by April Holloway
I can’t believe it’s been a year since I made the New Amsterdam Theatre my home. At this time last year, I had decided to take a break and spend some much needed quality-time with two of my best friends in Charleston, South Carolina before I started rehearsals for Aladdin. On my flight to see my friends, I listened to the Broadway recording of the show over and over with excitement. The weeks before rehearsals were such a sweet time for me to share that excitement with my loved ones. I’m happy to have had those moments before dedicating myself to the amazing show I get to be a part of eight times a week!
My first moments in The New Am were instantly filled with warmth. I was proud, but nervous at the same time. As stage management escorted me around the building to meet the cast, we eventually made our way to the women’s dressing room where I was met with the most overwhelming welcome I’ve ever experienced accompanied by the largest hugs of life. After sitting in the audience and seeing the show for the first time, I couldn’t help but to smile from ear to ear. I knew I’d walked into something special and that all of my hard work of pounding the pavement in New York for nearly a decade had paid off. As I made my way through rehearsals and transitioned into the show on a nightly basis, I was constantly met with respect and appreciation from any and everyone in the building: stage managers, company managers, dance captains, dressers, stage hands, hair and makeup artists, and of course, my cast mates. That mutual respect and appreciation still holds true even a year later!
My first media experience happened two weeks into the show. We recorded a 360° version of “Friend Like Me” which allows viewers to see the number from various points in the theatre and on the stage. Since then, I’ve also participated in quite a few Broadway Cares-related activities. Most recently, I recorded a song with my cast that will be featured on their 2018 “Carols For a Cure” album. In addition to creating and performing with my cast, I’ve had numerous reasons to celebrate with them as well. We’re constantly celebrating birthdays, babies, put-ins, goodbyes, and supporting each other in our personal endeavors outside of the show. Being in a Broadway show and on a consistent schedule for a year has also allowed me to invest in my relationships, health, artistry, and future on a level that I haven’t experienced before.
I can’t say enough amazing things about my cast. I really feel like I struck gold. I walk into my dressing room every day and it’s not long before someone in there has me cracking up laughing. The timing of my Broadway debut couldn’t have been any better. I’m a part of a theatrical experience that is vibrant, colorful, joyful, playful, and a place where I feel like I can be myself. My work is valued and I am able to showcase many aspects of my artistry.
I don’t know that I’d change anything about my journey to Broadway. I’m proud of the quality of work I’ve done leading up to this point. All of those previous experiences prepared me for this moment in my career, which seems to get more satisfying with time. I’m amazed at the amount of people from different parts of my past that have generously made a point to come see me in the show. A year later I am even more proud, more confident, more accomplished, and more excited about the woman I am evolving into as a result of this experience. Theater is my sanctuary and right now, I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Each time I make my way onto the stage, I’m filled with the utmost gratitude!