How do you think wardrobe helps bring Jasmine to life?
Oh well, the crown definitely makes you feel like a princess. You feel very regal when you wear it. I take a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I see Jasmine, and that’s the coolest! You don’t need much. It’s just so easy to transform.
As you’ve now done almost 1500 performances, how have you tweaked your character?
I think that I’ve grown to know her a little bit better. I hope that I’m just better and more confident with it. It’s tough, too, when you’re learning the show. You’re thinking about the lot of different aspects – the tech aspects and the chemistry you have on stage with the other person.
With a long-running show, you don’t have to think about that stuff as much; you get to play around a little bit. You discover a lot of new things per night. Whether it’s when understudies go on, or it’s a different type of audience that laughs at different things, it all depends, but I think you just grow with it over time and get better. Or some people get worse.
And you’re not sick of a “A Whole New World”?
No, how could you get sick of “A Whole New World”? Alan Menken writes the best music. You never get over it. It’s so good.
Do you find that it’s hard to replicate the chemistry with the understudies as you do with Telly Leung (who plays Aladdin)?
At this point, I’ve been on with all of my understudies several times at this point. I know what their Aladdin is and what my Jasmine is with their Aladdin. It’s such an easy transition. And we have such solid understudies it wouldn’t detract an audience member who’s seeing the show.
What’s your favorite song?
“A Whole New World”. It’s the best.
Is it because you’re on the carpet or just because it’s a magical song?
It’s one of the big numbers, and I don’t get to be in all of the big numbers – “Prince Ali”, “Arabian Nights”, “Friend Like Me” – all of the show-stopping numbers. But I get to be in that!
What has been your favorite part about the “Aladdin” experience?
The people that we get to work with and get to know. Over the course of time, they become your family. Everything else is a given. It’s such an unbelievable thing to be able to say that I got to originate this iconic role in a Disney show, something that was so beloved to me. At the end of the day, when I’m older, I’ll remember the relationships I had with these people, and the connections I made on-stage and off-stage and those will be lasting memories for me. Even when we had a rehearsal today, we were just playing around, having fun, when we weren’t rehearsing. I was thinking we’re so lucky that we get along and love each other. It just translates from off stage to on stage. It makes it such an enjoyable experience.