Best known as Libby from TV’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Jenna Leigh Green has also been performing on stage for years with roles on Broadway and in Wicked on tour. Currently, she is starring in the Off-Broadway musical The Marvelous Wonderettes as Cindy Lou.
What was your first exposure to Broadway and musical theater and how did it influence you?
The first Broadway show I saw was the touring production of Phantom. It came through Los Angeles when I was very young. I will never forget getting all dressed up with my family to travel to the city and the awe I felt when that chandelier rose up at the start of the show. We had pretty great seats and I loved being close enough to the stage to see every facial expression. I knew I would love to be up there one day myself.
What’s the first Broadway show you saw? How old were you?
My first trip to NYC was as a teenager, and the very first show I saw was The Fantasticks. My parents had seen the show years and years earlier and I played Luisa in a school production. I was so excited to see it in NYC when it still played down on Sullivan street. During that same trip, I think I saw something like 10 shows in 9 days. Needless to say, I was obsessed with Broadway at the time!
You played Libby, in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. What is it like to have played such an iconic and recognizable role? Do you have a favorite part about that show? Are you still in touch with the cast?
I don’t think any of us had any idea when we started the show just how monumental it would be in our lives. The show has become a bit of a cult favorite and to know that people today still watch it and that children are still being exposed to it is a really amazing feeling. Libby was kind of the original “Mean Girl” and I love how Sabrina kind of set the bar for shows about strong, young women.
What was it like making your Broadway debut?
I had dreamed of being on Broadway since I was young, so to get to do that….and in a show as huge as Wicked was a literal dream come true. I had already been performing the show for a year on tour and had about 3 days total to rehearse and transition into the Broadway company. It was all a bit of a blur and a whirlwind, but truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
You played Nessarose in three different Wicked productions– what was that like? Do you have a favorite moment from that show?
I truly loved getting to tour the country with Wicked. We were bringing the show, for the first time to cities across the nation, as well as Canada and the response was overwhelming and insane. It’s my only touring experience and I doubt anything would ever be able to top it. Obviously coming back to NYC was a dream come true, as was opening the show in my hometown of Los Angeles. Getting to live my dream and knowing my friends and family were close enough to come (some hitting double digit performances) was like coming home in the best way possible. What more could one ask for!?
Was it hard to understudy Elphaba, when you normally went on for Nessarose?
I’m pretty sure that I may have been mouthing some Nessa lines in my first few performances just out of muscle memory. Hahaha. I wouldn’t say the separation of the roles was difficult though. The massive job of understudying a role of that magnitude was an absolute challenge though. One of my toughest to date….but it was an amazing opportunity!
What was it like making your West End debut in Never Neverland* for such an amazing cause? (*Never Neverland: The Music of Scott was a benefit concert held for the aid of Ovarian cancer and NCH)
Performing on a West End stage was surreal and exhilarating! I was fortunate enough to get to do it singing the songs of my good friend Scott Alan and made some friendships with some fantastic performers from across the pond.
In Wonderettes, Cindy Lou channels that mean girl vibe, similar to Libby and Nessa. Do you like playing mean girls?
Well, I suppose I have played my fair share, but honestly it’s fun! It’s like a form of therapy where you can live out your bitchy dreams without being one in “real life.” Hahaha But honestly, I’m not quite sure why it has come so easily to me, but I dare anyone to show me someone who doesn’t get a kick out of playing the mean girl.
What’s it like being in Wonderettes? Do you have a favorite song in the show? Did you grow up listening to 60’s music?
Wonderettes has been an absolute blast! It was a crazy quick rehearsal period and we’ve had quite a few cast changeovers now, so we are constantly on our toes. It’s a very tight harmony, 4 girl show with 33 songs. It has taught me a lot about listening and the importance of finding the blend and knowing when it’s your turn to “let er rip”. When each girl steps out of the group to sing her solos, the rest of us back her up and let her shine. It’s the definition of an ensemble piece and its been a great experience so far. I didn’t really grow up listening to any of the music, but I was familiar with a bit of it. One of my big numbers is “Son of a Preacher Man” and that is such an iconic song. I have a lot of fun with it each night!
Your character Cindy Lou wants to win Prom Queen really badly– what was your Prom like?
I actually didn’t attend my prom. By that time I was already working in the industry and I wasn’t able to attend. So I guess you could say I’m getting to live out all my prom fantasies now. Multiple times a week. Best of both worlds!
Favorite project you have worked on so far?
I would have trouble picking just one project, but if I was forced to, I would have to say the experience I had working on Bare would be one that will stay with me for life. Getting the chance to originate a show which then brought me to NYC is something beyond compare. I worked with some of the kindest, funniest, most talented people one could ever hope to cross paths with. We were all so young and felt like we were creating something together. Some of my nearest and dearest friends, to this day, came from that show and it will forever hold a very special place in my heart.
What are the most played songs on your iPhone/mp3 player and your go-to karaoke song?
Gosh, I listen to such a wide variety of music, but at the moment, my most frequently played artists would have to be Hozier, Mumford and Sons, Ingrid Michaelson and the Bright Star and Waitress cast albums. As for karaoke, I’m a big Alanis fan and if I have a willing duet partner, I will bust out a mean “Suddenly Seymour.”
Best Day Off Activity:
Days off are spent running errands or relaxing with friends and Netflix
Hidden Quirky Talent:
I can find the best happy hour deal in any part of NYC!
All-time favorite show:
Les Mis will always be my favorite show….as well as my dream show. Anyone looking for a Fantine??
Favorite thing about NYC:
The endless opportunity to explore. You can walk outside your front door and truly feel like the city is yours for the taking. At least I feel that way. I frequently walk from my apartment in Queens over the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan. I love the time to just take the city in…it’s where I do my best thinking and breathing.
Favorite TV show:
I’m kind of a TV nut. I love it and have quite a few favorite shows. At the moment I am loving all the Chicago shows (Fire, Med, PD) as well as This is Us, The Good Place and of course my all time favorite Law and Order SVU.
Thank you Jenna for taking time to answer my questions– go see her in The Marvelous Wonderettes!
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