You’re a Big Deal: Jill Paice of Broadway’s “Matilda”
Exclusive interview with Jill Paice, who plays ‘Miss Honey’ in “Matilda” on Broadway.
WBD: What sparked your interest in musical theater and how did you get started?
When I was in the third grade we moved to Ohio from Greece (my dad was in the air force) and I had zero friends. I think my mom thought theater would be a good way for me to meet people so she convinced me to audition for the high school musical that year which was “Oklahoma.” So it’s her fault. Also, there was this great program in Dayton called The Muse Machine which collected high school students from the area to put on a show every year. It was an awesome program! We also got lots and lots of national tours coming through our city and my parents always made sure we had tickets for Sunday matinees. That was back in the days before I realized actors got paid to perform. I thought they just did it because it was fun.
WBD: What has been your most memorable moment on stage?
Each time I leave a show or a run comes to an end, I try to grab a couple of minutes on the empty stage alone to take it all in. I like to quietly thank a space for having me.
WBD: What the the auditioning process like for “Matilda”?
I went in and I sang. Then I went in and sang again. Then I went in and danced a little. Also I had to be able to do a cartwheel! (I practiced in Cobble Hill Park with my boyfriend Michael watching as he drank his morning coffee).
WBD: Who are your biggest Broadway influences?
Kelli O’Hara, Sutton Foster and Marin Mazzie.
WBD: What is your favorite song from “Matilda”?
“When I Grow Up”
Tell us one of the coolest things that’s happened in your career so far.
At the intermission of “A Little Night Music” (the one-night-only Roundabout benefit), Alec Baldwin found me backstage and told me I must never quit doing this. I assume he meant theater. Which is something that has stayed with me because 1. He’s real famous and when Alec Baldwin says stuff, you can’t help but listen. Also he is tall. 2. There’s been lots of times when I feel like I would like to quit or try something else and then I remember that once Alec Baldwin told me I shouldn’t. It was a cool feeling when he told me that. And since he felt that way maybe other people felt that way too. The truth is, I really love what I do for a living, but sometimes you have to learn to love it even more–and those lessons are sometimes hard.
WBD:Who would you love to work with and why?
I did the Encores’ production of “Where’s Charley?” a couple years ago that was directed by John Doyle. I would love to work with him again. Everyday felt like a masterclass. But not the sort of showy masterclass where you leave feeling inadequate. The better kind. The kind where you finish each day with lots of new things to think about and implement into your performance. Plus, he’s a great story teller.
WBD:What advice do you have for aspiring Broadway stars?
Go to college. Study up on this theater thing. Choose a school that has strong New York connections. Look for a school that brings you here in your senior year and performs a showcase. It’s the best introduction to New York City you’ll ever get. I am still with my same manager (Tony Cloer at Blue Ridge Entertainment) who spotted me at Baldwin Wallace University’s showcase. Also, save your money and mind your health.
WBD's Fun Five
with Jill Paice
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?Oregon. Google it. Select "Images." You'll see why.
If I gave you $20 to spend on anything right now, what would it be?A Sunday donut from the Montclair Bread Company and a Stumptown coffee. Maybe two donuts and two coffees. With the leftover cash, a really nice biscuit for my dog.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.I still use AOL.
What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?For heaven's sake, believe in yourself! It's gonna work out even if it's not quite the way you thought it would!
One guilty pleasure you aren't willing to give up?www.dogshaming.com
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