I was recently interviewed by a local Sydney magazine, and I thought you might be interested to read my answers about my childhood relationship to the story of Aladdin, and why I think musical theater is a powerful healing art. Also, I explain what I think it means to be a Princess in the real world.
Although I never read the fairytale, I was absolutely in love with the original animated Disney film in 1992, with Robin Williams as the genie. When I was 9 years old, I actually sang the song “A Whole New World” with my friend in our fourth grade talent show! However, at the time, she got to play Jasmine and I sang the part of Aladdin! I love the story of Aladdin because there are so many universal themes that everyone can relate to… like feeling trapped in a place in your life where you aren’t happy, or wanting more from life, wishing for the freedom to choose what’s next for you. There’s also hysterical comedy, romance, and action and adventure to take you on a complete journey!
2) What is your favorite part in Aladdin the Musical?
My favorite part in Aladdin the Musical is getting to ride the magic carpet every night! When I stepped onto it for the first time, I felt giddy and nervous. I’d never imagined that I’d get to fly high above the stage while singing this iconic song, on a carpet that actually twists and turns and soars through the air like magic. I also can’t get over the amazing dancers onstage with me. They are stunning, sexy, sassy, talented, fierce performers. They are giving you so much energy when they dance that you just sit in amazement watching them.
3) How long have you been a musical performer? Why do you like musicals?
I’ve been singing since I was 7 years old, when I first started taking singing lessons in San Francisco, CA. I did my first professional stage production when I was 10 years old, in a new musical with my brother Adam Jacobs (who originated the role of Aladdin in the same musical on Broadway, and still plays the role)! I like performing in musicals because I think it has the power to heal the world. I believe that 1) storytelling has a healing effect on the audience because it allows people to understand someone else’s journey, makes them feel more brave in their own lives, and also helps them feel that they aren’t alone in their experience of life. And 2) music is a universal language that sometimes can speak more than words, so when music is incorporated into any storytelling it increases the impact of the show’s message.
4) How do you interpret the character Jasmine through your singing and performance on stage?
I feel so blessed to bring Jasmine to life, because I think she is a confident, intelligent, strong, fiercely independent princess. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind, no matter who she’s talking to. At the same time, she is compassionate and cares about people. She loves her father, the Sultan, and encourages him to give women a more equal place in society. Being a princess, to me, means being equally confident and compassionate. It means knowing your worth, while also being kind to everyone around you. Being able to play Princess Jasmine everyday is a gift. I hope that my portrayal of her will inspire young girls to embody all of Jasmine’s positive qualities, and see her as a strong female role model. Disney Princess Power activate!