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Jessica Stone and Wade McCollum talk about ‘Water for Elephants’

Director Jessica Stone and performer Wade McCollum chatted about being a part of “Water for Elephants” on Broadway at the 2024 Drama Desk Awards red carpet.

Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone. Photo Credit: Tricia Baron
Jessica Stone. Photo Credit: Tricia Baron

Director Jessica Stone and performer Wade McCollum chatted about being a part of “Water for Elephants” on Broadway at the 2024 Drama Desk Awards red carpet.

Jessica Stone

On her Drama Desk and Tony Award nomination for “Best Direction of a Musical,” she said, “These nominations feel great. It is always amazing to have people give you a pat on the back when you are working hard on something so it’s awesome.”

When asked about what this musical has taught her about herself, she revealed, “It taught me that it’s safe to dream big.”

For young and aspiring filmmakers and directors, she encouraged them to “see everything.” “Go to every museum, go to every play, and every musical, every opera and every piece of dance, and every movie. See everything,” she said.

On the title of the current chapter of her life, she said with a sweet laugh, “Salty.”

Regarding her definition of the word success, Stone said, “Success is a moving target, so success means feeling happy and at peace right now.”

Stone wound up winning the 2024 Drama Desk Award for her direction of “Water for Elephants,” which was also nominated for seven 2024 Tony Awards.

Wade McCollum
Wade McCollum. Photo Courtesy of Wade McCollum.

Wade McCollum

Ironically enough, Wade McCollum plays the role of “Wade” in the musical “Water for Elephants,” which is his actual first name. “This show is a thrill and it’s incredible,” he admitted, prior to praising the “good group of performers” that are a part of this show.

“I get to play Wade squared,” McCollum jokingly laughed. “It is a trip being called my own name on stage. The fact that my character has the same name as me was not intentional on my part.”

“It is a character from the book, and in the show, Wade, is an amalgamation of a few different characters put together,” he explained.

In addition, McCollum was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for “Outstanding Solo Performance” for “Make Me Gorgeous!” and he opened up about that nod.

“The nomination feels amazing,” McCollum exclaimed. “This is everybody all in one room… Off-Broadway, Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway… We are all here together, and there were a lot of beautiful performances this year.”

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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