Nkeki Obi-Melekwe's Favorite Places in New York City
We chatted with Nkeki Obi-Melekwe, who plays Tina Turner in the ongoing Broadway production “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” about her favorite places in New York City, her show and how she got her start on Broadway. "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical" is currently playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
Editor's Note: Broadway theaters currently require all audience members, employees and cast members over the age of five provide proof of full vaccination. In the interest of public safety, all audience members are required to wear masks.
Nkeki Obi-Melekwe's Broadway Faves
WT: How did you get your start in performing, and in what other shows have you performed?
Obi-Melekwe: I play Tina Turner in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” on Broadway. That’s a lot of T’s! I started performing when I was in middle school, in the school play “Beauty and the Beast.” I was Narrator #4 in that, with my three lines, and I loved it.
My love grew from there doing plays and musicals throughout high school and then going to the University of Michigan and studying musical theatre in college. I also studied Shakespeare abroad in London at LAMDA while in university.
WT: What is your favorite Broadway show—other than “Tina,” of course?
Obi-Melekwe: My favorite Broadway show! It would have to be “Company.” I saw the show in London, and it’s equally gorgeous here. I’m such a big fan of anything Katrina Lenk does. Also…Patti LuPone…. Enough said.
Nkeki Obi-Melekwe's Local Tips
WT: What are your favorite NYC local tips?
Obi-Melekwe: My NYC tips are all transportation-related - Take the train, yellow taxi, or a Citi Bike! Trains are likely the fastest for long distances. Taxis are likely the fastest for a quick trip to another close-by neighborhood. Also, your taxi driver likely has a very cool New York City story to tell, so don’t be too much in a rush to chat them up. (Support your local taxi drivers!)
Citi Bikes are perfect for good weather and if you’re not in a rush to get to where you need to go. Don’t be afraid to Citi Bike (safely) in Manhattan. It’s my favorite way to get around.
WT: If you’re going out for a night on the town in New York City, where would you go?
Obi-Melekwe: For a night on the town in NYC, I’ll definitely head to a bar. And I don’t discriminate - a dive bar, a wine bar, an upscale bar, you name it, I’ll love it. I went to Vanguard Wine Bar recently, and it’s becoming one of my favorite spots. The ambiance is so romantic, and the bartenders are super cool.
And if I’m really going out, I’ll end my night with a walk through Washington Square Park. My favorite park in the city, and there’s ALWAYS something going on, no matter what time it is. The NYC I fawned over as a child is most alive in Washington Square Park.
WT: Where are your favorite spots to send family and friends when they visit?
Obi-Melekwe: When my family or friends from outside the city come to visit, if we’ve got some time to kill, we’d end up going to a museum. I always love the MOMA; there’s always something to see there. Also, let’s go to The Smith for dinner, all this art made me really hungry.
WT: What’s your favorite dessert in New York City?
Obi-Melekwe: So. Many. Choices! Peacefood Cafe is a vegan spot that has a game-changing carrot cake. Levain Bakery’s double chocolate chip cookie is unreal. And if you’re willing to travel to BK… Martha’s Country Bakery in Williamsburg is a must-go for all things dessert! Trust me; you won’t regret that trip.