BWW Interview: Carly Rae Jepsen on Her Fairytale Broadway Debut in CINDERELLA!
Mulit-platinum recording artist Carly Rae Jepsen made her Broadway debut earlier this month in Rodgers and Hammerstein's CINDERELLA, alongside Fran Drescher and a slew of other new castmembers. Jepsen replaces Tony-nominated Laura Osnes as the title character of the musical, which is currently playing at the Broadway Theater (1681 Broadway at 53rd Street).
During her second week of performances, Jepsen chatted with BroadwayWorld about officially stepping into Cinderella's glass slippers, and you can check out the full interview below!
How have things been going at the Broadway Theatre so far? Has everyone settled in yet?
Yeah, I guess we have. I'm about to do what I think will be my eighth show and I already feel like I've learned so much! New discoveries are being made and I get off the stage and say 'Oh, I think I might want to try THIS next time!" or "Oh, this finally makes sense to me!"
I know that you did theatre when you were younger...
I did! I was very involved in community theatre as a child! I got to be 'Dorothy' in the Wiz, and I got to be 'Annie' in a high school production of Annie. I came from a small community so I got the chance to get a lot of experience on stage.
Was Broadway ever a goal of yours when you were younger?
It wasn't a goal necessarily but it was certainly a dream!
You entered the cast with a group of new people, including Fran Drescher. Do you think that knowing that you weren't the only new kid made the transition easier?
Yeah, we actually nicknamed ourselves the New Kids on the Block for that reason! We would all come and watch the show and it was so intimidating but in a really beautiful way. I was like "Wow! I love the story!" I love Laura- she is just a real-life sweetheart. But I think we were trying to figure out how to make it our own and how to do something a little bit different. I think that looking at that as a group effort as opposed to it all landing on me was really comforting.
Joe [Caroll] and I were talking last night (we and a bunch of other castmates went out for drinks) and we were saying, "I think that every time I got nervous I would just look at you!" We were all saying the same thing to one another. We gained confidence in the thick of it!
You replaced the Laura Osnes, who was nominated for at Tony for the role. Did she give you any good advice?
She has been SO supportive. She's given tons of little notes. Even when it comes to things like: "Hey it really helps if you turn the shoe this way in your pocket." But more than that she's been on my side and really rooting for me. I'm so in awe of her. It's been so lovely because us two have a bond of getting to be Cinderella and knowing what that is like. It's hard to explain that to anybody else unless they've been in it.
I came to see her last show and gave her flowers and champagne. And then she did the same for me on my opening night. It has been a really beautiful transition.
The costume changes in Cinderella are epic! Are you at a point where you are comfortable with all of them yet or do they still make you nervous?
I think that the day that you get at ease with it is the day that something happens [Laughs]! But no, I'm always a little bit on my toes because there are so many moving parts to those moments. I enjoy them though! It's actually probably one of my most favorite parts of the show- getting to be a part of that transition with the white ball gown. It's so fun to hear the shock from the audience as it happens and to know that it is coming.
Is that the moment in the show that you look the most forward to every night?
No, actually! If I had to pick one it would be in the second act. Cinderella has sort of a bonding moment with her sisters and Madame. She just gets home from the ball and they are singing together around the piano. It's her first real moment of being embraced by this family that has been shunning her. I think it's such a charming part of the story. It's my favorite!
You are the first person on stage in this show. Are there any final preparations that you make to get into character while the overture is playing?
Usually I am just backstage hanging with the rest of the cast that is about to go on. I don't have any rituals per say, but we all have a friendly hello and talk about getting ready for the show. There isn't one specific thing that I do- I just feed off of the energy of everybody. I'm always very excited to get on stage and that never stops. I think that's one of the most wonderful things about being in a show. Even though it's the same show there are always new things to try. Every day it is fun to walk out there with intention and know what you want to do next!
Have you seen any other shows since being in New York?
Oh, so many! Waiting for Godot was my favorite. It was fantastic! I saw The Book of Mormon with my family when they were here. That was REALLY fun. I'm going to get to go to a lot more now that I'm through with rehearsals and I can have my matinees! I'm going to soak up as much as I can.
Is there anyone in the theatre community that you really look up to, or would like to work with in the future?
There are so many! Working with Fran is a dream come true. And my family was so excited to meet her. I'm just really happy to be a part of this right now. At the moment I'm pretty fulfilled!
It's early in your run, but based on what you've experienced so far, would you consider doing this again in the future?
Absolutely, hands down. It's such a cool learning experience. And the first one especially, I'm learning so much about myself as a performer and other things that I find exciting. This whole world is fascinating to me. I would absolutely come back.
Canadian singer/songwriter Jepsen has taken America by storm after bursting onto the scene in the US with her hit single "Call Me Maybe." Unforgettably catchy, the hit song which she co-wrote quickly rose to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart where it remained for nine consecutive weeks. The song is also an international sensation, climbing to No. 1 on the iTunes Singles charts in over 47 countries while the song has sold over 17 million singles worldwide to date. She released her debut album Kiss in 2012 via 604 Records/School Boy Records/Interscope Records, and won the American Music Award for Best New Artist along with two GRAMMY nominations that same year for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year. After supporting multi-platinum pop/R&B artist Justin Bieber on tour in the U.S and Europe, Carly hit the road on her first headline tour of the US, which wrapped earlier this year and she is now working on her new album for release in 2014.
Tickets to RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN'S CINDERELLA are on sale through Telecharge and can be purchased by calling 212-239-6200, online at www.telecharge.com. Tickets are also on sale at the Broadway Theater (1681 Broadway at 53rd Street).