- Natalie Wisdom
Jennifer Sánchez, Broadway Actress.
[Interview Date: December 4, 2020]
The Rose Tattoo, Sunday in the Park with George, West Side Story and more.
Where were you on March 12, 2020? And what was the week leading up to it like for you?
I had just finished my solo show at the Green Room that week (March 8th), and I was home in Astoria, anxiously reading the news and waiting to see what would happen in NYC. I remember I had tickets to see my friend Erin Davie in Diana on the night they shut down Broadway.
Did you initially anticipate that Broadway and other theatre productions would be closed for this long?
After reading about the devastation in China, I was anticipating a significant closure.
How has the pandemic directly affected your career plans during this time?
Most of my work has been cancelled, of course, and all of my side hustles evaporated, but there have been things that have shifted virtually. I’m not what I would consider computer savvy, so that’s been the biggest learning curve.
What have you been doing over the past year or so to stay sane? What has helped youthe most?
Facetimes with friends and family, playing my guitar, but mostly, giving myself permission to not do anything. Permission to pause (to NOT create or DO or progress) is a new and foreign concept. I think maybe I’m getting too used to it? Haha.
What has been the most challenging thing about the past months since the shutdown?
I miss in-person yoga and workout classes so much. I never realized how much I rely on the beautiful energy of fellow humans!
What positives, if any, do you think have come out of this time of quarantine?
I think the murder of George Floyd received more attention because people were home; the whole world was home and had to really look at it in all of its ugliness. No one could just read the story and shake their head and rush off to work the next day.
In addition to being a Broadway actress, you are also a Singer/Songwriter. How has the pandemic affected your drive to write and create? Has music helped soothe you? Has the feel of your music changed during this time?
I definitely wrote a quarantine love song about cabbage soup, so that’s a yes; haha. I was also asked to write a song for the Times Square Alliance, and they ended up producing a music video of it! It’s my first music video and will be my first single, which is sort of miraculous. It’s called “Heartbeat,” and will be available before Christmas. And it actually is in a different style than I usually write in, because I wasn’t writing it about or for myself. But a resounding YES. The music always saves me.
Have there been any big life decisions that you have made during this time as a direct result of the pandemic? Any decisions that you don’t think you would have made,otherwise?
Yes! I moved in with my boyfriend in Brooklyn! Giving up my Queens card was hard, but I’m so glad I did it. Being close to the people you care about is a gift.
What is your biggest concern right now?
The second surge. I worry about and feel my heart break for the people and businesses suffering around the globe, whether physically, financially or emotionally.
What do you miss most about live theatre?
The energy. The sound of a roomful of people laughing or crying or cheering together.
What’s your all-time favorite theatre memory?
Strangely, seeing Christine Ebersole in Grey Gardens. It was so strange; I felt like she did the whole show directly to me. It’s when I knew I could and would have a career. It was super weird. Haha.
What is the first thing you’re most excited to do when live theatre is back?
Go to Joe Allen after the show and have a huge martini and slice of banana cream pie and over-tip the bartender.
What advice do you have for young Broadway/NYC hopefuls during this time?
Learn how to use a computer and sound equipment and a green screen! Your neighbors will like you more if you aren’t cursing loudly at all of your equipment.
Favorite Broadway Musical: Gypsy
Favorite Broadway Play: Indecent
Favorite role you’ve played: Candela in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Dream role: Something I write or someone writes for me.
Favorite Movie Musical: Sound of Music
Movie that you think should be a musical: One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’d open and close in a day. Haha!
Favorite Broadway Theater: Belasco, even though it’s definitely haunted
Favorite Broadway Ritual: A pack of Emergen-C before EVERY SINGLE SHOW
Favorite NYC Restaurant: Marseilles
Favorite Theatre Superstition: Don’t whistle backstage
Favorite Dressing Room item: A plush, luxurious robe and slipper. I get two. You can’t only have one, come on.