Pretty Woman: The Musical is coming to town and we are over the moon about this week’s Meet a Mom. But first, a special thank you to our friends over at Wharton Center for making this come to light.
We sat down and chatted with Jade Amber – Jade is the busy mom has a 6 year old precocious and adorable son. She also is playing Violetta in Pretty Woman: The Musical!
Jade took a few minutes to speak with us on her travel day last week after she left Kentucky, on her way to Kansas City. And next up… EAST LANSING!
Jade is just getting started in commercial theatre and we are THRILLED to share more about her with GLAMoms.
Welcome Jade! Where did you grow up?
I spent time in the Bronx and was in the New York City Public School System until I was nine or ten. When I was 11, we moved to the Catskills and went to high school in upstate New York. I would say I had a good experience and got to meet a lot of different people. And when I was upstate I would visit the city often and meet more people.
I was able to meet a lot of people during my formative years who had different experiences than mine and that was cool!
Were you exposed to acting at a young age?
I was introduced to singing first because I really was into Audra McDonald – a classically trained singer in musical theatre – she has won six Tony Awards and I would imitate her a lot. My parents thought it might be good for me to take lessons and see where that goes.
I started with music and then from there I developed an intense love for opera but I also wanted to dip my toe into acting. From there my love for musical theatre was born. I then went to college and studied vocal performance (the study of opera). I ended up switching back to musical theatre and now here we are – I am in a musical and I get to sing opera!
Tell us about your son and how do you balance being a mom while on tour?
Just turned 6 in September. He just started first grade and then I learned I was leaving for the permanent position with Pretty Woman: The Musical.
I have a great support system. When I found out I got the part and would be leaving, My son’s father and – we figured it out. We have a schedule to talk to one another and FaceTime and what layoff time would look like. And also my parents have been very supportive and get to see him a lot! It has been working out well.
It takes good communication. We are able to do it otherwise. And really better time to take this job than right now with the technology available (ie. FaceTime).
Do you see your son getting into singing or acting?
Acting more than singing I think. He has an amazing memory. There were times during the pandemic where we would watch something together and he would be able to recite the entire scene from memory.
I know he has it in him but I am not pushing him to anything quite yet. And if he expresses he wants to do what mommy does then amazing and we will explore that. Right now I have no interest in pushing a 6 year old beyond what his attention span can handle.
Has your son been to any of your shows?
Yes, the end of senior year in college I had a recital showcasing all of the work I had done the prior four years and he was there – an itty bitty baby and he was able to see me in a couple different shows in New York when I was trying to figure out what direction i wanted to go. They are planning to come and see me in Pretty Woman: The Musical when we are in Orlando.
A plan for a little Disney trip while we are there.
Would you tell us a little bit about playing Violetta?
There is a certain amount of drama that comes with this role. It is weird – you are watching a production (the opera, La traviata) during, or within production (of Pretty Woman: The Musical). It is full drama and glamor for 4 minutes and I get to live out that fantasy for a moment.
It is exactly what I think people would think being an actor is like… you have this big, glamorous dress, very dramatic and you are singing to this man that you love. It is really like living that fantasy for a second while also supporting the story and what the characters are going through as well. That is one of the coolest parts about Violetta.
Tell us a little bit about other Broadway shows you have worked on –
I am really just getting started over the past 2 years. I was working on developing new works and demos for people. Some of the new works were operas for people in the off-broadway setting, in East Village. It is fun to get to work on new works and most were geared towards Opera and Pop Rock.
And then I decided I was ready to perform in commercial musical theatre and that is when I performed in RENT. After RENT, I immediately came to Pretty Woman: The Musical.
What are the ages of Pretty Woman: The Musical cast and crew?
I came in thinking I was the grandma of the cast and that could not be further from the truth. There are people ranging from their 20s to almost 60. A huge age diversity is always cool.
What advice would you give a young adult who is interested in acting or singing?
Good question! And this question is forcing me to ask a question to my younger self. I think the biggest thing I would say to someone is that it really is all about you. When you are playing a character, you are taking on different characteristics of that character but it is how you relate it to yourself.
When you approach material, remember it is all about you – put you first. Be yourself and that is the biggest thing. And I know that so many people argue the industry wants us to be something else and they push us and pull us into many different directions. We are at the whim of so many different things.
I would say, being yourself is the biggest thing. Remember what you have to offer is fantastic, wonderful and unique. I think my younger self would have loved to have heard that.
It is challenging especially in college or auditioning and everyone is telling you the type you are and all of the ways you should fit. It is so difficult to find yourself in the midst of all of that – really hard!
It is important to know yourself and find similarities there and use the similarities and incorporate them as much as you can into the character.
What are some must haves while you travel to make it feel more like home?
Honestly, something that I like to travel with is books and crochet. I have really gotten into reading and crocheting. It is something I started back home because I needed more hobbies. It has been very helpful when there has been stress and uncertainty or I am feeling more anxiety than usual. I find being able to read and being able to crochet help.
I just finished reading a biography on Keith Haring prior to that a book about Jeanette McCurdy about a child in the entertainment industry. We share books while we are on tour. It helps expand what you like a little bit and explore different genres. I am big into biographies. I have a lot of castmates here who read different things and it is cool to check out what they are reading and see if it would be something I am into.
Do you seek out something particular at every tour stop?
Sometimes. I try to find a way to explore with friends a bit. It is fun to get your nails done and check out some shops. Unfortunately we do not always have time to do that and that is a bummer, we visit a lot of interesting places and a lot of times we just do not have time to take advantage of the visit.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am in my head a bit when I am doing what I am doing.
That feeling of being 12 years old and walking through the cafeteria and being dorky and anxious and not having anyone to sit – that does not go away. I think people would be surprised to know I am battling that little 12 year old in my head. I think we all have things that we battle and put it aside so we can do what we need to do.
Something on your bucket list of productions you would like to work… someday
It really has always been Wicked! I really think that Wicked is going to happen. It is not a matter of if, it is when. That feels really aligned for me. That has been on my bucket list since I was 14 years old. I just cannot tell you when. And I would really love to perform in more operas. I am not sure which ones, perhaps a guest spot at a local company – that would be really ideal.
FUN ONES 🙂
If we were to grab you coffee, what would we bring? OOOH… You would bring me an Iced Latte with Oak Milk and a little sugar. Oh… we know a place.
Early bird or Night owl? Night Owl for sure and it is the WORST. My son is pretty accommodating, sort of. He can be a night owl but he is also an early bird. He can function on less sleep.
Beach or Mountains? Beach
Winter or Summer? Summer
What is your schedule like right now?
We are doing a lot of one week shows. We are currently in Kentucky, then Kansas City and then to see you in East Lansing. It is tough with one week shows to recover when you are traveling but that is just the schedule before our layoffs. We find ways to establish routine and stay sane.
Will you get time off over the holidays?
Yes and it will be great to be back in New York and see my little munchkin.
Jade was amazing and kind and pure delight to talk with. We are so looking forward to seeing her perform this week at Wharton Center! 🙂
If you are interested in purchasing tickets to Pretty Woman: The Musical, visit Wharton Center for more information.
Images provided by Jade Amber