon." She has sung with the Cincinnati Pops, the Jerusalem Symphony and starred with Placido Domingo in Washington National Opera's production of "The Merry Widow" at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
She hopes the audience leaves her Orlando cabaret inspired and perhaps more appreciative of their own upbringing.
"That's the point of my show," she says. "When I think of how I was brought up and the gifts I was given by my parents, I'm just passing those gifts on to my family."
• What: Headliner for the opening weekend of the Orlando Cabaret Festival
• Where: Mad Cow Theatre, 54 W. Church St., Orlando
• When: Noll is the guest for the opening-night fundraiser, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24. She also performs at 8:30 p.m. April 25-26.
• Tickets: $55 for opening-night fundraiser; $35-$65 for other performances
• What else: Future headliners are Nicholas Rodriguez (May 1-3) and Laura Benanti (May 9-10). There are also daytime and evening performances by local artists, including a lunchtime series. Tickets at lunchtime are $12-$17.
• Call: 407-297-8788
• Online: orlandocabaretfestival.com