Broadway performer Arielle Jacobs visits Stacy Wolf’s spring course, “Race and the American Musical, From Minstrelsy to Hamilton,” on Tuesday, April 11. The master class and conversation begin at 3:00 p.m. in Room 219 at 185 Nassau Street; free and open to public.
Wolf’s seminar course explores how and why race is a key component of the Broadway musical theatre. From 19th-century minstrel shows, in which African American performers “blacked up” to play black characters previously performed by whites in blackface; to the mid-20th century “golden age” musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein, in which Asian characters were created to support a white liberal agenda; to the blockbuster HAMILTON, which merges musical theatre conventions and hip hop to re-tell the story of America, performances of race and ethnicity structure the American musical’s aesthetic and political work. How did we get from there to here?
A California native, ARIELLE JACOBS was most recently seen playing Nessarose in the Broadway cast of WICKED. She also starred on Broadway as Nina Rosario in the four-time Tony & Grammy award winning Broadway musical IN THE HEIGHTS, opposite composer/creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Off-Broadway, she has starred in two world-premiere plays by Pulitzer-winning playwright and director Nilo Cruz; entitled SOTTO VOCE (as Lucila Pulpo) and FARHAD OR THE SECRET OF BEING (as Farhad, a young Afghan girl who was raised as a boy to avoid social exile but then reaches puberty and struggles with the limitations of becoming a woman in the Middle East.) Jacobs was seen in the original National Touring companies of IN THE HEIGHTS (Nina) and Disney’s HIGH SCHOOL MUSCIAL (Gabriella), in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA: A ROCK OPERA (Julia), and in Dreamcatcher Theatre’s production of INTO THE WOODS (Baker’s Wife), opposite Broadway legend Tituss Burgess as the Witch.
Other credits include Broadway workshops of BETWEEN THE LINES (based on the bestselling book by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer), SECONDHAND LIONS (directed by Scott Schwartz), ATLANTIS (directed by Tony Winner Christopher Gattelli), DIAMOND ALICE (at Roundabout Theatre Company), CARMEN and NIGHTINGALE (both directed by Tony Nominee Moises Kaufman), MASK (with Tony-winning director Richard Maltby, Jr.), HEAD OVER HEELS (with Drama Desk winning director Ed Iskandar), and IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU (with director David Hyde Pierce). TV/film credits include Taxi Brooklyn on NBC, Commander in Chief, Dance War, Water Lilies, Disney’s 365, and more.
Arielle has sung alongside legendary great artists such as Teena Marie, Chaka Khan, Stephen Schwartz, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Damien Sneed, and has also performed onstage in many of America’s greatest concert halls (including Lincoln Center in NYC, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Symphony Hall in Boston, Yale Hall, the Saenger Theater in New Orleans, Kauffman Center, and many more).