Theater People Podcast has given their listeners another great episode! This week, Patrick is joined by the amazing Eden Espinosa. Eden is most known for her time spent on Broadway in the award-winning and legendary show Wicked, which happened to be her Broadway debut. She also joined the final Broadway company of Rent and can be seen in the live film version of the show as Maureen Johnson. She also is known for originating the title role in Brooklyn.
Patrick, like most people would be, was thrilled to sit down with Eden and discuss her life and career. The duo began by discussing the show that Eden brought to life: Brooklyn. One thing about the show is that Eden’s voice was showcased perfectly, allowing her to show off her powerhouse vocals. Patrick, taking a moment from discussion of Brooklyn, rerouted the conversation to how Eden got started with singing.
The one thing that Patrick was dying to know: how Eden discovered her ridiculous talent. She said that she grew up singing, but was particularly inspired by Mariah Carey. She would scream along to the music until she could sing it. She also didn’t start getting truly involved in theatre and music until high school.
Before you read any more of this post, check out this video of Eden singing “Once Upon a Time” from Brooklyn. You will never be the same again, trust me! (Thanks to the amazing human being that posted this video on youtube!)
When she was old enough, she was able to start working at Disneyland. She told Patrick that she was able to figure out her musical identity while working at the theme park, as opposed to studying theatre and music at a university or conservatory. She doesn’t have a “back-up plan” like other performers do, as she told Patrick, she focuses on performing. Also, please be aware that you guys can check out youtube videos of Eden performing in the shows at Disney and Universal Studios!
She tells about her transition from working at Disneyland and Universal Studios to auditioning for and performing in Brooklyn. However, she had made her debut on Broadway in Wicked before she took on Brooklyn. She was able to audition for the stand-by for Elphaba, while Idina Menzel was still in the show, and got the part. Thus, she was able to sit in the audience and see the show from a different perspective, while waiting for word that she was needed on stage. Strangely enough, her debut was not for Elphaba – spoilers! – it was for Nessarose. Eventually, though, Eden was able to perform as Elphaba before she left the show to be in Brooklyn.
Patrick and Eden also discussed Eden’s return to Wicked, taking the role of Elphaba after Shoshana Bean. She continued to play the role on Broadway, before taking the show to LA with costar and friend, Megan Hilty.
After her long stint in Wicked, she joined the final company of Rent. She played the role of Maureen, which was originated by Idina Menzel (who also originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked). She pointed out to Patrick that the final performance was professionally filmed, while former and original cast members of Rent sat in the audience and stood in the wings. She also noted that Rent was her dream show that she wanted to be in, especially wanting to play the role Maureen.
Eden also shared some stories about her solo shows, one of which was directed by Billy Porter. She, of course, talks about her 2012 album, Look Around. Her goal for the album? Well, you will have to listen to Theater People to find out!