Curtain Call

Eva Noblezada Doesn’t Want You To Like Her Gatsby Character

The Broadway star gives us a front-row seat to life backstage.

Eva Noblezada is almost never alone. When she logs onto Zoom on a recent Monday morning, the Broadway star is joined by her black-and-white lap dog, Petunia, who she shares with partner Reeve Carney.

When Carney isn’t home, Petunia often heads to Noblezada’s dressing room in New York’s theater district, which is hosting Broadway’s first musical production of The Great Gatsby. Noblezada plays the melancholy Daisy Buchanan alongside Jeremy Jordan as the titular Jay Gatsby.

Her dressing room is an homage to the flapper era, with vintage purses, old-timey magazines, and pictures of 1920s actors like Clara Bow. “It beckons you into the world of Gatsby,” says the actor, who picked up Tony nominations for playing Hadestown’s Eurydice and Miss Saigon’s Kim.

“It’s hard to find the stop button after the show, because we’re literally going, ‘The party! The party!’”

Noblezada was assigned the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel as a high schooler in North Carolina, but read the SparkNotes summaries instead. When she finally acquiesced years later, she became a “huge fan,” she says, and has watched Baz Luhrmann’s 2012 film adaptation “a bajillion times.”

The new musical, which opened at the Broadway Theater on April 25, digs into the book’s high-society characters through song. “She’s very charming,” she says of Daisy. “I would hope that I’m like that, but I would also hope that I’m not like Daisy where she’s very careless with people. None of us are perfect, but she’s really looking to satisfy her own pleasures in life at the expense of others.”

Below, Noblezada talks through her pre-curtain rituals, a big challenge, and how she winds down.

Opening night for The Great Gatsby.Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

On her high-intensity preparation:

For this show, I go to stage left before my entrance, and have to do specific stretches: 10 pushups, a downward dog, 10 jump squats, and I stretch my legs in a certain way. I have to crack my knuckles in a certain way to feel ready. I didn’t plan to do that, but it just kind of happened, and now I can’t imagine doing a show without doing that.

On striking the right chord:

I need an hour before the show to pin-curl my hair because I wear a wig in the show — it’s amazing. Then I do my makeup. I play this Gatsby summer playlist. I know all the words to every hit from the ’20s, which is nice because it gets you into that world, and it’s a really fun vibe. I have to listen to music when I’m getting ready or else I hear my own thoughts, which is terrifying.

On inhabiting Daisy:

I’m working on being more confident. My appearance has unfortunately been a huge insecurity in my life. It sounds shallow, but when you work in an industry that always scrutinizes it and makes you feel less than, it’s hard to not let it get into your head.

The challenge with this role has been that Daisy is beautiful. She sits in these gorgeous garments, and if anything, it’s her that makes them look expensive. I get very uncomfortable being perceived as Eva. My character doesn’t have those insecurities. So the hardest part for me with this has been detaching my own insecurities from Daisy, because my body is the body that Daisy is in.

On relaxing post-show:

I am a big candle girlie. I have 11 long, tapered pillar candles, so part of my evening ritual is to come home and light each of them. Then I can be a silly goose and color and watch a movie for the 18th time. Right now, I’m watching Sex and the City, as all the cool girls are. I love Disney+ and Studio Ghibli movies. But my partner and I love watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, so we’re really excited because Bachelor in Paradise starts soon.

On theater-world camaraderie:

It’s hard to find the stop button after the show, because we’re literally going, “The party! The party!” It’s hard to not want to go out and party. On the weekends, it’s easier because there’s this amazing thing called SNOB, [Sunday] Night on Broadway, where the casts doing eight shows a week can all hang out. It allows us to take that big inhale-exhale together and go, “Wow, we did that.”

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.