Slidell’s Ayvah Johnson Brings Young Tina Turner to Life in Breakthrough Role
The passing of the “Queen of Rock & Roll,” Tina Turner reminds us all to live large – especially women considered “past their prime.”
Currently, the Broadway tour of TINA – The Tina Turner Musical has only one Gulf Coast show left. It happens in Fort Myers, Florida, February 27 – March 3, 2024. (Lucky us, 2024 is a leap year!) This delightful interview happened on the occasion of the tour passing through New Orleans. Young actress Ayvah Johnson who plays “Young Anna Mae” is a Slidell, Louisiana native. As always, Kelley Crawford’s interviews are on-point, but this one especially so, as it was conducted by fellow young women, close to Ayvah’s age. – Editor
This edition of “Artists in Their Own Words” from Tulane’s Via NOLA Vie takes a new spin. Eighth graders from Louise S. McGehee School in New Orleans were invited to interview neighboring Slidell youngster Ayvah Johnson. Johnson plays young Anna Mae (aka young Tina Turner) with the touring Broadway company of TINA – The Tina Turner Musical.
Actress Ayvah Johnson appeared Zoom-screen ready with a smile and a “Let’s do this” attitude. This should come as no surprise. She started acting before some kids are even speaking. Johnson recalled how at age four, she performed “in maybe a theater of 200 people,” a lot for a four-year-old. “I kept telling myself that I had to say my line,” she shared with 18 sets of engaged ears. The students laughed when she confessed, “I thought I was going to going cry on stage.” She followed it up with a sigh and said, “but I didn’t. I said my line, and I was so proud of myself.”
The nods of understanding from all the girls in the Zoom segued right into the very direct and personal question. “You live in Slidell, right?” they asked. Ayvah smiled, said, “Yes” and then became ecstatic upon realizing that the girls talking with her were only 32 miles away.
“Wait, you all are in New Orleans?” she asked, as an expounding connective energy passed through the fourth wall of the Zoom screen…