Across London small children – and adults who need a cheeky excuse to start their day with a chocolate fix – have started opening the doors of their advent calendars, shrubbery has been moved into living rooms and turkeys have gone into hiding. But for us at Official London Theatre, the build up to Christmas doesn’t really begin until the West End festiveness of Christmas In New York.
This has left us with a mince pie-shaped hole in our hearts for the last four hears as the Christmassy concert took a hiatus.
But next Monday at the Palace theatre it’s back with a bang akin to the entirety of John Lewis’ cracker stock being pulled at once, and being led by Broadway star Eden Espinosa, who joins London stage regulars Lucy May Barker, Andy Coxon, Scott Garnham, Luke Kempner, Zoe Rainey and Tori Allen-Martin.
The opportunity to quiz the former star of Wicked, Rent and Brooklyn The Musical, came like an early Christmas present we couldn’t refuse. So we delved, like Santa looking for a well hidden present deep in his sack, into her feelings about the festive season, and learned about childhood races, spag bol and the best advice she could give young actors.
How do you feel about coming to London for Christmas In New York?
I couldn’t be more excited. I’m so looking forward to being a part of bringing this show back and having the opportunity of sharing the stage with some of London’s brightest stars.
What is the best Christmas present you’ve ever been given?
The best Christmas present I ever got was when my husband proposed to me! The proposal was the best part, and the engagement ring didn’t hurt either!
What always makes you feel Chistmassy?
I love everything about Christmas! The music, the lights, the tree! Being around family. It’s my favourite holiday.
What is your favourite Christmas song?
Oh this one is hard! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas music. But it might have to be The Christmas Song.
What would you like for Christmas this year?
I would love to get a Nutri Bullet. It’s this mini blender/juicer that you can make healthy smoothies with or make soups, but it’s small! I also want a make-up air brushing machine! I love gadgets I don’t need.
What sparked your interest in performing?
In all honesty there wasn’t one thing that sparked my interest in it. It’s just something I’ve always been drawn to. Something I’ve always done. Ever since I was very young, I was always in a dance class, or children’s theatre, or music lessons.
What is the finest performance you have seen?
Hands down the best performance I’ve seen was Joe Mantello in The Normal Heart.
If you could create a fantasy production to star in, who would you cast, who would direct and what would it be?
My fantasy production would be an original piece that I got to develop from the beginning. I would love to work with Norbert Leo Butz or Alice Ripley. Working with Michael Greif or Joe Mantello again would make me very happy!
Who or what has inspired you?
I have to say that my husband inspires me. He is always searching for knowledge, always looking for ways to be better, and that inspires me on a daily basis.
Have you made any sacrifices for the sake of your career?
I’m sure there are many sacrifices as far as not really having a “normal” existence, but I would say that job security is probably the one big sacrifice that we as actors make. We never know when our next job will come. It’s something you get used to, but as you get older it gets scarier.
Do you have any theatrical superstitions?
No I don’t. I’m not a superstitious person at all.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
My brother and I always, without fail, when my Mom took us to get new shoes, as soon as we got home we would race down the street to see whose shoes were the fastest!
What will always, without fail, bring a smile to your face?
My dog Owen!
What book, film or album would you recommend to a friend?
Book: The Alchemist. Album: Ella Fitzgerald Live in Berlin. Film: Blackfish.
What could you not be without?
What would you choose as a last meal?
A NY slice of pizza or my husband’s spaghetti bolognaise.
What ambitions would you like to fulfill?
I would like to be fluent in a second language.
Do you have any advice for young actors?
The best advice I could give would be to find what makes you unique and cultivate it. There is only one you and no one has to offer what you do. So don’t try to mimic or emulate someone else, do it your way.
If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?
If I wasn’t an actor I would be a make-up artist. But lately I’ve been teaching a lot of masterclasses and I’ve really fallen in love with teaching young artists. So I could see myself doing that as well.