Growing up in Rocky Mount, Va., Myxolydia Tyler loved watching local theater company Jack Tale Players. "I was in awe of how they told stories, and then I saw 'A Raisin in the Sun' on a high school theater trip, and that began my love affair with theater."
Tyler, 32, who now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., has steadily appeared on the stage since then. She's currently starring in Center Stage's production of the Broadway hit "The Mountaintop" (running since Jan. 9, the show's opening night is tonight and runs through Feb. 24). It's a powerful, fictional document of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last day of life at the Lorraine Hotel. Tyler plays a hotel maid who meets King and challenges his perspectives.
She first saw "The Mountaintop" during Broadway previews last fall. "I had the same experience I did when I saw 'A Raisin in the Sun,'" she said. "Time stopped and the message of passing on the baton in good times and difficult times in our history struck me in a powerful way."
In between performances, Tyler took time to chat with us about her battle with red meat, the role she's dying to play and more.
Worst pet peeve? When people mispronounce words to sound proper. i.e. saying the "l" in salmon, the word irregardless.
What song are you hating/loving right now? I listen to NPR but what's on repeat on my iPod right now is Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black."
Last concert/gig you went to? Last major concert was the Prince Musicology tour.
Your first acting role? A nun in "The Sound of Music."
Your worst habit? Picking my teeth.
Trend that has exceeded its natural lifespan? "American Idol."
Last movie you liked/disliked? Liked: "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Disliked: "The Master"
TV shows you can't get enough of? "Game of Thrones"
Food you hate? It's more of a food that hates me — red meat.
Role you're dying to play? Viola in "Twelfth Night."
Last great meal you had? Mrs. Bernice Gordon's seafood jambalaya.
Favorite and most loathed fashion statements? I loathe glasses with no lenses. I love long loose fitted tops with skinny jeans.
Your favorite actor working today? Sophie Okonedo.
Best advice you ever got? When you have done everything you can do to stand ... stand
Favorite thing about Baltimore? The Ravens. Kakaw!
AS TOLD TO JORDAN BARTEL