Exclusive Interview: Jackie Burns

Today, we are excited to present our readers with a wonderful interview from Jackie Burns. Ms. Burns has previously performed as Elphaba on the 1st National Tour and will actually be taking over as Elphaba in the Broadway production of the show on September 25th. Check out her insights below!

What was your first professional acting job, and how did you get it? What did you learn from the experience?

My first professional job was in college. I auditioned for “Jesus Christ Superstar” and was in the chorus and just sat back and watched all these amazing accomplished actors and tried to soak in as much as I could.

How did you come to audition for “Wicked”? How long was the audition process, and what did you have to do?

I got the audition thru my agent.  I went in for my initial audition on a Tuesday, got a callback for the next day, then another for that Friday, and then had my final callback for all the creatives on Monday. I had to sing three songs from the show as well as do a few scenes.

What was your reaction when you found out you had been cast in the show?

I ran around the house jumping up and down!!!! And then I called my parents and then they jumped up and down!!!!

How long was your initial rehearsal process for the show? What was it like?

Jackie Burns as Elphaba

Jackie Burns as Elphaba

I had almost a month of rehearsal! The dance captain and stage manager (they are both guys) put me in the show. They would play all the different parts (Glinda/Nessa/etc.). It was pretty funny and so cute!! It was a blast!

What was your first performance like? How did you feel throughout the show?

I honestly can’t remember my first performance. It was a complete blur! I have no idea if it was good or bad. All I knew was I got through it without any major mess ups! Thank God!! Lol!

What is your favorite part of the show to perform?

I honestly don’t have a favorite part. It changes every night depending on my mood, the audience energy, etc.!

Do you find your performance to change with different leads in the show and when understudies come in?

Absolutely!! That’s what makes it so fun! Each person brings their own energy and take on the role; you can’t help but be affected and enjoy the ride!

Have you had to change any daily habits to protect your voice and body while in the show?

Yes! I really watch what I eat and drink.  I also sleep much later while doing the show. And most importantly I limit the amount of talking I do during the day.

Have you witnessed – or perhaps been involved in – any onstage bloopers or mishaps that you’d like to share?

Jackie Burns & Chandra Lee Schwartz

Jackie Burns & Chandra Lee Schwartz

One night the girl who played Nessa was late for her entrance after “I’m Not that Girl” into the train station. So Glinda and I were left on stage just making small talk looking really awkward! It was pretty amazing!

You’re the second person we know of to have played both Sheila in “Hair” and Elphaba in “Wicked”. Do you find any similarities in the two roles?

Yes, Shelia and Elphaba are both activists. They are both very strong women with huge hearts that fight for what they believe in.

What is a typical day like for you on tour? Do you rest during the day or are you able to explore the cities you visit?

I rest during the day in the fact that I limit my talking, but I still go out and explore each city. I just do most of the exploring alone and quietly! Lol!

What was your last performance like?

My last performance was a blast! It was also tough. It’s hard when your last show is the 8th show you’ve done that week and also the end of a 5 show weekend!! So I was tired but the adrenaline of the last show pushes you through!! I was also sad to be leaving all the amazing people I met on the road!

Are there any dream roles that you’d like to one day perform?

Yes!!!! I would love to play Evita!! Elphaba and Evita have always been my 2 dream roles. I’m so blessed to have played one already! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the other!

What advice would you give to aspiring performers?

I think my best advice for other performers is the thing I try every day to tell myself: never compare yourself to others and know only you can do you! Every person has their own special gift that is unique to them! Own it and never let anyone tell you you’re not good enough! Follow what makes you happy!


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4 Responses to Exclusive Interview: Jackie Burns

  1. Aunt Roz says:

    What a great gal….we’re so proud of you.

  2. emma says:

    Great job Jacki! I cant wait to go see you on bway!!

    Saw you in boston and it was stupendus!

  3. Chris DiBiasio says:

    Love you girl, we are very proud of you! Hope to come and see you on Broadway!

  4. Jackie,

    My girlfriend and I took the train to NYC the day before yesterday (1/18/12)to see you perform at the Gershwin. We loved! loved! loved! the show and you as Elphaba. Your voice and presence on stage as well as the chemistry between you and Chandra made the experience powerful and iconic for us, we thank you for your art. I make my living as a fine art painter/ muralist and I know well the challenges and rewards of giving oneself to a creative passion and building a professional life around that passion. Well done- come to Providence and Providence Performing Art Center! Amy

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