Eden Erica Espinosa (born February 2, 1978 in Anaheim, California) is an American singer and stage actress, who is best known for her performances as Elphaba for the Broadway, Los Angeles and San Francisco productions of the musical Wicked.
Education & early career:
Of Mexican descent, Eden Espinosa began singing at the age of three, performing at age five, and recording at the age of ten. At Canyon High School, she played the role of Maria in West Side Story. After graduating, Espinosa worked at local theme parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studios.She was also part of the successful performing group The Young Americans, which is based in southern California and performs in front of audiences worldwide.
Espinosa made her Broadway debut as a member of the Original Broadway Cast of Stephen Schwartz's musical Wicked, which opened on October 30, 2003. She started the production as standby for Idina Menzel in the lead role of Elphaba. She was also an understudy for the role of Nessarose. Espinosa performed the lead role of Elphaba for a month continuously during the Summer of 2004, while Menzel was filming Ask the Dust. Espinosa left Wicked on September 5, 2004, to originate the lead for the Broadway debut of Brooklyn.
Espinosa performed the lead role of Elphaba for the Wicked First National Tour while it was in San Francisco, from August 5 to September 11, 2005. She replaced Stephanie J. Block while she recovered from an injury, and closed the San Francisco run.
On January 10, 2006, Espinosa returned to perform in the lead role of Elphaba for the Broadway production of Wicked, taking over the role from Shoshana Bean. Espinosa performed for the Wicked celebration of its 1,000th performance on Broadway, on March 21, 2006. Espinosa played opposite both Megan Hilty and Kate Reinders as Glinda on Broadway. She left the Broadway production on October 8, 2006, and was replaced by Ana Gasteyer.
Espinosa received the 2006 Broadway.com Audience Award for "Favorite Female Replacement", in recognition of her performances as Elphaba during her Broadway run as lead.
Espinosa was chosen to originate the role of Elphaba for the third U.S. production of Wicked in Los Angeles, which opened on February 21, 2007 at the Pantages Theatre. She opened the show with former Broadway co-star Megan Hilty as Glinda. She received broad critical acclaim for the role. Espinosa left the Los Angeles company on December 30, 2007 and was replaced by Caissie Levy. She returned to the Los Angeles production of Wicked on October 31, 2008, to reprise the role of Elphaba and stayed with the production until its finale on January 11, 2009.Wicked Los Angeles was one of the most financially successful musicals in Los Angeles theatre history.
On March 2, 2010, Espinosa took over the role of Elphaba from Teal Wicks for the San Francisco production of Wicked, on a contract which ran through June 26, 2010. She performed opposite Kendra Kassebaum as Glinda, whom she had previously performed with on the Wicked First National Tour in San Francisco.
Espinosa originated and workshopped the title role of the lead character "Brooklyn" for the musical Brooklyn over the course of two years. Brooklyn had its world premiere on April 30, 2003 and ran until June 15, 2003 at the Denver Civic Center. Espinosa made her Broadway debut as a lead, performing the role of Brooklyn, for Brooklyn, on October 24, 2004. She performed the role through its close on June 26, 2005.
Espinosa was nominated for a 2005 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance for playing the title role in Brooklyn. Espinosa is featured on the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Brooklyn.
Espinosa was featured as "Maureen" for the closing Broadway company of Rent (a role again originated by Idina Menzel) beginning on May 30, 2008, replacing Nicolette Hart. She performed through closing night on September 7, 2008. Espinosa is featured on the DVD of a live filmed performance by the closing company of Rent.
Espinosa starred in a production of Flora the Red Menace which ran at UCLA's Freud Playhouse from May 6-18, 2008. After its closing, On September 21, 2008, Espinosa made her West End debut in "Never Neverland", a benefit concert that raised money for British charities Ovarian Cancer Action and NCH. The concert took place at the Duchess Theatre in London.
Espinosa also performed in the one-night staging of Howard Ashman's previously-unproduced musical Dreamstuff on June 23, 2008 at the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles directed by Michael Urie.
Espinosa played the Fairy Godmother in the 2011 Nashville Symphony Orchestra concert version of Cinderella on April 15, 2011 alongside Wicked alum Alli Mauzey, who played the title character.
In March 2009, Espinosa took her solo show entitled "Me" to Joe's Pub in NYC for a series of concerts following her three performances of the show towards the end of Wicked's LA run. She is scheduled to return to Southern California with her show on Friday, July 24, 2009 at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. Eden was featured as a soloist for Disneyland's new firework spectacular "Magical" premiering in the summer of 2009, where she sang Magical's theme song as well as classic Disney tunes such as "Baby Mine".
In August 2012, Espinosa announced she is in the works of recording her debut solo album featuring modern Broadway hits with a pop sensibility. She announced on her Facebook that the name of the album will be entitled "Look Around".
Espinosa has appeared on various television shows, including Law & Order, Robot Chicken, and Dog Whisperer. She had a recurring role in 2009 as the voice of Sasha Caylo on the super robot animated series Titan Maximum, an original show developed for Adult Swim.
In 2007, the ABC series Ugly Betty included performances of "I'm Not That Girl" and "Defying Gravity" in the episode "Something Wicked This Way Comes" featuring Espinosa and other members of Los Angeles Wicked cast.
She has also appeared on the Today Show in 2004, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade TV broadcast in 2004, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2007, and as a performer on the 2008 Tony Awards.
In 2011, she appeared on the animated sketch comedy series Mad episode "Force Code / Flammable" as Katy Putty, a Katy Perry parody made out of Play-Doh who sings about flammable things, and performed "Flammable", a spoof on Perry's song "Firework".
Top 25 Praise Songs - Updated (2000),
Top 25 Acoustic Worship Songs (2002),
The Maury Yeston Songbook (2003),
Hair - The Actors' Fund of America Benefit Recording (2005),
Bright Lights, Big City - (2005 concept album),
Brooklyn the Musical (2005 Original Broadway Cast Recording),
Dreaming Wide Awake: The Music of Scott Alan (2007),
David Burnham - featured duet: "As Long as You're Mine" (2007),
Magical Fireworks - soundtrack: Disneyland,
Look Around - (2012)