I know I said I was taking December off from interviewing and was just going to run guest-blogs while I catch up on my own writing. But a) I’m fresh out of guest blogs at the moment and b) interviewing the lovely and talented Eden Espinosa was part of my reward package for backing her Kickstarter. So here we are.
Eden Espinosa has made quite a name for herself on Broadway, playing Elphaba in WICKED (in NY and on the national tour), playing Maureen in the final cast of the Broadway run of RENT, and originated the role of Brooklyn in BROOKLYN. She was gracious enough to answer a few questions about her upcoming album.
ANTHONY: Hello, Eden! Thanks for taking a few minutes to chat with me. Your first solo album releases this week. What can listeners expect?
EDEN: Of course! It’s my pleasure. What Listeners can expect from this album are modern Broadway songs arranged to be more accessible to non-Broadway listeners. Also, for those who already love the amazing songs of Broadway, this will be a fresh interpretation of some modern Broadway classics. I wanted to present songs from these great writers in a way that might be able to bring a wider listening audience to their amazing music.
ANTHONY: For those folks reading this who were not backers of the Kickstarter project for the album, what prompted you to do the album now and in this way?
EDEN: I’ve wanted to do an album for a long time but held off because I really didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in, or if I really had anything to say. I starting having conversations about 3 years ago with my producer about doing an album and he said that by sharing my personal interpretation of songs that I love was enough and that I didn’t’ need to say anything profound, just heartfelt and honest. He started showing me some arrangement ideas and I fell in love with them and here we are! I wanted my theater fans to hear these songs in a new light, but also wanted to feel like I was expressing myself in a new way. So people could hear how I sing when I’m not playing a character.
ANTHONY: How long did production of the album take, and whom did you work with?
EDEN: Well my producer/arranger has been working on these arrangements for a while. This past June I played some concerts at The Adelaide Cabaret Festival in Australia and we did these arrangements to try them out. But we started production on the album in late August, early September. I worked with Joseph Abate. (Who just happens to be my husband) he is the genius behind the arrangement and production!!!
ANTHONY: You’ve played iconic roles on what some folks call “the new Broadway,” specifically Elphaba in “Wicked” and Maureen in “Rent.” (I was lucky enough to see you in “Rent” towards the end of the Broadway run.) How have those roles shaped your approach to this project?
EDEN: These roles have contributed a lot to this album. I think a lot of Broadway shows today have a more contemporary sound. Especially shows like “In the Heights” or “Spring Awakening” I think that Rent was one of the catalysts for this “modern” Broadway sound. So this album is made up of all modern Broadway songs. With the exception of 2, one from an older show (Look Around, from Will Rogers Follies), and one from a musical that my friend Ty Taylor wrote (Stone Cold Sober, from The Existents) that will hopefully grace a Broadway stage one day.
ANTHONY: Will you be touring in support of the album release?
EDEN: I really hope that there is opportunity for touring. I love this material and I’m really proud of this album. So I hope people respond well to it and want me to come do shows in their town.
ANTHONY: Outside of the album, what other projects do you have coming up?
EDEN: RELAXING!!!! [laughs] This project has consumed so much of our lives for the past few months and since we’ve done everything ourselves it’s been a huge labor of love. So I’m sure we will have some down time. Then back to the grind of auditions, classes, and getting better everyday!!!
ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince him or her that they should?
EDEN: My favorite book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. If you want some beautiful life lessons, nuggets of wisdom, and some inspiration all rolled into a beautifully written fable. This book is for you!!!!!!
You can find more about Eden’s album and other appearances, including pictures of her time in RENT and WICKED, on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter @edenespinosa and find her Fan Page on Facebook.
And here’s Eden and Tracie Thoms as Maureen and JoAnne in RENT: