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For Tony-nominated actress Eva Noblezada, self-care is part of the job

iPhoto caption: Image of Eva Noblezada courtesy of Brampton On Stage.
/By / Jan 30, 2024

It’s safe to say that Eva Noblezada has the fates on her side.

In 2013, she performed at the Jimmy Awards; a slot in the Jimmys is one of the most prestigious honours available to high school theatre students in the United States. (Even now, Noblezada calls the competition “a magical theatrical event,” one she’s kept up with since placing in the final three of her division.)

A producer for the London revival of Miss Saigon happened to catch Noblezada’s performance, and soon enough, the high schooler was on a plane to the West End, where she would go on to star as Kim (and later Eponine in Les Misérables). Miss Saigon transferred to Broadway in 2017, and Noblezada, just 20 at the time, received her first Tony nomination.

Then came a little show called Hadestown.

Noblezada joined Anaïs Mitchell’s musical about heartbreak, hope, and the road to hell in London in 2018, before transferring to Broadway with it a year later. (Noblezada went on to receive her second Tony nomination for best actress for the role of Eurydice in 2019.) Thanks to Hadestown, she also met her real-life partner Reeve Carney — their characters, doomed to spend eternity apart from the musical’s opening bars, were Broadway’s favourite star-crossed lovers. But Noblezada and Carney are far from star-crossed: they’re still together, and they co-parent a dog named Petunia and a plant named Jefferson.

“We live together and he’s my best friend,” she said of Carney. “We’re both extremely professional actors. When we’re onstage, there’s no point where I’m thinking, ‘oh look, there’s Reeve.’ That’s a testament to his craft and master of craft — he knows how to disappear, and he does it flawlessly. It’s nice singing songs together, like at concerts — we did a concert in Los Angeles a few nights ago, and we did ‘All I’ve Ever Known’ from Hadestown at the end, which is really, really special.”

Eva Noblezada as Eurydice in Hadestown on Broadway.

Noblezada departed Hadestown in August of 2023 (Carney left the show a few months later), moving on to a new role: Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, with book by Kait Kerrigan and original score by Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen. 

“We’re in another Wild Party moment,” she said, laughing at the multiple Gatsby adaptations heading to Broadway — hers begins performances on March 29 of this year. “I read the book a few times in high school. The first time I was asked to read it, I did not read it, because of course, I was not a responsible student, but that’s OK to admit, because that’s in the past…but the story is so grand. It’s so beautiful. And I love it because it’s so beautiful, but people will sometimes skim over the fact that the characters are horrible, horrendous people. And I love that kind of mirage.”

Before she heads back to Broadway, Noblezada’s on tour, appearing in venues like The Rose Brampton with a cabaret-style evening of songs and stories. (She’ll be in Brampton for a one-night-only appearance on February 9.) And at 27, she has plenty of Broadway stories to share, both heartwarming and cringe.

“There was a girl who came up to me after Hadestown and asked me to make a video for her school,” she said. “She said, ‘we’re doing Miss Saigon, and I’m playing Kim.’ And in my head, I’m like, ‘you are a white girl with blond hair.’ I know I’m not Vietnamese, but I’m a little closer than that. So I thought it was funny.” (Nobelzada’s father is Filipino and her mother is Mexican-American.)

Noblezada has spoken publicly about her mental health before, sharing her experiences with bulimia in an industry that often monetizes actors’ bodies at the expense of their well-being. For her, self-care is a major part of the job she’s been hired to do. When she speaks, it’s easy to get swept away by what seems like an effortless exuberance for life — she’s as passionate about the books she’s currently reading as she is about the theatre she makes, or the dog hopping on her lap mid-interview, or the importance of taking care of herself as she practices her craft.

“If you think about it in a simple, alien way, I mean, we’re on a floating rock,” she said. “In the middle of a city with massive skyscrapers and then thousands of years ago, someone invented the wheel. You know what I mean? World and civilization and modern technology, it’s all so crazy. So for me, I prefer to live the years of my life, which will hopefully be very long, as a clown.”

That level of radical acceptance didn’t always come easily to Noblezada, she says. “I used to be so confused,” she recalled. “I’d say, ‘oh my God, why can’t I get better, I’m in therapy, I have amazing friends, I have a great job.’ But you can’t guilt yourself into healing. We really want to be perfect. We want to be better. But I think rather than seeing myself as an open-ended project of self-improvement, I’d rather just see it as, ‘we’re all doing our best, maybe some more than others.’ So why would I subject myself to any more punishing myself?”

I’m a fan of all worlds…it’s all energy, it’s all alchemy.

She added that part of her recovery includes “honouring the present”: “I do that by honouring what came before,” she said, “and honouring the future. It’s about decisions. Is this going to hurt my body? Yes. So that’s where I have to make a tough decision…I wouldn’t want to see someone I love doing that, so I guess I wouldn’t want to be that person to someone who loves me.” 

Moving to London at 17 with no adult supervision “was crazy,” says Noblezada, and in the intervening years, she’s stopped drinking. “It’s about making decisions,” she reiterated. “Is this really going to make me feel like a better Eva, or even an OK person? Or is this going to put more challenges in my way? I don’t want to challenge myself more — there’s enough challenges that’ll come in life naturally.”

Noblezada (second from right) as Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, coming to Broadway this spring.

When it comes to tackling new roles, Noblezada’s up for it — it’s an opportunity for her to travel in time and space.

“I’m a fan of all worlds,” she said. “This job is about keeping the curiosity of who these people are. We’re playing humans with extraordinarily different lives…with Gatsby, the fun part of it is allowing myself as Eva to lose myself in the world of the 1920s. Because it’s not exclusive to Daisy — it’s something the whole world experienced.

“It’s all energy. It’s all alchemy.”

Eva Noblezada plays a one-night-only concert at The Rose Brampton on February 9. Tickets are available here.

Aisling Murphy

Aisling Murphy

Aisling is Intermission's senior editor and an award-winning arts journalist with bylines including the Toronto Star, NEXT Magazine, CTV News Toronto, and Maclean's. She likes British playwright Sarah Kane, most songs by Taylor Swift, and her cats, Fig and June.



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