Jacquelyne Paige makes her FST debut this season with Up on the Roof, an original music revue celebrating the songwriters who helped create the iconic “Brill Sound” in the ‘50s and ‘60s. During this time, some of America’s most beloved pop songs were being written within the walls of the Brill Building in midtown Manhattan, which is where this distinct sound got its name.
In Up on the Roof, Paige brings to life such songs as “Stupid Cupid,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and “I Say A Little Prayer for You.” We sat down with Jacquelyne Paige to talk about what she knew about the “Brill Sound” before starting rehearsals for Up on the Roof, her favorite song to perform in the show, and more.
Is there anything about the “Brill Sound” that you were surprised to learn during the rehearsal process?
To be completely transparent, I had no idea what the “Brill Sound” or The Brill Building was before starting rehearsals for Up on the Roof. I knew that I loved music from the ‘50s and ‘60s, but I never questioned how that music came to be. The rehearsal process for this show opened my eyes to just how complicated that time was for songwriters. I can only imagine how challenging it must have been to work so closely with a significant other in such a competitive environment. Learning about the immense pressure these writers were under makes their songs, which continue to stand the test of time, that much more impressive.
What is your favorite song to perform in Up on the Roof and why?
My favorite song to perform in Up On The Roof is definitely “Leader of The Pack.” Not only is it very fun to perform, but it was one of the first big solo songs I performed when I was 10, just after starting voice lessons. While it is an entertaining moment for both me and the audience, there is an undertone of nostalgia I feel when I sing the song. 10-year-old Jacquelyne is definitely living her best life during that moment in the show.
You’ve played leading roles in musicals such as Anything Goes! and Spring Awakening. What have you taken away from those experiences that you brought with you to Up on the Roof?
Finding “my voice” was the biggest takeaway from my role in Anything Goes! . Reno Sweeney is bold, and unapologetic. Playing her encouraged me to unlock parts of my voice that I didn’t think were possible. That role helped me gain confidence in who I am as a singer, which is non-negotiable as a performer. Own your sound!
Spring Awakening was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever shared on a stage. There is such an emphasis on the lyrics—they are truly poetic—so finding ways to authentically connect with the words, and what the character is saying, has helped me with Up On The Roof. There is profound depth to songs like “What the World Needs Now” and “It’s Too Late.” Being in Spring Awakening helped me dig deep into these lyrics and relate the messages these songwriters were expressing.
Is there anything you would like audiences to know before coming to see Up on the Roof?
We are having just as much fun performing these songs as you are listening to them. This music has a way of bringing people from all walks of life together. Regardless of age, race, or gender, we relate to and connect with these songs. Whatever you as an audience member are feeling when you see this show, know that we as a cast are feeling or have felt the same way. Don’t be afraid to let the music connect you with everyone in the room.
Up on the Roof is now playing in FST's Court Cabaret. For tickets and more information, click here.
Header Image: Jacquelyne Paige. Photo by John Jones.