In this week’s edition, we hear from Arielle Jacobs, who is currently starring as ‘Nessarose’ in Wicked – playing at the Gershwin Theatre. Read on to find out her top five picks!
1. Into The Woods
My favorite musical of all time. My first voice teacher in San Francisco made me sing “I Know Things Now” when I was a little girl, and after that I was hooked. The music contains so many unexpected brilliant rhymes and messages. And I was lucky enough to play The Baker’s Wife this past winter, opposite JJ Caruncho as the Baker, and Broadway legend Tituss Burgess as The Witch (produced by Dreamcatcher Theatre).
2. The Secret Garden
This score is breathtaking, and this was one of the first shows I ever did when I was little. I didn’t get to the play Mary (which was devastating for me as a child), but I played Ayah, her maid in India… and I felt very important because I had a dance solo that portrayed my character’s death from cholera. I love the story and the way the music soars.
3. In the Heights
Fast forward to this modern day musical masterpiece. I saw this performance on Broadway with my family the night before the Tony nominations were announced, and I just knew that I had to play Nina one day… Everything about the show was magic. The story, the music, the choreography. It made my heart beat faster, made me dance in my seat, and made me grateful for my family. I’m blessed that my Broadway debut was playing Nina, opposite the show’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, in the closing Broadway cast.
I’ve been obsessed with this show for as long as I can remember. I am a big fan of historical fiction, as a genre; stories that mix elements of the past into fictional scenarios. And this show highlights several historical figures and tensions of a changing America: racial segregation, women’s rights, the labor movement… all mixed with gorgeous and heart-wrenching music. In high school, I sang “Your Daddy’s Son” in a voice recital. And then in college at NYU, I performed in this show with some of my best friends. It holds a dear place in my heart.
5. The Last 5 Years
I got to see the second-to-last performance of the original Off-Broadway production of this show, with Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz. I remember sitting in the theater and crying through the show, following the journey of both characters’ struggle. I was struck by the way that Jason Robert Brown’s music perfectly depicted the contrast between the initial excitement and hopefulness of falling in love… to the eventual hopelessness that takes over a relationship at its end.