Jasmine Forsberg is a performer and singer/songwriter based in NYC. By the time she was six, Forsberg was involved in dance, piano, and voice lessons – all preparing her for her first production (101 Dalmatians) at a local community theater, and eventually to attend Penn State University for her BFA in Musical Theatre. After booking her first off-Broadway credit with Broadway Bounty Hunter, she went on to open the world premier of Love in Hate Nation at Two River Theater. Now, she’s reigning cross-country with the First National Tour of Six as Jane Seymour! Offstage, Forsberg is “the biggest supporter of therapy for all,” crediting it as an integral part to telling meaningful stories onstage and maintaining long-term actor wellbeing. Her advice to young artists? “... Show up as your authentic self, not who you think someone wants you to be… you owe it to yourself to be free of that burden.” Read on to learn more about Jasmine Forsberg and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Jasmine Forsberg
Heritage: Filipino, Swedish, German, and Polish
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Current City: New York, NY
Current project: Six First National Tour
Jane Seymour in Six (First National Tour); Love in Hate Nation (World Premiere, Two River Theater); Broadway Bounty Hunter (Off Broadway)
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
My advice for an aspiring theater student is to show up as your authentic self, not who you think someone wants you to be. There are many people who may try to put you in a box, so you owe it to yourself to be free of that burden. Take up your space. Do not dim your light to make others comfortable – keep shining.
How did you get your start?
I am very lucky to have discovered my passion for performing at a young age. I took my first dance class when I was two, started piano lessons when I was three, and voice lessons when I was six. It was only a matter of time before storytelling was thrown into the mix. I grew up near a community theater called Magic Curtain Productions, and my mom saw that they were putting on a production of 101 Dalmatians. She signed me up and, with the support of my parents, I have never looked back since.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
One of my favorite career moments was finding out that I booked my first job in New York City, Broadway Bounty Hunter. I was a sophomore in college at the time, and had taken a Megabus from Penn State to NYC to attend final callbacks for the show. A couple hours afterwards, I was soaking up the springtime air in Central Park with a friend when I got the call. Since I did not have representation at the time, the casting director called me directly to give me the news. I’m pretty sure all of Central Park could hear my bubbly excitement!
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
While this may not be the biggest challenge of my whole career, the thing that is hottest on my heart right now is the difficulty of being on tour for over a year. I am immensely grateful to be living out a dream of mine, but there is room to acknowledge the sacrifices that I have made to adapt to this lifestyle.
There are trade-offs to being on the road for an extended period of time. For example, I get to see interesting parts of the country for my job, but I am very far from my core friends and family. Staying in a brand new place is exciting, but sometimes my hotel room doesn’t even have a microwave for reheating leftovers.
Touring has been one of the most rewarding, fulfilling, and challenging experiences of my career thus far. It has stretched my ability to nurture relationships with distance as a major component, and I am a stronger communicator because of it.
Who do you admire?
Of the many artists I admire so deeply, Diane Phelan is one for whom my respect has no limits. I met Diane, or Ate Di, as I call her, doing a production of A Grand Night for Singing at Goodspeed Opera House last fall. She and I immediately connected because of our mixed-race Filipina backgrounds.
Diane is a force to be reckoned with. She is not only a captivating, multifaceted artist, but she is also a fierce advocate for the empowerment of Asian Americans. Diane founded the #RacismIsAVirus campaign, and #UnapologeticallyAsian, both aimed to activate Asian Americans and redefine what it means to be American right now. Last year, Diane produced an all-Asian production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which streamed on Broadway on Demand to raise money for Stop AAPI Hate.
Ate Di is my role model through and through, and I am the luckiest to call her a dear friend as well.
Where did you study at?
I went to Penn State University for my BFA in Musical Theatre. WE ARE!
Did you have any interesting “odd jobs” you worked at between gigs to pay the bills?
During my time at Penn State, I took a leave of absence to do the World Premiere production of Love in Hate Nation at Two River Theatre. There was about a month when I was not taking classes, but I had yet to start rehearsals. To pass the time, I applied at several restaurants and got a job at Cracker Barrel as a host. During slower shifts, I would meander around the Old Country Store and look at all the cute knick-knacks.
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
I love writing my own music, and hope to release an EP/album of my original work in the future.
Do you have any self care practices you do to stay focused and sane?
I am the biggest supporter of therapy for all. The ability to be introspective with your emotions can help you create deeper connections to your characters and the material. Something that is required of artists is the ability to access our emotions and be vulnerable in front of hundreds or thousands of people night after night. As long as it is done in a safe way, I believe that the most fulfilling storytelling is when you can bring yourself and your life experiences into your work. Therapy, journaling, and songwriting have been some of my self care practices for years.
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