Rachel and I basically spent the whole photoshoot confirming that it was primetime to take our best friendship off social media and into real life! (insert every magical emoji you can think of.. #aglimpseintoourtexts) 🙂 This sunbeam and I are on the same rainbow, butterfly wavelength and she is all kinds of wonderful! In mind, body, and spirit, Rachel is a beautiful example of what it takes to be Fit for Broadway!
Note from Rachel: Hey! I’m Rachel Zatcoff and I recently made my Broadway debut in The Phantom of the Opera as the Christine Daaé alternate! I’m a Philly-burb girl, and I have been living in NYC for the last 4 ½ years. I grew up in a family and community obsessed with musical theater, but ended up earning a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Vocal Performance to pursue opera. Over the last 2 years I’ve been working very hard to crossover to the land of musical theater… or really cross BACK over… because let’s face it, I knew every Sondheim lyric in existence by age 5. After a couple years of singing opera post-graduate school, my first big step was getting to play Maria in the International Tour of West Side Story! I absolutely LOVE food, Barbra Streisand, traveling, social media, friends, hot tea, my family, the color yellow, lipstick, my AMAZING husband, Oreos, sunflowers, shoes, the moon, piano, the beach, and cupcakes. In my past life I believe I was a butterfly, and in my next life I’d like to marry George Clooney (sorry, Seth…)! I am enjoying life moment by moment, soaking it all up like a sponge, and loving the journey!
“Vocal Rest” from Fit for Broadway Apparel
click the picture or click HERE!
Q: Girl, we’ve already established that we are long lost BFF’s and you’re playing my absolute fav Broadway role so this is pretty freakin’ special to have you on the blog today! When did you start singing? What was the beginning of this journey to Broadway?
A: I started singing when I was 4. My Dad would play the piano, and I would stand next to him singing along. I started taking formal voice lessons with an opera singer when I was 11, and studied voice with her until I was 17 applying for colleges. I did a TON of theater/musicals in middle school and high school. I know everybody thinks their high school had the best theater program in existence, but mine REALLY REALLY REALLY did (shout out to Upper Dublin High School Drama)! That is really where I’d say this journey began!
Q: Christine is singing through the roof most of the show! What are your vocal health habits for this role?
A: It is certainly vocally demanding! I really had to learn how to pace myself, and what that actually means for me. I vocalize every single day, whether I’m performing in the show that night or not. I believe in the power of vitamins/herbal supplements, and take a STUPID amount of them every morning. I have a happy little steamer. I love Grether’s pastilles in the Black Currant flavor – sugar free. I avoid loud places, and when I feel like I need to rest my voice, I do. Being on tour with West Side Story reallyyyyyyyy taught me how to take care of myself and my voice. I am grateful for that experience, because being on tour is a whole different animal. If you can stay healthy while traveling to new cities/countries every minute, you can manage when you’re home in NYC.
Q: My background is in opera so I know it’s not just pipes for all of that singing, it’s full body support! What’s your weekly workout regime?
A: Yes! Singing is a full body experience. I believe that this is the case no matter WHAT one is singing. I like to workout at least 3 days a week. In my young adult life, I’ve always been one to workout, go to the gym, and take classes. However, since my first week of rehearsal for Phantom, I learned quickly that I’d need to get into a stricter routine. I have had a BLAST taking all different types of classes in the city. Personally, I have always done better in a class setting than by myself on an elliptical. One day it is yoga, a ballet class, another day spin class, barre, cardio dance, and one of my top favorites for the last several years is Shrink Session (shout out to Erin Stutland)! Other people around me busting it out INSPIRES me, and I love switching it up with different types of workouts!
Q: #FoodisFuelforBroadway right!? 🙂 What are your eating habits? Any pre or post show eating rituals?
A: Listen. I love to eat. I love food. Even the stuff that is terrible for you. I have learned over the years what is best for ME, which doesn’t mean it is the best for everyone. Two words: portion control. I do not eliminate ANYTHING out of my diet. I do not eat a lot of red meat, but every once in a while I do indulge in a steak or medium rare burger with bacon and blue cheese. Sorry, I’m not sorry. Breakfast is the most important meal? Truth. I eat a lot of avocado. An ideal day is an enormous breakfast, a large lunch, and a small dinner… with some dark chocolate sprinkled in there too! I like to have a piece of fruit during the intermission of the show. I got into the habit of doing that when I was on tour, and I have stuck with it. Post show, I REALLY try not to eat. When I eat late at night I don’t sleep well, and I wake up with vocal cords that feel janky. Alas, the other night I couldn’t resist a little ice cream. Let’s put it this way, I know what I like and I know how certain foods make me feel. I know that I can’t eat an entire sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints, because let’s face it, I have costumes to fit into. However, this life is short. Food IS fuel, but food is also HAPPINESS. Food is part of life for all of us. I try to put good things into my body, because then I feel good. I’ll try anything once, and I despise shaved coconut. It is just about the ONLY thing I will not eat. My views on food are identical to Nora Ephron’s… read her quotes about food HERE! It will change your life.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: People inspire me. New places inspire me. Barbra Streisand inspires me. Children inspire me. History inspires me. Theater. Dance. Art. Music. Laughter. Long conversations with friends. My parents. My husband. My siblings. The elderly generation inspires me. Did I mention Barbra Streisand?
Q: Your top 3 revelations about the lifestyle of a Broadway performer?
- Sometimes you’ll see a roach backstage, bahahaha welcome to Broadway!
- Sleep is sooooooooooooooooo important.
- Being in tip-top physical shape is KEY. It is a full-body experience AND workout.
Q: Quote to live by…
A: “Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love them, and to live, really live.”
-Anna Quindlen, (A Short Guide to a Happy Life) best book, read it NOW!
annnnnnnnnnnnnnd Lyric to live by…
“Stop worrying where you’re going, move on. If you can know where you’re going, you’ve gone. Just keep moving on.”
-Stephen Sondheim, (Sunday in the Park with George)
Q: Christine finds empowerment throughout the show and exudes a lot of confidence! What are your top 3 tips for feeling empowered daily?
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Breathe. Relax. Stop worrying.
- Have things or places or activities or hobbies that INSPIRE you that exist outside of musical theater land.
Q: Finish the phrases…
A: The best part about being on Broadway is… always continuing to learn, sharing my craft within a beautiful story for thousands of people, becoming a member of the Phantom “Phamily”, backstage shenanigans, annnnnnnnd that iconic Phantom scene in the boat! Yep. That boat.
The biggest challenge about being on Broadway is… pretending it is easy and/or natural to: dance in pointe shoes, fall in love with a gross masked creepy Phantom dude, and to maneuver around the stage in a 40-pound wedding dress.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring performers who want a career on Broadway?
A: Be patient. Be positive. Be persistent. Be prepared. Be kind. Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop that noise, NOW. Work hard. Find balance in your life. Discover what inspires you. Be happy. Be grateful. Say yes. Say no. Everybody has a different path, so there is no point in comparing your path to anybody else’s. Stop that noise, yesterday! Network. Support your friends in the business. Want it. Want it more than anything. Want it more than the girl next to you wearing the same dress and singing the same song. Be yourself. Study. Never stop taking classes, lessons, and coachings. Build a team around you. You’ll need them. Enjoy and embrace the process. It never ever EVER ends. Nope, not even when you get to Broadway! But isn’t that beautiful? Sure is. We are all so lucky to love this art. All theater is important. All art. Not just Broadway. Love it. Always love it. Always remember WHY you do this. That will get you through even the yuckiest 6:00 AM days. And lastly? Believe. Believe you can. Believe you can, and you will.