BWW Interview: Shoshana Bean Uses Her Big Voice & Big Heart Always For Good

BWW Interview: Shoshana Bean Uses Her Big Voice & Big Heart Always For Good

WICKED! alumni Shoshana Bean will be celebrating her latest musical project release Spectrum with a one-night concert at The Ace Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. We had the wonderful opportunity to chat with the powerhouse songstress before prepping for her L.A. engagement.

Thank you for taking time out for this interview, Shoshana!

You're celebrating your fourth musical release Spectrum with a concert February 24 @ The Ace Theatre. What exactly is the correct term to use in this day and age or music: tunes, CD, album, LP, reel-to-reel tape?

HAHAHAHAHA! I just call it an album.

How did you first connect with the wonderful producing people of For the Record?

I met Shane (Scheel) when I first moved to L.A. eleven years ago. He kept harassing my friend Leslie Odom Jr. to get me to perform with them at Upright Cabaret, and I kept refusing. Somehow, they wore me down! And I'm glad they did. I've experienced some of the greatest moments of my career collaborating with Shane.

BWW Interview: Shoshana Bean Uses Her Big Voice & Big Heart Always For GoodSpectrum has you singing backed by an 18-piece band. Guess you won't be Winnebago-ing this concert from gig to gig, right?

On the contrary! We will do whatever we need to do to get it heard! Over the years, I've learned how to give just as effective a performance (if not, more so) stripped down, as I could with all the bells and whistles.

You must be used to singing with full orchestras in your Broadway shows. I have seen you singing with a 'simple' trio backing you up. Tell me what you like about performing with the simplicity of a trio.

The intimacy. And, also the attention is placed on communicating and connecting through the lyric and the instrument. There is less to hide behind, and endless possibilities as to what can be revealed.

As a little girl raised in Portland, Oregon; who was your first "I wanna do that!" inspiration?

Barbra Streisand! FUNNY GIRL!

When did you (or someone around you) discover you had a powerhouse voice?
I think, maybe, my voice teacher in high school was the first one to say, "This can take you places."

BWW Interview: Shoshana Bean Uses Her Big Voice & Big Heart Always For GoodWhat did you initially want to be when you grew up?

A Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. And then, an astronaut. And then, a veterinarian.

What do you remember of your successful audition for your first off-Broadway show GODSPELL in 2000?

I remember coaching "Bless the Lord" with Michael Lavine and him asking me if I could take the high A-flat up an octave. When I did, he asked me to take it up another octave. That's when I discovered my whistle tones and that's what I did in my audition. But, I totally remember doing improv exercises with Chad (Kimball) and Capathia (Jenkins) and Leslie (Kritzer).

When you were first cast in WICKED! on Broadway, were you cast as ensemble and understudy/swing? What steps led up to you taking over Ephaba from Adele Dazeem, I mean, Idina Menzel?

I was first cast as an ensemble member and onstage understudy (which I graciously declined). Then, when Eden (Espinosa) left her standby position to go to Brooklyn, they called me and offered me the standby position (which I gleefully excepted). Once I started going on for her, I knew I wanted to be considered to take over when BWW Interview: Shoshana Bean Uses Her Big Voice & Big Heart Always For Goodshe left. But, it wasn't until I believed that the option was off the table, and I had to go on one night when she was out sick; I think it was the first time I stopped playing it safe. Marc Platt happened to be in the audience that night (unbeknownst to me), and I believe it was his vote of confidence in me that sealed the deal.

I've seen and heard you perform flawlessly at a number of charity functions. Do you find it easier to perform as yourself, Shoshana Bean? Or as a character, like Ephaba, BEACHES' CeeCee Bloom, or FUNNY GIRL's Fanny Brice?

I think I get into a groove either way. The more I'm doing gigs out as myself, the more comfortable I am, and the more seamlessly it flows. Similarly, when I'm in a musical and it's been running for a minute, and that's what I'm consistently doing, then that becomes what flows most seamlessly and going back and adjusting back to the other takes a minute. I suppose the goal would be to be able to flow back-and-forth from one to the other seamlessly!!!

BWW Interview: Shoshana Bean Uses Her Big Voice & Big Heart Always For GoodSpeaking of charities, what is it about Shoshana Bean that finds you giving back so often with so much regularity? And, how do you narrow down the charities you do donate your talents to?

Unfortunately for my bank account, I don't quite narrow it down! But I have found giving back to be a huge part of what I do. I am extremely fortunate in so many ways and I feel like the best way to show gratitude for that is to share what I have generously.

If you had your druthers, would you prefer having a home base nightclub/theatre to perform in on a very regular basis? Or tour the world in one/two-night gigs? Or keep auditioning for new musicals that fit your talents and fancy?


I just saw a PBS telecast of Tony Bennett being honored with the Library of Congress Gershwin Award. At 91 years old, he sang notes so clear, so high, so on pitch, held so long - just like he has decades ago. What vocal advice/exercise/practice do you religiously adhere to in preserving your own gorgeous vocal instrument?

It's about consistency I've learned. Consistency in doing your warm-ups every day, consistency in taking care of your body and getting enough rest. I believe with consistency, you end up being 91 and singing with complete clarity and the same function of range.

BWW Interview: Shoshana Bean Uses Her Big Voice & Big Heart Always For GoodDo you have a go-to audition song?

I haven't auditioned with material of my own choosing for a hundred years. But when I did use a go-to song, it was "Who Will Love Me As I Am?" from SIDE SHOW.

How about a go-to fun song you perform amongst friends?

Anytime there's a microphone in a public place, it's "Respect" by Aretha Franklin.

Is there an iconic musical theatre role that you wouldn't mind being associated with for a majority of your performing career? (á la Dolly in HELLO DOLLY, Fanny in FUNNY GIRL)?

Fanny, no question.

Thank you again, Shoshana! I look forward to hearing you blow the roof off of the Ace Theatre!

For tickets for Shoshana's sure-to-be stunning one-nighter February 24, 2018 (with special guests Ty Taylor, Audra Mae, Chrissy Metz and Lea DeLaria); log onto

Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories   Shows

From This Author Gil Kaan

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram