When Sierra Boggess says, “I’m hoping I give everyone the best concert ever!” it’s not a statement she makes flippantly. Her upcoming concert tour in Australia will be her first visit down under and she can’t wait.
“I’m so excited! It’s my first time ever being in Australia and everyone I’m talking to is so jealous that I’m going … I think it’s on all of our bucket lists!” exclaimed Boggess.
Sierra Boggess is best known for two roles: Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera (and Love Never Dies), and Ariel in the original Broadway production of The Little Mermaid. She is well aware of the songs her fans will be expecting in her concerts.
“Because it’s my first time there, and because I finally get to give back to my Australian fanbase, and then introduce myself to whole bunch of new people, it’s so important to me that I’m singing things that people are expecting. So they’re going to get Andrew Lloyd Webber and they’re going to get Disney and Little Mermaid. Everything that I’m singing is something that I absolutely love. I think that’s really important,” explained Boggess.
Regarded by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber as the “best Christine”, Sierra Boggess performed the role of Christine in the production of The Phantom of the Opera that was released worldwide on DVD and, as a result, feels more people associate her with that role.
However, Boggess also has a large following of fans who know her as Ariel from the original Broadway production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid: the production that marked her Broadway debut.
“Once a Disney princess, always a Disney princess!” Boggess laughed.
“I’ve been very lucky that the two things I’m most known for have been such huge successes. People very much know me as Christine and Ariel. I’m a hybrid. I’m a Disney Princess Christine hybrid!”
For someone who has never stepped foot in Australia, Sierra Boggess has a huge following in this country. When her Australian concert dates were announced she was overwhelmed by the response on social media.
“They’re so excited and it makes me even more excited to be able to give back in person. It’s really beautiful.”
Her international success still takes Sierra Boggess by surprise.
“To know there are other parts of the world that are really excited about hearing me sing live … it’s like … I don’t know … really awesome! So I am really, honestly, so over the moon about coming there!” Boggess remarked with genuine enthusiasm.
“I still feel like that little musical theatre major in college, who couldn’t wait to be on Broadway and I forget that oh, I’m doing it! But I still feel like that kid who used to wait at stage door and couldn’t wait to be doing what I’m doing, so it’s always amazing,” said Boggess, who clarified that she considered herself still a “kid” during her college years.
Sierra Boggess grew up in Denver, Colorado. There wasn’t much theatre in her hometown, but she was very involved in her school productions.
“My high school was a public high school. We had no funding. We put on four shows a year – and you learn the power of community, and this family that you create, and it’s just awesome. It really shaped my life and it was the most joyous experience,” said Boggess, an advocate for keeping the arts in school.
It was during her high school years that Sierra Boggess realised she wanted to go to a college that had a musical theatre major.
“I didn’t see my first major production until the touring company of Sunset Boulevard came in and I think I was 16.”
However, Sierra Boggess admits she didn’t really know what Broadway was until she started college and it finally occurred to her that was what she was doing!
“I just loved singing and dancing and acting and then ended up majoring in musical theatre. I had the most amazing time and it was in that time that I saw tons of shows – and it wasn’t even in New York! The school I went to was very small, in the middle of Illinois. In my junior year, I studied abroad in London, and my friends and I would go and see five or six shows a week. Like, we just loved it and we saw everything! And it’s London, so the theatre scene is amazing and the plays are incredible.”
Sierra Boggess doesn’t take her success lightly. She is well aware of the responsibility of being in the public spotlight.
“It’s important for me to be careful about the message I put out and how I portray things, because I now have this platform where people are listening to me and they associate me with those characters. It’s interesting, psychologically. There’s people who feel like they were born in the wrong body or they weren’t understood – and that’s who Ariel represents … so I would get a lot of fan-mail during that time from people like that and I realised that this is really serious … And Christine represents the woman who can love the unloveable and so you have people that are responding to that,” said Boggess.
Although Boggess says she’d love to play Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard in the future (clarifying that she hopes this will still be a couple of decades away!) she doesn’t have any dream roles, as such.
“I feel like whenever a show comes along that I end up doing, that becomes my dream role. So I don’t even realise what the dream role is until I’m actually doing it and then I think this is my dream,” said Boggess, who explained the importance of just being fully present in the moment.
During her concerts, however, there are no characters on stage.
“This is very much Sierra Boggess on stage, and this is the world according to Sierra, and this is the message that I want to spread to everybody. This is not a character, this is me. I love getting to perform as myself. My war cry has become ‘You are enough. You are so enough it’s unbelievable how enough you are.’”
It’s a quote that has become synonymous with Sierra Boggess.
“I want people to leave the theatre feeling lighter and feeling that they are inspired and have a really good time.”
SYDNEY: Saturday 3rd June 2017
Where: State Theatre, Sydney
Tickets: ticketmaster.com.au or 1300 723 038
BRISBANE: Thursday 8th June
Where: QPAC, Concert Hall
Tickets: qpac.com.au or 136 246
MELBOURNE: Saturday 10th June
Where: Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
Tickets: artscentremelb.com.au or 1300 182 183