As part of her two-month sixteen-cities concert tour starting this month and running through March, Broadway star and acclaimed singer Jessica Vosk will make her DC debut on Tuesday, February 14, at 7 pm, with A Broadway Valentine, a one-night-only cabaret-style Valentine’s Day concert presented by Washington Performing Arts at Sixth & I. Accompanied by music director Michael Mitchell on piano, the song list will include favorite show tunes and pop hits, interspersed with personal stories about her shift from a career on Wall Street in her late twenties to pursuing her passion for singing and acting, launching her unending “fifteen minutes of fame” with dream-come-true of roles on Broadway in Finding Neverland and The Bridges of Madison County, as Fruma-Sarah in the most recent Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, and starring for two years as Elphaba in Wicked (as well as in the national touring production of the popular musical).
Before the pandemic shutdown, Vosk appeared as the Narrator in the 50th anniversary production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Lincoln Center. She also created the role of Aunt Val in the world premiere of Becoming Nancy (directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell), starred in the New York City Ballet’s Jerome Robbins tribute Something to Dance About (directed by Warren Carlyle), and as Anita in West Side Story with the San Francisco Symphony (the recording of which was nominated for a Grammy). Other highlights of her career as a vocalist include her Carnegie Hall debut in November 2021, with the sold-out solo show My Golden Age, and at London’s Cadogan Hall in 2022. Her debut Billboard-charting solo album Wild and Free was released in 2018, followed by A Very Coco Christmas in 2020.
Prior to the kick-off of her new concert tour, Jessica made time in her busy schedule to answer some quick questions about her career, her background, and her personal favorites.
- Which came first for you – acting or singing?
Jessica: Singing! I grew up with musical parents, record player blasting. When I was three, I used to grab one of my Dad’s mics – not plugged in (LOL) and give living room concerts.
- What’s your first creative memory?
Probably the moment I understood what singing was. I remember listening to the cast albums of Les Miz and The Secret Garden and thinking, “How is it possible to sing like this???” I used to sit there for hours, mimicking the actors until my parents said, “Let’s get her into lessons before she drives us crazy singing the same line over and OVER.”
- Who’s been the biggest inspiration in your career?
Oh, wow, so many along the way! I look at women who paved the way often and say, “I’d like to do the same.” Women like Patti LuPone or Barbra, who created things for themselves when the industry hadn’t caught up yet. Rebecca Luker, who showed me what being a leading lady truly is, and how to do so with both strength and kindness. I’ve knocked on a lot of doors since my Broadway debut at age 30 . . . and at 39 I have no intention of stopping the knocking. I have a ways to go.
- What three emotions did you feel when you first took the Broadway stage?
FEAR! PEE-MY-PANTS ANTICIPATION. GRATITUDE.
- What do you find most relatable in the character of Elphaba in Wicked?
Her passion. Oftentimes we hear people say, “Oh, she’s so mad, that’s why she does what she does.” Nah. Wrong. To me, she is passionate about the things she loves. It gets misconstrued because she’s different, and different is scary to a lot of people. I love being different. Yes, it may mean that I have to try harder to be seen or heard, but I am willing to try harder because I know that I have something to say, and I hope people can relate to that. Never stop trying for yourself.
- If you had a flying monkey for a pet, what would you name it?
Lil Bébé (á la Moira Rose on Schitt’s Creek).
- What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Funny. Risky. Empath.
- What do you enjoy most about touring?
Hopping to new cities that may not know me quite yet. I love getting to introduce my weird and wacky self to different markets all over the US right now and hope they can all take a little something different from what I have to give during my shows. My concert is as much about the audience as it is about myself. I love hearing from them during the show, using them as another essential bandmate, if you will. It makes the show come to life.
- What’s the most challenging part of being on the road?
Resting and recovery. Touring can be hard, and it’s different when you’re doing a concert versus a Broadway show eight times a week. The body and voice are in different shape, so I try to stick to what I know and the muscle memory!
- What three things do you always take with you?
My vocal steamer (Amen!), Liquid IV, Thieves Oil Drops.
- Is there one song in the concert that you always look forward to singing?
A lot of the show is new for this tour, but I have a medley we do, which hits Fiddler on the Roof, Linda Ronstadt, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Sondheim, and it thrills me EVERY TIME.
- What’s the most memorable reaction you’ve ever gotten from an audience member?
I recently played Carnegie Hall for the second time (How lucky am I?) with my Judy Garland tribute, and I made a little competition of asking the balcony versus the orchestra seats if they were all having a good time. The balcony won that round . . . and as we got to the next quiet moment, someone from the box seats screamed at the top of their lungs to signal they were having the best time. I nearly fainted from laughing so hard.
- Did you make a New Year’s resolution for 2023?
To take more risks this year, and to step into a new kind of confidence; I’m turning 40 this year, after all. New chapters.
- Is there one show or character you would like to play in the future?
Nancy in Oliver. Mama Rose when the time is right. I’d also love a crack at Audrey in Little Shop. London, I’m looking at you!!!
- What’s the best thing about being famous?
Oh man, I think I’m the silliest person in the world, so to be real, anytime someone tells me they relate to my story of changing careers or making a massive life change, or that a show they’ve seen me in has changed them – even my concerts – it’s why I do this. Glitz and glam are amazing, but real audience and fan connection is better.
Many thanks, Jessica, for taking our Pop quiz and sharing your thoughts with our readers. Happy travels! I look forward to seeing you back on the NYC concert stage in June with your pandemic delayed show California Dreamin’ at 92NY.
A Broadway Valentine plays Tuesday, February 14, 2023, at Sixth & I, 600 I Street NW, Washington, DC. For tickets (priced at $45, plus fees), go online. Masks are no longer required but are recommended.
For additional cities and dates on Jessica Vosk’s 2023 tour, see below: