Kimberly Marable on Cartagena, dreams of Morocco, and getting back to Boston with the tour of ‘Hadestown’ – The Boston Globe

Kimberly Marable is an accomplished performer who has been in several Broadway musicals, including “The Lion King,” “Sister Act,” and, most recently, “Hadestown.” She has also taken the stage on many national tours including “The Book of Mormon,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Dreamgirls,” “Hairspray,” and the first national tour of “Hadestown,” coming to the Citizens Bank Opera House Nov. 2-14. Marable plays Persephone in the Tony Award-winning musical. “She is not only the goddess of the harvest and the season of spring and rebirth, but also very much the queen of the underworld,” Marable said of her character. “I love how Persephone gets to explore the dichotomy of that — of giving life and breathing life into the earth and to humans, and then also being very loyal to her spouse, Hades, the king of the underworld.” In a recent phone call from Greenville, S.C., where the tour kicked off, Marable said that “Hadestown” is not only “exhilarating” musically, it also delivers a strong message that reminds people of the “importance of togetherness and community.” The Brooklyn native, who cofounded Broadway Serves, which provides theater professionals with community service opportunities, said she is looking forward to coming to Boston to visit family “and definitely go shopping on Newbury Street.” We caught up with Marable, who lives in Harlem with her partner and fellow actor, Melvin Abston, to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination?
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Cartagena, Colombia. It truly has everything: the beaches, the food, the architecture, the people, the history. I would love to go back for a longer period of time and do a more in-depth exploration of Cartagena’s history of the slave trade and African liberation. Cartagena was a massive port of entry to Spanish South America starting in the mid-1600s, and it’s believed that over a million Africans were brought and sold there. A number of enslaved Africans escaped and created their own communities — palenques — inland that have persevered for centuries. The citizens of these palenques preserved their African traditions, languages, religions, cuisine, music, and more — even to this day. I’d love to go back to Cartagena and bear witness to that fierce protection of — and celebration of — culture.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing?
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It would have to be a tie between two things. The first was an amazing fresh-caught lobster I had off the coast of Booby Cay Island near Negril, Jamaica. Sweet, light, tender, beautifully seasoned and cooked on an outdoor grill. The other is simple by comparison, but I really loved it: a Palenquera woman was selling candy on the beach in Cartagena and I bought a tamarind ball that was to die for. It was incredibly sweet and sour. I was nibbling on that candy for days, because it was just that good — and that sour!
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?
I have always wanted to go to Morocco since I was a little girl. I think it has to do with a family trip to Disney World when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old and was asked to dance by the most beautiful belly dancer in the Moroccan restaurant. Childhood dreams aside, I would love to take maybe three-to-six months and do a tour of Africa from north to south, zig-zagging across the continent. Start in Morocco, go to Egypt, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa … everywhere. There is so much culture, and history – my history – and food, and music. … I want to be immersed in it all.
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One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?
A blow-dryer. Most hotel blow-dryers don’t do the trick with my hair, and I don’t want not being able to wash and dry my hair to be the reason I’m not able to fully experience a place. Also, I always bring my appetite. There’s so much great food on the road. We’re at the beginning of our journey, so I’m looking forward to trying all of the food everywhere — then work it off in the show!
Aisle or window?
Window. I love to watch the takeoffs and landings. It’s really wonderful to see the landscape thousands of feet below. The roadways, houses, waterways … the clouds, the mountains, the forests, the ocean. It’s a great reminder of how beautiful this planet is, and how I am a small part of that.
Favorite childhood travel memory?
Some of my favorite travel memories as a child are the late-night car rides to visit my grandparents in Boston. Somehow, every time we approached Blue Hill Avenue, the funk and disco tunes would start playing, and I would wake up to the car stereo blaring “Flashlight,” “Celebration,” “Play That Funky Music,” or some other song on my parents’ ‘70s funk/disco hits cassette tape. Soon after my whole family was dancing and singing along in the car. It always made for a fun start to an even more fun visit with family.
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Guilty pleasure when traveling?
Shopping. I love bringing a piece of my travels back home with me whether it’s clothing or a souvenir. Selfies and photos can only go so far.
Best travel tip?
Plan, but don’t over-schedule. Half the purpose of a vacation is to rest, and you can’t be at rest if you’re stressing about getting from place to place. Also, you can never go wrong with TSA PreCheck. It’s definitely a travel must-have.

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