From Disney Way to Broadway and back again, singer and actress Eden Espinosa is the featured voice in Disney’s Summer Nightastic.
A former student at Canyon Hills High School in Anaheim and Fullerton College, she is commonly known for her role “defying gravity” as Elphaba in the wildly popular Broadway show “Wicked.” Espinosa is still defying gravity; this time her voice resonates throughout the skies of Disneyland as the soloist for the soundtrack of Magical, Disney’s new nighttime fireworks spectacular.
After a day at Disneyland spent riding Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and, of course, listening to herself sing in Magical, Espinosa sat down with Around Disney at the Nightastic! opening to share her experiences.
Question: How did you get started working at Disneyland?
Answer: I started working at the park when I was 17. My first job was in the Christmas Fantasy Parade. It was the first year they had live carolers in the parade. After that I did a few different stage shows and the atmosphere singing groups. I did the Dickens Carolers in the park, an A Cappella group in Disney’s California Adventure called Group 66. I did a stage show called Steps in Time, Animazement, Hunchback of Notre Dame Festival of Fools — I did a lot! I worked here on and off for eight years and had an amazing time.
Q: You’ve grown up in Orange County, so it seems like you’ve always had a connection with the park.
A: I’ve had different family members working as cast members when I was growing up. I would go back stage after the shows and just watch the shows with my eyes wide open saying, “I want to work at Disneyland!”
So when I started working here it was a dream come true for me. Once you start working here, you see other capacities – when I would see different singers in the fireworks shows or Fantasmic!, I would think, “Oh, I want to do that too.” So this is another check in the box off the list of goals. It’s an honor and a privilege, and I’m so happy to do it.
Q: Many of your fans recognize you from starring as Elphaba in the Broadway show ”Wicked.” What was it like transitioning to your new role?
A: It was amazing! I love working in New York. I did a few Broadway shows there and it was awesome to bring “Wicked” back to L.A. and my hometown so my family and friends didn’t have to fly across the country to see the show. It’s opened many doors for me. I don’t think if I hadn’t done that, I would have been asked to do this.
Q: So your role “defying gravity” in Wicked help you land the role in the fireworks?
A: Well, I think since I started working on Broadway I’ve gained a little more credibility, exposure, and maturity as a singer and actress. Every step builds upon the next one. That definitely led me to being here.
Q: How did the process of singing for the fireworks unfold?
A: Bruce Healey (Senior Music Producer at Disneyland) contacted me and I sent in a few clips of me singing so they could show the director, and then they called me back saying, “We’d love for you to do this if you are interested.” I was like, “Are you kidding me? Yes! I’ll be there!”
Q: Was the fireworks premiere on Thursday the first time you had heard yourself singing with the fireworks?
A: I had heard it a while ago when they finished it, and I listened to it a few times just so I wouldn’t be a sobbing mess in front of the entire Disneyland. But yes, it was the first night that I heard it and saw it with everything, experienced it pumping through Main Street with all the fireworks.
Q: So what did you think of the whole experience?
A: It was overwhelming — I still cried. But it was awesome, and I’m so proud and honored. I hope people come to Disneyland to enjoy it.
Photo of Eden Espinosa by Joshua Sudock.