The last time we talked with Susan Egan, the woman who voices Rose Quartz on Steven Universe, she had a secret. She knew something big was coming for Rose, but she wasn’t about to blab to us what it was. She was also preparing to step into the role of Belle on stage for the first time since originating it in Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast 20 years ago.
Well, time has passed. We know now that the big secret was that Rose was really Pink Diamond, and Susan’s Belle was a hit. Now she’s in the midst of touring nationally with the Broadway Princess Party, a mash-up of a Broadway-caliber concert and a princess cosplay fantasy that features Egan and two other Broadway princesses singing and entertaining along with a prince, their “Fairy Godfairy” and special guests. She’ll be in Sherman Oaks, CA, with the BPP on Friday, August 17, so we decided to check in with her to get the scoop on what folks can expect if they attend and how her big summer has unfolded.
Leona Laurie: Susan, if I get tickets and go to the Broadway Princess Party, what is the experience going to be?
Susan Egan: We (myself, Laura Osnes and Courtney Reed) are the three original voices that you are hearing on the Broadway cast albums for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Disney’s Aladdin. We’ll be singing the petticoats off all the princess songs, at a hybrid between a concert and a comic-con. Come in your cosplay, come in your tiara, dress up or don’t dress up, as you want to. It’s an interactive experience. We’ve got princess prizes for people who are celebrating special occasions or have a particularly pretty princess dress on.
I wanted to key in on my recent experience of working in concert and cabaret and Broadway, and attending these comic-cons, recognizing the fan base that is so beautiful and loyal and wonderful. They spend so many hours and dollars on incredible costumes, and I wanted to give them another place to wear them.
LL: When I first heard about it, I was imagining some kind of brunch thing for children to go to, but they’re nighttime events for adults.
SE: No, it’s not a little kiddie thing, although young girls are totally welcome. And they come. But it’s a full-fledged concert. It’s like, “unleash your inner princess.” It’s stories, songs.. it’s nothing that a child can’t see, but if you think of the Pixar movies, how they work on two levels, that’s Broadway Princess Party.
I kind of love that in the audience we see moms and daughters, we see fangirls and fanboys from the Broadway world, I see cosplayers from the comic-con animation world, I see gay men loving their divas, and we’re all in a room together, and it’s just super feel-good.
LL: You mentioned cosplayers having more places to wear their costumes. Does that mean you will be decked out in your full Broadway costumes?
SE: No, we don’t own those costumes– and we’re not in character. We are the girls who play those characters. But, we are wearing fantastic, gorgeous dresses.
LL: So you won’t be wearing the Belle dress at the BPP, but since we spoke last you did wear it again. How was it to return to that role?
SE: I think the strangest thing about it was that it didn’t feel strange at all. It literally feels like no time has passed. It was an absolute joy. The cast was Broadway-caliber. Any one of them, this is without exaggeration, could have played the Shubert Theatre or the Palace Theatre in the productions I did prior.
It was fun to revisit it. My family go to see it. Our reviews were spectacular. I actually just got an email from one of the directors from Cabaret, which I did on Broadway. He apparently was at a matinee last weekend. He’s like, “Oh my God, you look the same.” I’m like, “Thank God it was a big theater!” I absolutely loved doing it, and we broke all the records in the history of 5-Star Theatricals. We sold out in the final weekend, we brought more people into the theater and hopefully they will see what beautiful caliber productions they do and they’ll buy tickets to their next production. So, mission accomplished. I’m really happy.
LL: You told me before that one of the things you were looking forward to was that you felt like your voice has improved since you did it the first time. Are there any other aspects that you felt were better than the first time around?
SE: For sure. I sang it so much better now than on the Broadway cast album. A woman’s voice matures at 35, and so I can literally do more now than I could at 24. That was actually a lot of fun.
I’ve been hearing the material nonstop for the last 20 years, because I sing it all in concert, but it was great to be able to sing it in the context of the story again.
I’ve become wiser. I think I’m more relaxed now. I could mine more out of the moments. I think I found new things. And Yvette Lawrence, our director, was another Belle at the Shubert Theatre– we were the only two girls to play it there. When I left the show she came in, and she was our director this time around, which is why I felt comfortable doing the show.
LL: I’m excited about the Broadway Princess Party, but I have to admit that I was stoked to have an excuse to talk to you again after the big reveal on Steven Universe that Rose Quartz was really Pink Diamond.
SE: Yes. That was a big deal. Some people felt super betrayed. I think Rose’s backstory has been explained a little bit more now and people could sort of figure out she had a choice between a lot of terrible options. Was this the least terrible of the options? Was she selfish? Was she naïve? I think what’s so fascinating about Rebecca Sugar is that it’s all of these things.
