Krysta Rodriguez Says Smash Musical Will Create a 'Whole New World' for Fans | Playbill

How Did I Get Here Krysta Rodriguez Says Smash Musical Will Create a 'Whole New World' for Fans

She's going to next appear in Bye Bye Birdie at Kennedy Center and is also readying a concert for Out of the Box Theatrics.

Graphic by Vi Dang

Last season, Krysta Rodriguez was seen in two very different Broadway productions, stepping into the hit revival of Into the Woods as Cinderella and, shortly thereafter, playing opposite Jeremy Pope and Paul Bettany in The Collaboration on Broadway for Manhattan Theatre Club.

The versatile actor—whose Main Stem credits also include Good Vibrations, the revival of A Chorus Line, the original production and subsequent revival of Spring Awakening, In the Heights, The Addams Family, and First Date—will next be seen as Rosie in the Kennedy Center staging of Bye Bye Birdie. Part of the Broadway Center Stage series, the Marc Bruni-directed revival will play the venue's Eisenhower Theater June 7–15 with a cast that also includes Christian Borle as Albert Peterson and Ephraim Sykes as Conrad Birdie.

Prior to Birdie, however, Broadway favorite Rodriguez will share her many talents in a concert evening as part of Out of the Box Theatrics' Broadway at the 154 cabaret series. The May 14 concert will be held at the New York theatre company's new home at 154 Christopher Street, formerly the New Ohio Theatre. She has been seen on screen as Liza Minnelli in Halston as well as in Smash, Daybreak, Trial & Error, Quantico, Younger, The Mysteries of Laura, and more

In the interview below for the Playbill series How Did I Get Here—spotlighting not only actors, but directors, designers, musicians, and others who work on and off the stage to create the magic that is live theatre—Rodriguez offers a tantalizing tidbit of what audiences can expect from the long-in-development Smash musical and how she's looking for her next dream role.

Krysta Rodriguez and Kennedy Kanagawa in Into The Woods Matt Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Where did you train/study?
Krysta Rodriguez: I went to an arts high school in California called the Orange County High School of the Arts, and I trained for my BFA at NYU.

Was there a teacher who was particularly impactful/helpful? What made this instructor standout?
I truly have so many! I had a dance teacher growing up in Orange County name Leann Alduenda, who made dance really accessible and fun. I would spend hours at the studio taking all of her classes. I also had a voice teacher, Marianna Giordano, who I still study with to this day. I really credit her for teaching me about vocal health. She was very hands-on and holistic, and I learned a lot about my body and my instrument at a young age from her.

You've previously worked with Out of the Box. What makes this theatre company special for you?
I think anywhere we can be doing experimental or new theatre in New York City is vital. And, it’s such a special space tucked in the West Village, which is an important historical area for arts and our community.

What can people expect from the upcoming concert?
I love to put on a fun show. I will do the hits that people know, but I like to do subversive and entertaining mashups, bucket list roles, and favorite pop songs. I just love sending everybody back into the world uplifted.

Krysta Rodriguez and Wesley Taylor in The Addams Family

Can you share a favorite stage mishap?
During the out-of-town tryout of Addams Family in Chicago, [Wesley Taylor] and I were singing “Crazier Than You.” At the end of the song, I’m standing downstage left, and he’s upstage right. We’re supposed to hit the big note, run to each other, and hug. However, as we went to run to each other, the curtain came down in between us prematurely. Just as I thought I was going to have to sing the song by myself, Wesley slid on his stomach under the curtain so he could finish the song with me downstage. The funniest part was the audience had no idea. It was a mistake and thought we had just made a really weird choice.

Are you involved in the Smash stage production? Anything you can share about the show or recent workshop?
I can’t share too much about the show for obvious reasons. But it is unlike anything you’re expecting! We take some of the familiar stories and characters, but make a whole new world out of it. It will be for the diehard Smash fan, but also the newcomer!

Krysta Rodriguez and Jeremy Pope in The Collaboration Jeremy Daniel

What made you decide to become an actor? Was there a particular production or performance that influenced your decision?
When I was five, my mom got me tickets to see Annie at the performing arts center in my town. We had second row center seats, and I just remember feeling that whatever was happening on stage, I wanted to be a part of it.

Tell me about a time you almost gave up but didn’t.
While I ultimately had a very fruitful and incredible time at my high school, I did not make it into the musical theatre department when I auditioned my freshman year. It would’ve been very easy to give up then. But instead, I applied for the tech department and spent my freshman year building sets and sewing costumes and learning all the parts of the theatre. It was probably the best thing I could’ve ever done. And I auditioned again, and got in the next year!

How did you get your first job in the theatre?
My first professional job was playing one of the additional daughters in Fiddler on the Roof at a theatre in Southern California when I was 15. I didn’t even have a name! But it was such a fun experience, and I got my first paycheck.

What do you consider your big break?
Even though I was a very small part, I consider being in the original cast of Spring Awakening one of the most transformative events of my career. I had been involved in another Broadway show that was not successful and felt a little lost in the industry. Being a part of that show gave me a family, a love for the Broadway community, and a purpose to perform work that meant something to me. So, while many people might’ve seen that show and not even noticed me, I would consider that my big break.

Is there a person or people you most respect in your field and why?
I truly just think anyone who decides to dedicate their life to this art form in any way is to be respected. It’s a very uncertain and sometimes thankless job. So, I respect people who follow their passions.

Daniel N. Durant and Krysta Rodriguez in the Broadway revival of Spring Awakening

Tell me about a job/opportunity you really wanted but didn’t get. How did you get over that disappointment?
Truly, there have been countless jobs that I really wanted that I didn’t get. In fact, it’s very rare to get a job you really want. Sometimes the universe has different plans for you. I try to keep a mentality of what is for me will be mine and what is not for me won’t be. I also try to send energy in a waiting room to everyone there that if it’s their job, they will get it. It sounds a little out there, but it helps me.

What is the most memorable day job you ever had?
I used to work in retail. I loved it! It was fun to help people play dress-up.

Do you have a dream stage role?
For over a decade, I’ve been saying Sally Bowles in Cabaret. But I had the immense privilege to play the role at Barrington Stage Company [in Pittsfield, Massachusetts] last summer. So now I need a new dream. Any ideas?

What advice would you give your younger self or anyone starting out?
There are things that this industry is, and there are things that it isn’t. And the things that it is can be great, but they can also be bad. At some point, you’re just going to have to accept the bad if you want the good.

What is your proudest achievement as an actor?
The fact that I can make a living is an achievement that I never take for granted. Being able to live an adventurous life with all of its twist and turns and to share that with my friends and family has been a real blessing of this career.

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