Pop-Culturalist Chats with Eva Noblezada
Eva Noblezada won critical praise (hello, Tony nomination!)—and audience’s hearts—for her emotional portrayal of Kim in Miss Saigon. Not only was her acting emotional, but her singing was also stunning. Indeed, this smart, young actress’s vocal ability is on display outside of the theater; she is performing a solo show, “Girl No More,” at Manhattan’s The Green Room 42. Filled with songs that range from Frank Sinatra to Amy Winehouse, Eva shares her personal journey with audiences. We were able to chat with her about developing a solo show, her Broadway debut, and the advice she tries to live by.
P-C: What was the most challenging thing for you in putting together a solo show?
Eva: I think it was balancing out doing Saigon normally and having the vocal stamina to go into a solo show, especially with songs that I wanted to sing. That was the biggest challenge: finding the time to rest my body and my voice. It’s fun to do stuff other than work!
P-C: Is that why you put a solo show together?
Eva: It was a mixture of wanting to sing different material and wanting the audiences in New York to know my story and to have open dialogue on mental health, eating disorders, and anxiety. It should be normalized. I had always met people that glamorized their lives which is boring and untrue. This [show] was to do something fresh.
P-C: What made you pick the particular songs you are singing in your show?
Eva: Every song is a song I grew up with or fell in love with at some point in my teenage years, or when I moved to England. I have a special place in my heart for every single song so it was easy to pull them together.
P-C: Do you have an absolute favorite out of all of them?
Eva: It’s hard to choose! I was able to, with my musical director, put together what I call a diva medley. It’s a medley of all the roles that I would love to play on Broadway. It’s about seven minutes long, and it’s absolutely fierce. So, that one [is my favorite]. Also, there’s a song called “Dancing” by Elisa that I absolutely love. I never thought that I would get a chance to sing it in public so it’s really special that I get to sing it in front of people every Wednesday night.
P-C: How does performing on a stage like at The Green Room 42 compare to performing on a Broadway or West End stage?
Eva: I honestly think it’s more terrifying because it’s such an intimate crowd. It sounds strange, but I have a more relaxed time performing in front of thousands of people rather than like 150. People are coming here to see me. So, if I fail, it’s because of me. There’s a lot more at stake. But, what’s great about these shows is that the response has been overwhelming positive and wonderful and welcoming. People just want to come hear good music and have a good time.
P-C: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Eva: I don’t normally, but before every show at The Green Room, I have a gin on the rocks just to calm my nerves!
P-C: How did it feel to be step into Miss Saigon since it is such an iconic show?
Eva: I kind of just went with the wave that first year because I was so young. I mean, I love the role and the music. It’s done so much for my life and career that I will always be grateful for it. It’s taught me more than I could have ever learned in college. The experience of it and living on my own…there’s nothing better than that learning through experience.
P-C: What was your favorite thing about your Broadway debut?
Eva: Making my Broadway debut in general. I had always dreamed of being on Broadway since I was a little girl so to have my family and my husband there on opening night was the most special thing in the world. And, being able to make my debut alongside so many friends I had made in Miss Saigon. It was such a special evening.
P-C: You said you have a diva list. Do you have a dream role from that?
Eva: I’ve always wanted to be Queenie in Wild Party. I love watching the version with Brian d’Arcy James, Julia Murney, and Idina Menzel online. Queenie was a blonde, though, and I wouldn’t look great in a blonde wig [laughs].
P-C: Do you have a piece of advice you try to practice in your life?
Eva: I do. I actually have a few that I try to tell younger performers. The first is to never compare yourself to anyone else. That is a huge thing. Once you do that, you’re immediately not up-to-par. It will do nothing but catapult you to your failure quicker. Once you realize that and focus on you, it’s the most powerful thing you have. The other one is filter the bullsh*t. That may not be the most p.c. advice, but that has to do with everything in life. You don’t need to have a million friends, just quality ones; you don’t need to have a lot of money and be the most famous person, you just need to be happy. It’s about thriving and having good relationships and not letting yourself be involved with petty dramas. You have to know what friendships and relationships are most important to you.
P-C: After you finish up at The Green Room 42, what comes next?
Eva: I have a few of these solo concerts in London as well. I can’t quite yet say what I’m doing next. Soon, though!
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
Guilty pleasure TV show
Pride & Prejudice. The one with Kiera Knightly.
Memoirs of a Geisha
Go-to Karoake Song
“Lady Marmalade” for sure!
Artist You Could Listen to on Repeat
Place You Most Want to Travel to
Somewhere sunny that my whole family can travel to.
Favorite Place You Have Been to
Person You’d Like to Meet Someday
My great-great grandfather in another life to see what’s been passed on in my family.