Rose was very young as Pink Diamond, but she was horrified by what the Diamonds were doing and she chose to take action. She tried to take action as Pink and was not making any headway. She decided to become Rose, and, yes, she hid that from everybody and poor Pearl had to deal with it, but, that’s what makes this show great. It is not two-dimensional. It is complicated, just like real life. I think that’s why people get so upset, saying things like, “I can’t believe she was Pink- you’re a terrible mother!” Well, it’s like, A) it’s a character, but B) I’m glad that you’re this passionate about it. I’m glad that people care and that they’re listening and paying attention.
LL: Rose is maybe the most important character, in a lot of ways, without actually being on the show most of the time.
LL: And now there’s this ripple effect of how her decisions created the situation that everyone else has been living through, and they’re sort of untangling how they all feel about that.
SE: But even before the reveal, we knew something about her breaking Pearl’s heart. Even though we didn’t know the backstory of it, we knew it had happened because she wanted to be with Greg. Or that she had Steven and abandoned her friends, because she knew she wouldn’t exist anymore, but she wanted to do it anyway. Was she selfless because she was bringing Steven into the world? Or was she selfish because she did what she wanted to do, knowing it was going to burden her friends and take her away from them? There’s always been that dynamic with Rose.
LL: I don’t expect you to be able to say anything, but now that Steven’s on Homeworld and interacting with White Diamond, are we gonna see Rose in some more flashbacks soon?
SE: (Enigmatically) I don’t know.
LL: You’re very good at keeping things close to the vest.
SE: I don’t know… I did know White was going to be Christine Ebersole because I had a conversation with Rebecca. She was debating, like, “What do you think about Christine Ebersole for White?” I’m like, “Yes!” Now, I’m not saying that’s the reason she got it, but I just thought, “Yes! You will love her. She’s amazing. Yes.”
LL: I mean, as though everything else wasn’t so good in terms of the content and messaging, the casting on that show is phenomenal.
SE: I know! The casting is so fun. I love that Rebecca understands the Broadway world, and she’s mining some of the talent there that a lot of Hollywood really doesn’t know. I don’t think most Hollywood people know who Christine is. They probably know who Patti LuPone is, but Christine… she is Broadway, and she’s just so perfect for this.
LL: I know you were doing some comic-cons this year. Have you done any since the big reveal?
SE: Yes. I did one right after the big reveal, and before any more of the story had aired, so a lot of people were really angry. And a lot of people hadn’t caught up yet. On my table the Pink pictures were covered, and it was like, “spoiler alert!” And so we would ask them first, “Did you see the last episode?” And at the panel we had a big spoiler alert.
I haven’t done one since because I’ve been doing Princess Party. At the Princess Party we did in Hollywood in June, Deedee (Magno Hall) came, and she and I sang “The Rose” as our little tribute to Steven Universe. Of course Deedee was also a princess. She was the original Jasmine in Aladdin at California Adventure and has a huge resume as well, with Wicked and Miss Saigon.
LL: Thanks for bringing it back to the Princess Parties. The one you have coming up next is in Club Kraftland at That’s From Disneyland!, a pop-up exhibit in Sherman Oaks of Richard Kraft‘s collection of Disney memorabilia. Is this a super Disney-themed show? Do you expect people to cosplay as anything other than Disney princesses?
SE: It isn’t just Disney princesses. There’s definitely others. We do things that are thematically in line that aren’t necessarily “princess,” like a new arrangement of a song from Greatest Showman that is pretty exciting, “A Million Dreams.” That isn’t princess at all, but what it says is very princess about dreaming and creating something new and creating a better world.
Some of the characters are Disney-centric (of course my Belle and Courtney’s Jasmine), but the show transcends just Disney. There’s lots of other material that we do. We do parodies of other Broadway shows, as well, with a princess slant, which is fun and funny.
We sing “Into the Woods,” which is Sondheim. We try and honor all the great material out there, and we are constantly changing up our set list, so every time you come it’s something different. And we always have special guests. We have a special guest coming to this show, but I’m not announcing it yet. So people are always surprised and having fun.
We do meet and greets with the VIP ticket holders, so we can get selfies with everybody, and that’s always super fun to see. The thing about this particular event, which is fun and unique, obviously, is that we’re in the middle of this amazing exhibit. And it’s a very small venue. It’s only 270 seats, so it’ll be very, very intimate, which is exciting because we’re usually playing 500-1200 seat theatres.
See Susan and the other Princesses, along with Broadway’s original Aladdin, Adam Jacobs, and Fairy Godfairy/musical director Benjamin Rauhala on Friday, August 17, at Club Kraftland at That’s From Disneyland! in Sherman Oaks. Tickets are available at ThatsFromDisneyland.com. If you can’t make LA, don’t fret! The BPP is coming to Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston and more. Check out their website for more dates and ticket info. Keep up on where Susan Egan will be appearing in concert or with Steven Universe colleagues on panels via her personal website.
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