“Broadway Idol” – An Interview with Jaclyn Huberman

She may not have the crown jewels, but she does have a sense of humor. After being crowned the Broadway Idol, Jaclyn Huberman e-mailed her list of friends and family – about 415 total – to tell them of her victory. She ended the e-mail saying, “I’ll be wearing my crown,” then added a PS that said, “Just kidding – I don’t have a crown.”

Even though she’s not royalty, she is a performer, and a lively one at that. Following her victory at last year’s competition, Huberman performed two solo concerts on May 8th and May 13th, featuring songs from various shows and composers. Performing at the Ars Nova theatre, Huberman, decked out in a red dress and heels, was accompanied by Musical Director Andy Boroson on the piano, Dave Purcell on drums, and Tony Steele on bass.

Huberman said her success in the show is amusing to her, because she does not watch reality television and has never seen the show American Idol. While a fan of Kelly Clarkson, the winner of the first season, she was not eager to compete in a similar competition and was reluctant to go to the auditions. At the urging of a friend, she tried out – and ended up the winner.

“It felt great to keep coming back,” she said of the three nights of performing, admitting that the competition between the performers was difficult because she had become friends with many of them.

Huberman is no stranger to singing onstage. The petite powerhouse has been singing since “forever,” and admits that she has always wanted to be a Broadway star. Her resume is filled with a variety of roles, including Judy Denmark in Ruthless and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls. She performed consistently throughout college while studying Psychology at Harvard University, a degree that she says has helped her a great deal in her acting.

“I know stuff about how people behave and why they behave that way from my training,” she said. “My degree was very liberal artsy – I gained a lot of knowledge on a lot of things.”

Huberman moved to New York after college to pursue acting, and she found the pursuit to be a long and challenging one. The work never ends, she said, and she is always striving to improve her skills.

“Train, train, train,” she said. “You have to always hone your craft and try to get better and better. I’ve been taking voice lessons since I got here and it’s changed my voice, changed my life, changed my outlook. It’s hard to realize that you have to work as much as everybody else, but you have to.”

Along with training, she said that the outlook of the actor factors greatly into his or her success.

“There’s a lot of luck involved,” she continued. “You have to ask people for help, and you have to have incredible tenacity. It just doesn’t happen overnight.”

Along with auditioning, Huberman said she enjoys performing her own concerts for the exposure it provides as well as the creative opportunities she can take advantage of. “It’s really important for theatre people to create their own opportunities,” she said. “It’s really easy to think you have no control over your career, and that’s just not true.”

The understanding that she was in control came to Huberman during a time when she was feeling unsettled and had enrolled in an acting class. She realized that the casting agents and directors – “the people across the table at the audition room” – were actually people as well, and they wanted her to be good at what she did, so they could cast her.

“I believe what is happening in your personal life mirrors what is happening in your career,” she said. “I was a bit lost and little bit flowing, but if you are self reflective and you are open and do whatever you need to do to deepen your knowledge….it was easy for me to hear the kind of advice and it stuck with me.”

The advice has helped and her confidence has grown, she said, but she has kept her sense of humor throughout all of her experiences.

“I think it’s hysterical to call myself the Broadway Idol,” she said. “I got an agent, and my agent introduces me as the Broadway Idol. It’s funny. If I go into an audition, it’s a talking point, but to be honest, a lot of people don’t know about it. It was a pretty small competition.”

So no parades? I asked jokingly.

“Oh, the parades!” she exclaimed, laughing. “All the parades. And having to wear my heavy crown in all the parades. It’s been a heavy crown to bear.”

Royalty and headdresses aside, Huberman said she is continuing to work and learn and perform as much as possible.

“We all go through a lot of different feelings – waves of confidence and lack thereof,” she said. “I finally, finally realized that it just takes that long. Everybody has a different path. Just keep doing good work and let people see that you’re doing good work. It builds upon itself like that.”

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