For her first touring production, Isabella Esler is playing Lydia Deetz in the North American Tour of Beetlejuice, which also marks her professional debut. Working with a cast including Justin Collette as Beetlejuice, Isabella is set to continue in her co-lead role, with the musical currently booking until June 2024. Having her first experience in theatre at six years old, Isabella trained with CMTSJ. Recently, we chatted to Isabella, who talked to us about being in the cast of Beetlejuice for her professional debut, playing the co-lead role of Lydia on the North American Tour and what it’s like getting into character.
You are currently touring as Lydia Deetz in the North American Tour of Beetlejuice, what is Lydia like to play and how is it getting into character/costume?
It’s been really amazing! Lydia is such a fun character to play. She’s clever and so strong, I admire her character. I honestly don’t feel that different from her because we both share the fact that we’re both teenagers so I feel like I can bring myself into her character. Getting into costume is always fun because she just has the coolest look.
How much did you know about Beetlejuice before auditioning and how did you feel finding out you’d booked the role?
I’ve known about this show for a while before I auditioned. Beetlejuice had a large upbringing online and I was one of those people that found out about the show that way. Since before COVID, I had always been a fan of the musical and of Lydia so it was really a full-circle moment when I got offered the role.
How are you finding the experience touring for the first time and how is it making your professional debut with the musical as co-lead character Lydia?
Touring definitely took some getting used to but it’s cool being able to travel to a lot of different places that I’ve never been to before. It’s great being able to bring this show to different cities and meet all different kinds of people. Making my debut was a surreal experience and I’m so thankful for such a great group of people to be working with all over the country. Having all that support while I was still figuring things out was great.
What is it like working alongside the rest of the cast including Justin Collette as Beetlejuice?
Everyone in the cast is so kind and supportive of each other so it’s great to have a group of people that get along so well. It’s been such a fun experience getting to know everyone. Justin is so talented and I’m surprised at every single show how he can just come up with the funniest things. We became good friends pretty fast and I think it reflects in our chemistry in the show!
How is it performing the music and choreography and do you have a favourite song in the musical?
The main thing that drew me into the show was the soundtrack. I loved how every song seemed to have a different genre. I also love watching the choreography that all the amazing dancers do because it’s so energetic and interesting. My favourite song changes all the time but I think my favourite at the moment is What I Know Now. It’s a Latin-esque song with really fun dancing and singing and it’s cool watching everyone in their own ‘recently deceased’ characters.
Why would you recommend booking tickets for one of the tour venues of Beetlejuice, which has dates through to June 2024, and who do you think will enjoy watching it?
What’s fun about this show is that I feel like anyone could enjoy this. If you’re a big fan of the movie but have never seen the musical, you’ll still experience all of the fun references from the movie while also getting some newer details about all of your lovable characters. The show has really fun lighting cues and a super cool set. I think the spooky atmosphere of it all adds to the experience. Aside from it being very funny, I also think the story holds a lot of heart that a lot of people can relate or cling on to. Overall, I think it’s a great show if you want to laugh and cry!!
What are you looking forward to most for continuing your role of Lydia and how is it seeing the audience response to the show?
This show has a pretty large social media following so it’s great being able to bring this show and this character to other parts of the country. In every city, I get to see all kinds of fans with amazing fan art and costumes. Being able to interact with many people and hearing how much this show means to them really means a lot to me.
Can you tell us about your training with CMTSJ and what was it like being a student there?
My very first musical was at CMTSJ when I was six and I kind of never stopped. I’m very thankful for the community I grew up in and for introducing me to the arts. I have met a lot of amazing people through this company and I’m grateful for my time there!
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
My parents put me in a musical theatre production when I was six and I never really stopped acting after that. I’ve always loved theatre and film/TV growing up so it was always something that I wanted to be a part of.
What are some of your favourite theatre shows to watch?
My favourite shows change all the time but I’ve been listening to Hadestown recently! I also love anything Sondheim.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I’ve been recently getting into reading and drawing again!
Is there anything you enjoy most about working as a theatre performer?
I love that every show is different. At every show, there is a completely different audience that reacts to things differently. Sometimes there are different actors playing a different part. Especially with this show, there’s a decent amount of improv so there’s always something new going on!
Have you been given any advice over your performing career so far that has stuck with you?
Probably to listen to yourself and what is best for your voice and body.
Follow Isabella on: