Meet Jessica Woodburn
Mamma Mia! Spotlight
Jessica, playing Rosie this summer in Mamma Mia!, has worked with many different theatre companies both on- and off-stage in Milwaukee, Chicago, Orlando, and Los Angeles. Some of her most recent shows include Hunchback, Oliver, Les Mis, and Into the Woods. She also works as Production Manager for the Shakespeare All Stars Theatre. Mamma Mia! was the first show Jessica ever saw on Broadway and we are lucky to have her in our production!
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We asked Jessica a few questions about herself.
Q: Who or what inspired you to start doing theater?
A: I just love a good story. Theatre is the best way to tell a story and I like to be part of every aspect of that process. I also had some great theatre teachers in middle and high school who really inspired me.
Q: What was the musical that had you fall in love with musicals?
A: Sweeney Todd was the first time I really saw what musicals could be. In like 2002, I randomly added the DVD of the 1979 Lansbury/Hearn performance to my Netflix queue and was kinda like “hmm, I like Angela Lansbury, let’s see what this is all about.” I was blown away by the complex music and dark topic being presented as a musical. Musical theatre is now my absolute favorite thing and Sweeney is still my favorite show (although, I much prefer Len Cariou as Sweeney).
Q: What is the favorite role you've ever played?
A: This is actually my favorite role to date! I adore this show, and it was the first show I ever saw on Broadway! Close second: I was cast as Joanna in Sweeney once, but the show fell through before I got to perform
Q: What is the dream role you still want to play?
A: I would love to play The Drowsy Chaperone, Fiona in Shrek, Marion in Music Man, and, of course, Mrs.Lovett in Sweeney Todd.
Q: Most challenging part of bringing this story to life?
A: Honestly? Singing and dancing at the same time.
Q: Do you have any performance superstitions?
A: No garlic before a show.
Q: If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would you want to play you?
A: Laura Benanti. We look nothing alike, but I am sure she could handle it.
Q: What do you do when you’re not doing theater?
A: Well, when I am not acting I love to Stage Manage and I am also the Production Manager for the Shakespeare All Stars Theatre. I have a crafting business called Holzbrennen Studio and I sell stuff at craft fairs. I also teach Home Health Aides through the SEIU Union. ...And I have a 9-5 corporate job that you really don’t want to hear about. Oh, and watching True Crime docus when my husband is not around.
Q: If you were stranded on an island, which character from Mamma Mia would you want to have with you and why?
A: Probably Bill. I feel like he could use some of his adventurer skills to get keep us alive.
Q: Why should people come see this production of Mamma Mia?
A: The cast is one of the best I have ever worked with! Everyone is so talented! And the choreography is really amazing!! It is gonna be so much fun!
Q: Have a favorite YouTube/Instagram/Vimeo video of you performing?
A: Oh, dear lord, no. You see it live or not at all!