Before she was belting out “Defying Gravity” as Elphaba in the Broadway and national tour of Tony Award-winning Wicked, Jessica Vosk was living the Wall Street life working in investor relations. Her inspiring story and theatrical talent is now inspiring the students of Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) Musical Theatre Conservatory.
Performing as the artist-in-residence for this year’s “Performing with the Pros” event, taking place Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, Vosk has been involved in the casting, directing and designing of the show along with Creator and Director Karen Rymar. The cabaret-style performance will be a combination of the students and Vosk performing a medley of music that has influenced Vosk, ranging from Broadway pieces to rock and pop.
Vosk chatted about the opportunity to work with and inspire OCSA’s students and gives advice on making it in the world of Broadway.
What will your audience experience in the cabaret-style production?
A real, vulnerable look into the lives of these students, what they have learned through this process and how they have grown as performers and storytellers. This set list is kind of like a rock concert. I’m so proud of them.
What is your all-time favorite music number to perform?
There are so many, but at the moment I am really loving Nothing Compares to You (as sung by Sinead O’Connor but written by Prince!)
As someone who famously took a risk in career and life, what advice do you give to those aspiring to work in theater (or any industry really)?
There is no ONE way to become successful. There is no ONE version of success. I always tell people to keep learning, it never stops. Stay in your lane, and surround yourself with people who are also working to make their dreams come true, because they will push you. But truly, in those impatient moments, remind yourself that everything happens when and how it is supposed to.
What did you want to be when you grow up?
Lawyer or Broadway actor.
What is a secret about working in Broadway from your own experience?
It is monumentally more difficult than it looks!
Do you have any pre or post-show routines?
Many! Warm ups, specific drinks (Pedialyte!), thieves oil, and yoga.
What was your experience like working OCSA’s students?
One of the highlights of my life thus far. Karen Rymar has put together a program that I couldn’t have fathomed when I was in highschool. I have been so lucky to work with such talented, hard-working students day in, day out. They bring 100% of themselves to this project, which is why they’ve all been cast. Let’s be real, I’ll probably never leave.
What do you hope the audience will take from this show?
My goal when I put together shows is to treat the audience as another cast member, perhaps the most important one! They allow us to learn what journey we are really going on. That being said, I specifically chose material that was relevant to our social issues as we see them today. However…they are issues that have existed for many years. The fun part is braiding them together in a way that makes the audience leave with a different perspective. Maybe they have a change of heart or mind after seeing the show. Maybe they are inspired to change their lives. Any of those things are truly why I am in this field. To provoke thought, excitement and change.
“Performing with the Pros” runs Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Margaret A. Webb Theatre on OCSA’s campus. Tickets are $26-$28, and are available for purchase at www.ocsarts.net/boxoffice.