One for You, One for Them: 5 Serious Questions (and 5 Silly Ones) with Phantom of the Opera Star Sierra Boggess

Sierra-Boggess-as-Christine---Photo-Credit-Joan-Marcus

Andrew Lloyd Webber has been livestreaming his legendary musicals on his The Shows Must Go On YouTube channel. Following previous airings of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar, audiences will be able to access The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall for free until Sunday 11am PT / 2pm ET.

Broadway Musical Home is lucky to have a moment with Broadway leading lady (and Christine Daaé of multiple productions) Sierra Boggess, in preparation for the livestream. However, since this a production that she starred in almost 10 years ago (and likely answered tons of questions about then), we’ve decided to do a “One for You, One for Them” interview, where one question is serious and the next is…a bit less so.

DUANE RICHARDS: Hello Sierra! Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview, I am a huge fan. Let’s start with the elephant in the room. How has quarantine been for you, personally? Where have you been spending it? (Bonus Question: How are Celie and Olivia?)

SIERRA BOGGESS: Hi! Quarantine has been a really fascinating experience… each day I set a schedule for myself so that it helps me feel like I’m on purpose.  I think what’s really hard about this is you can start to feel purposeless, and so I keep just telling people that I’m proud of them for SHOWING UP for whatever day it is!  I know that people are also dealing with sickness and the fear that surrounds that with loved ones or themselves and I just keep sending out as much light and love as I can. It’s a really tough time for a lot of people.  Celie and Olivia are doing exceptionally.  I am SO grateful for them in my life, and would be having a terrible time without them.

DUANE: First random question: Sierra Boggess, possessor of talent and beauty, what’s your weirdest eating habit?

SIERRA: oooh, hmm… I don’t have a WEIRD one, but my bad habit is anything salty crunchy. Chips. Since lockdown Ive been craving fritos like no ones business!!!

DUANE: Back to serious: You’re an outspoken mental health advocate, and often use the phrase “You Are Enough” to comfort and provide moral support to your online audience. What’s your advice for maintaining mental health during this crazy time? And do you have any advice specifically for artists?

SIERRA: First of all to know that we are all in this together.  It’s so interesting because we are having a collective human experience, not just in our own states, or countries, but around the world.  So I just want to make sure people know they are NOT ALONE. This time is a good opportunity for us to look at how we have been living and see what we are proud of and see what no longer serves us.  If we truly trust how enough we are then we may start to see there’s room for other good and helpful things as well as room to eliminate the toxic. And for artist specifically?  I say it’s ok to NOT do your art until your soul feels ready.  I went thru a 2 week period where I didn’t even want to sing a note.  And then I couldn’t STOP singing!  So it’s ok if your artistry is a little off right now… I think it’s supposed to be, so that we can rebuild.

DUANE: You did this recording of Phantom almost 10 years ago, in 2011. Sierra Boggess, vocal powerhouse, what was on your playlist back then? Feel free to check your iTunes. (Extra points if there are cheesy pop songs.)

SIERRA: I actually make playlists that are labeled by month and year and so I have exactly my playlist from October 2011 (I’m gonna use that month since that’s when Phantom was)

Good Life – One Republic
Without You – David Guetta
It Girl – Jason Dereulo
Love On Top – Beyonce
Bubbly – Colbie Fallait
Will You Be There – MJ
They Don’t Care About Us – MJ
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

DUANE: The Phantom livestream is (technically) the third production in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Shows Must Go On series. As someone who has worked with ALW multiple times, and is a personal friend of his, what do you think it is about his legacy that continues to endure? Not only with Phantom but seemingly with all of his works?

SIERRA: The music.  It has to be.  He writes our soul’s music.  And it’s so accessible to us.  He’s also very very smart marketing man!  This is a very smart thing to do, to let us access his work for free for a period of time, and help revive ourselves through the music!!!

DUANE: Continuing on the ALW track; On a scale of 1 to Carole Baskin, how upset are you that you missed out on the Cats movie?

SIERRA: Missed out?  I went to a preview and wore cat ears and ate popcorn!  Oh I didn’t miss out! 🙂

DUANE: You talked in your Show People interview about how weird it was to watch yourself on the big screen in Phantom, and I can only imagine it’ll be weirder to watch it again nine years later. After a an additional near-decade of storied experience, how do you feel you’ve changed as a performer? Is there anything you miss from that time, career-wise?

SIERRA: It is weird watching myself, but I loved this show so much and I loved that particular night we did the show, so I feel so happy to be able to celebrate along with everyone.  What moves me the most is how excited people STILL get about our production in particular.  It really really touches me.  That night we were all so focused and fearless but also terribly nervous but it to me is just watching all of us conquering fear of all that COULD go wrong, and giving ourselves over to the characters and the moment.

DUANE: Sierra Boggess, woman of strength and substance…when Broadway makes the inevitable Kardashians musical, which role are you vying for and why?

SIERA: Audience. Haha.

DUANE: In addition to your role as Christine in Phantom, you are famous to another large section of Broadway fans as the originator of the role of Ariel in Broadway’s The Little Mermaid (which is also being celebrated on Friday by Broadway Cares). How does it feel to look back on both of these iconic musical theatre roles at the same time? Additionally, which one do you get recognized for more?

SIERRA: I get recognized equally, because Disney and ALW are almost as big as each other! So it’s really special to be able to reach so many fans all over the world because both Disney and ALW are global phenomenons!  To be honest by the end of the day of celebrating Disney and Phantom I needed a break from MYSELF haha because it really does feel amazing to get to relive the shows and roles that changed my life. I mean it, they CHANGED MY LIFE!  And I just get overwhelmed with gratitude and I also watch myself and know the hard work that I put in and continue to put in. I don’t ever look and think “well you arrived. You’re done doing the work now.” It actually made me want to go practice haha.

DUANE: Sierra Boggess, luckiest woman in the world, you got to play both Norm Lewis’ daughter (in Mermaid) and his muse (in Phantom). What’s something funny or interesting that most people don’t know about him? And can you help me convince him to adopt me, even though I’m 25?

SIERRA: I don’t know what there is to say about Norm that people don’t know, but all I can say is he’s one of the greatest friends and humans you will ever know and I love him with all my heart!  So I’m rooting for your adoption process haha.

DUANE: Thank you so very much for your time. Congratulations on this celebratory weekend!

NOTE: All of Sierra’s wonderful answers appear unedited.

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