When “Aladdin” flies its magic carpet first into Atlanta’s Fox Theatre this week and then into the BJCC Concert Hall Jan. 24-28 as part of the Broadway in Birmingham series, there’s a chance that audience members will recognize one of the cast members – maybe in the leading role of Princess Jasmine.
Nicole Lamb is a “swing” for the show, meaning she’s at the ready to go on for a number of characters, and she already understudies the role of Jasmine. It’s the latest step in the steady career of the young actress who got her start at Birmingham’s Red Mountain Theatre.
In advance of the Atlanta and Birmingham runs of “Aladdin,” she answered a few questions. (Note: After this interview, the show’s publicist confirmed Lamb will appear as the Fortune Teller in the Jan. 24 performance in Birmingham).
What’s your background, Nicole, and how did you get started in theater?
I grew up in Vestavia Hills and graduated from VHHS. I started dance at 3 years old at Jackie O’Neal School of Dance where I danced competitively alongside my sisters for many years. I was on the dance team as well as a member of the Girl’s Choir at Pizitz Middle School and was also a Rebelette dancer at VHHS. I joined Red Mountain Theatre at 9 years old after attending their summer workshop. I started out in their mainstage production of “Annie” as Molly and then ended up spending a decade with RMT in their conservatory as well as performing in countless productions. Some of my favorites include Jo March in “Little Women,” Olive Ostrovsky in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and Eponine in “Les Miserables.” I also was lucky enough to also begin voice lessons at a young age at the Amy Murphy Studio. Amy is my vocal mama and has been by my side for so many auditions and life moments, including helping me prep my audition material for “Aladdin.”
What have you been doing since leaving Birmingham?
I have done a couple of theater for young audiences shows, including playing Junie B. Jones off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and on tour around the country in “Junie B.’s Essential Survival Guide to School.” I was Katherine Howard in “Six” on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Bliss. This past summer I was off-Broadway at Theatre Row in a new musical called “Relapse.” I have sung at quite a few cabarets in the city at venues like 54 Below and The Laurie Beechman Theatre. I have also done a fair amount of TV and film in the Southeast, including The CW’s “Legacies” and Showtime’s “The First Lady.”
Are you based in New York and constantly auditioning?
I am between the Southeast and New York currently. When you are in between projects as an actor, you are constantly auditioning. I was up in New York this summer working on “Relapse” and in between rehearsals and shows I was running to auditions or filming self-tapes for things. “Aladdin” was one of those auditions, and I guess they liked me because here I am!
For those who don’t know, what is a Swing?
I am a swing who covers all six ensemble women’s tracks as well as Princess Jasmine. That means I have to know all their lines and choreography and be ready to go on for any of them in case of an emergency, illness, injury, etc.
And you’re also understudying Jasmine. Is this a role you’ve had your eyes on?
Princess Jasmine has been my favorite Disney princess since I watched
“Aladdin” for the first time when I was a little girl. I remember thinking I loved her so much, yes because she’s beautiful, but most importantly she was confident and spoke her mind. Being one of her understudies is definitely a pinch-me moment for little me. I have not gone on for Jasmine yet. However, I have flown on the carpet and that was so magical! It was so surreal, and I definitely teared up a little during “A Whole New World.”
Will you be in the show in Birmingham?
As of right now I do not have a scheduled performance as Jasmine or any of the incredible ensemble tracks I cover, but anything is possible. As a swing you have to be ready for anything, so who knows!
What is life like for you on tour? Do you get to experience the cities you’re visiting?
Being on tour is so great! When I am not in rehearsals or at the theater, it is so fun to explore the city we are in. It is such a cool way to visit places that you probably wouldn’t get the opportunity to go to if you weren’t on tour. In my spare time on tour, I usually go to new places in and around where we are staying with my castmates. I also use my downtime to call my family and friends to touch base and make sure we stay connected while I am on the road.
Are you excited to show your cast Birmingham?
I am SO excited to show the company Birmingham. I already have a list of restaurants and places for them to go to while they are here. I love Birmingham so much and I want them to see all the amazing things we have to offer.
Is it exciting to be performing in a show like “Aladdin” in front of family and friends?
I am so excited for my family and friends to see “Aladdin.” I grew up seeing all the Broadway tours that came to Birmingham, so it is definitely a full-circle moment for me, and my family and friends, that I will be performing at the BJCC. “Aladdin” is such an incredible, fun and funny show with thrilling magic and big, colorful song-and-dance elements that children AND adults will love. Birmingham is full of so many young and talented artists, so I hope those who come to see the show are inspired to not give up on their dream. If I can do it, so can you!