- Natalie Wisdom
Kim Sava Jablonski, Broadway Actress.
Updated: May 12, 2021
[Interview Date: October 25, 2020]
Beetlejuice, Matilda National Tour and more.
What was the atmosphere of the Winter Garden Theatre like on March 12, 2020? And what was the week leading up to it like?
You would think that day and the events leading up to it would’ve been burned into my memory, but honestly, I had to go back into my photos to remember everything! Our day off had just changed from Monday to Wednesday, so I was at home watching the craziness unfold on the news when I got the call that we wouldn’t be coming into work that night. So, I guess you could say the atmosphere was a little like Beetlejuice…dead. (Dad joooooke) Honestly, I was excited for what I thought was going to be a snow day. Little did I know what was to come.
The week leading up to what I’m calling “Bye, bye, Broadway” was another crazy, busy, wonderful week at the Winter Garden Theatre! The days tended to blur together with understudy rehearsals and eight show weeks, but we were offered tickets to see Diana the Musical on Wednesday, and I decided to take the chance and go. I’m secretly obsessed with anything British, so I showed up with a baggie of Clorox wipes and gloves.
When Broadway initially shut down, did you think there was still a chance you would be back to conclude your run of Beetlejuice at the Winter Garden?
Oh, yes. I even posted on my Instagram that I’d be seeing everyone in a month. Snow day turned into snow month turned into…a snow year?
What items do you wish you had retrieved from the dressing room before leaving that day?
Honestly, nothing. LOL! I wish I had a funny quip about needing my “special make-up brushes,” but anything truly important, I already had safe and sound at home. I did have a pair of jeans I wanted to return so…whoops. Guess I’ll be keeping those!
Can you share a little bit about what it was like to go back to the theater to retrieve your belongings months later?
Surreal? I think walking up to the stage door and realizing there was a different marquis up was the hardest part. But also, a sign that Broadway will persevere! People need live theatre; they need an escape, and that’s the joy I get out of performing. Taking away people’s troubles for two hours so they can breathe and smile and belly laugh. I’m grateful I got the opportunity to do so, for so long. Also, there’s only so much Netflix a person can watch.
What have you been doing over the past year or so to stay sane?
I wrote down all things I’ve done to keep sane this year, because I don’t want to forget! I started this spring with buying a sewing a machine, and I taught myself to sew. (I made masks like a mofo.) I planted and remodeled our backyard, turning it into a little oasis. My husband and I adopted a kitten named Peanut. He’s a beautiful little monster and a full-time job. I read a ton. I’ve taught some masterclasses, and I’m cooking every meal, so coming up with new recipes has been fun. I’ve started running and lifting weights again, which feels amazing. The biggest and most exciting is finally getting our IVF journey started! We want a family, and we want it yesterday.
What has helped you the most?
Zooming and keeping up with my friends and family. I’ve grown closer to a lot of them through this experience.
What has been the hardest thing about the past months since the shutdown?
The political climate. My family and I disagree on pretty much everything, so we’ve got a lot of growing to do.
What positives, if any, do you think have come out of this time of quarantine?
Spending time with my husband. He’s been in school for close to three years, and that’s a long time to do long-distance. I’m really looking forward to his graduation and our move out of Florida!
What is your biggest worry right now?
I’d have to say the uncertainty of my career. How long will it take for our community to bounce back from this? Should I go back to school? If so, what for? Do I have the same passion for something other than theatre? I have a feeling a lot of people in our business are asking themselves the same questions.
What do you miss the most about the theatre?
Making art with my coworkers and friends.
What do you miss the most about Beetlejuice, speciﬁcally?
Laughing daily at the material I heard on stage every night. It literally never got old.
What is your all-time, favorite theatre memory?
That’s a tough one! I’d say performing on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I watched it as a kid growing up, so performing on it was such a full circle moment.
What advice do you have for young Broadway hopefuls during this time?
Don’t lose hope. Share your positivity with your elders (us), because we’re energy vampires and need it. VOTE. Keep working on your craft, and remember you are special. There’s only one of you out there, and the world deserves to see you and meet you.
Favorite Broadway Musical: Into the Woods
Favorite role you’ve played: Lina Lamont in Singing in the Rain
Favorite role you’ve yet to play: Francesca in Bridges of Madison County, Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein.
Favorite Movie Musical: As a kid, all of the classic Disney movies. As an adult, I would have to say Crybaby.
Movie that you think should be a musical: I thoroughly enjoyed The Greatest Showman Favorite Broadway Theatre Ritual: Writing your name under your dressing room station. Favorite NYC Restaurant: Oh GOSH! Sotto 13 for their gluten free pasta and The Bonnie in Astoria, Queens for their atmosphere and fried pickles.
Favorite Theatre Superstition: The Ghost Light. Every theatre has a ghost they’re trying to appease. They like to perform too!
Favorite Dressing Room item: A picture of my grandma performing during WWII in Belgium for prisoners of war.