Spotlight on Arielle JacobsPublished: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 7:00 am By: Jim DeBlasi Source: The Cue
be perfect for the role of “Nina.” So I went to see it and I just knew I would love to play Nina – I felt truly connected to her. I called my agent and told him I wanted to go in for the show. Shortly afterwards the producers were looking for replacements and I went in. They loved me but the girl playing Nina was not leaving as early as they thought, so they booked me at that time for the National Tour even though it wasn’t starting for a year.
CUE: Has the show changed throughout the venues?
AJ: From the perspective of working with so many different casts – the dynamics change. I’ve changed and my process has changed. I look at B-roll from when I first played the role and I don’t even remember doing it that way – My character has evolved over time.
CUE: Is it beneficial to play a role over again?
AJ: yes, but it can also be challenging because after doing the same show for several months you might become a bit hesitant to try new things. It can be a little scary to venture away from something you’ve done in every show when you know it works, but on the other hand it’s always necessary to develop new moments and deepen the journey of the character.
CUE: How did you get involved in Standing Ovation Studio’s
AJ: The choreographer, Morgan Marcell was actually in the original touring cast with me. She told me about the project and I got a call from the producers to come in and audition – so I did.
CUE: Any aspect of the show more difficult than you remembered?
AJ: Not necessarily for me, but throughout the rehearsal process I watched the dancers learning the original choreography, and I was reminded how difficult it is. I am not actually onstage for most of it, but the dancing in this show is more complex than anything I’ve seen before. Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography matches the words that are being spoken by other characters, and every dance move tells the story in an alternate unspoken language. Everybody onstage is doing a different track – moving and turning in different directions simultaneously. It looks amazing but is so complicated.
CUE: Was working ¾ round, “thrust stage” difficult?
AJ: During the rehearsal process out director, John Fanelli, kept telling us, “Don’t be afraid to upstage yourselves because in this theatre everyone can see you.” He kept reminding us that instead of “opening up,” we needed to think of making little triangles – that visual helped make it a lot easier to execute.
CUE: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
AJ: My favorite song to sing, is, “Everything I Know,” after Abuela passes. In the song, I’m going through the photo album and it is the turning point for Nina. In this moment, she finds the strength to go back to school and to return to a place of gratitude and to feel capable again. My family is from the Philippines and my grandfather