Monday, 2 December 2013

Eden Espinosa | Interview

Eden is best known for her portrayal of the Green Witch Elphaba in the smash hit musical, WICKED. She performed the role to critical acclaim on Broadway, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Her other musical theatre credits include originating title role in Brooklyn the Musical on Broadway, Maureen in the closing cast of RENT on Broadway (this was also filmed and is available on DVD and Blu-Ray), the title role in Flora the Red Menace and the Fairy godmother in Cinderella alongside Alli Mauzey. Her television credits include Law & Order, Robot Chicken, Dog Whisperer, Titan Maximum, Ugly Betty, The Today Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the 2008 Tony Awards. Eden made her solo concert debut in Los Angeles with her show 'ME' in December 2008.  She then took the show to New York where she performed to sold out audiences at Joe’s Pub.  She then brought the show back to Los Angeles and performed to a sold out audience at the Ford Amphitheatre, with special guest, Grammy Award-winning and Decca recording artist Paula Cole.  In 2010, her show “From Eden With Love” was performed to sold out crowds in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Eden released a solo album in late 2012 entitled 'Look Around' which is available for purchase here

Growing up, what was the thing that made you want a career in musical theatre?

Growing up I always loved musicals. But it really wasn’t until I reached high school and met so many kids my age that loved to sing and act like me.  It was around the age of 15 and a whole new world was opened up to me.  So many musicals I never knew, the dream of being on Broadway, living in New York City.  That’s when a spark ignited the flame.

You have a long history with WICKED, what do you think the key to its success is?

Well, first of all I think the fact that it is somewhat related to the beloved Wizard of OZ initially had something to do with it.  But now after all these years, it’s really the message, the heart of the piece, the fact that so many different types of people, from all over the world can find something to relate to.  That’s an amazing thing.

Starting as a Standby for the role of Elphaba you then went on to play it full time on Broadway, in Los Angeles and San Francisco. As an actress, what was the biggest challenge about that?

The biggest challenge in moving from a standby to the actress actually performing the role 8 shows a week was reminding myself that the role was mine now. Allowing myself to take risks and make choices.  But once I did that it was the greatest feeling to have people say to you, “You made me see the Elphaba in a whole new way.”  There no greater compliment to me than that. 

Having played Elphaba in a number of different productions, could you pick a favorite city and why?

Oh they all have a special place in my heart. But I'd have to say the Los Angeles production is my favourite! It was the only time I got to have a real rehearsal process.  Building this new company in a new city from the ground up.  I wasn’t being put in to an existing company of Wicked.  Also it was my home town.  So to go back home with such an amazing show, in a historic theatre was such a blessing.
Would you ever consider about going back to the role?.... Possibly in London? 

Never say never.  Honestly, London would probably be the only place I would really consider doing it again.  
As well as being among the incredible women who have played the role of Elphaba, you also created the title role in Brooklyn on Broadway. What was it like being given the chance to create a Broadway role?

It was something at the time I didn’t realize how rare it was. But that opportunity was amazing and I still have some of my closest friends from that production.  IF you were given the opportunity to go and have a couture gown made just for you, or a custom suit tailored perfectly to your frame, you would jump at the chance, right? Thats how I see it now.  It was a role that was made around my strengths.
You recently won Album of the Year and Female Vocalist of the year at the IMEA awards for your debut album Look Around, how does it feel that your first solo album has been recieved so well?

The fact that my album is being recognized at all is such a welcomed surprise and blessing.  We worked very hard on creating a sound for my to express myself in, and yet be different from anything I had done before.  I think we did that and more.  I am so proud of Look Around and the fact that people are still really enjoying it makes me very happy!
You’ve taken musical songs and added a your own twist to them, what was the process like from when you had to chose the songs to re-arranging them to finally recording them?

The process of choosing the songs was long. We started a playlist on my itunes of close to 200 songs, and over time kept narrowing the choices down.  After that the rest of the process was one of the hardest,  most humbling, pride swallowing, self discovering things I have ever been through.  I could write pages and pages about it.  But in the end I came out the other side a better person, singer, and artist. So I’m so grateful for all of it. 
You’re going to be performing in CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK at the Palace Theatre (both in London and Manchester), what can we look forward to?

You can look forward to an evening filled with beautiful holiday music, insane talent, and the excitement of this being the first year that the show is coming back!
What are you looking forward to about performing to the UK audiences?

I’m really honoured that I was asked to be a part of this event.  Humbled and honoured.  I’m looking forward to sharing and receiving love and energy with the audiences in the UK.  This is my first professional job in the UK and I’m so happy it’s CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK.  Christmas is my favourite time of year, and I also get to represent my favourite city NYC!
If you could sum up why people should come and see the concert in one sentance, what would it be?

How often do you get to experience Christmas in New York and not have to travel out of the country?
If you could be in any show, opposite anyone you wanted, what and who would it/they be?

I would love to originate something new again.  I really really want to work with Norbert Leo Butz in anything at all.  Even if we did a concert together!
If you could give any advise to any aspiring musical theatre performers, what would it be?
MY advice to aspiring musical theatre performers is find what makes you unique and sets you apart from everyone else and cultivate it!  Let you light shine.  Don’t try to make yourself into anyone other that who you are.  There’s only ONE you. 

Christmas in New York will play the Palace Theatre in Manchester on the 7th December and the 9th December at the Palace Theatre in London. 

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus 
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