First created in 1959, the Barbie doll has been an iconic toy for girls through many generations. Its modelesque figure, flowing blonde hair and love for glitter and gold, seen as the epitome of female beauty by some and the sexist stereotype by feminists, have been its trademark so it is inevitable that we wonder: what does it take for one to play the role of Barbie on stage?
“What I do is make sure to eat healthy and exercise. Personally, I believe that it is most important to be beautiful on the inside, and therefore it is essential to be kind and to educate yourself by reading as much as possible so that you can have the best understanding of the world around you.”
These words come from Chelsea Bernier, a stage actress from Las Vegas, who plays the life version of the iconic doll in an all-new musical production “Barbie LIVE!” world premiering in Singapore this week. According to the musical’s director cum choreographer Kobi Rozenfeld, Bernier who previously played Millie in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and Ellen in “Miss Saigon”, possesses “a special aura” which made him instantly decide that she’s the one for the role.
This special aura however, does not include a perfectly proportionate figure. Just like how Bernier’s reply focused little on mimicking the doll’s almost-too-perfect appearance, Rozenfeld reiterated that this musical isn’t about Barbie being pretty, rather “It’s all about her friendship with her best friend Teresa and building confidence.”
The two-hour song and dance extravaganza, which runs at the Marina Bay Sands from Sept 10 to 14, follows Barbie and her best friend Teresa as they embark on a new movie together. When the latter begins to doubt herself, Barbie will have to teach her friend to believe in herself and be confident as they chase their dreams.
In our email interview with Bernier, we similarly learn how the starlet, who moved to Los Angeles to pursue her passion in acting, found friends off stage and gained confidence in doing what she loves from her stint as the world’s most famous toy character.
(Photo Credit: Base Entertainment Asia)
W&T: Was Barbie your favorite toy during childhood? If yes, what was your best memory of the toy? Chelsea: I played with Barbies quite often when I was younger. What was so special about her was the fact that I could share stories with my mother and grandmother since Barbie has been around now for multiple generations. When I was younger, I loved role playing with Barbie and ultimately it inspired me to always remember that I could be anything I wanted to be.
W&T: With Barbie being a very popular childhood toy for most girls, do you have any pressure playing this role? Chelsea: It is an honor to play the role of Barbie in this brand new musical production. I certainly feel there are a lot of expectations to live up to, but with the rigorous rehearsals we have gone through for the show, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed.
I think I’ve been subconsciously preparing to play the role of Barbie in Barbie LIVE! for some time. I’ve trained extensively in singing and dancing, and I’ve also worked hard to always maintain a positive image and to be a role model to those around me. The Barbie brand spreads the message that you can be anything you want and do everything you dream of doing. It is a pleasure to be able to help spread that positive message.
W&T: The show is about friendship and finding self-confidence, has playing this role helped you to forge new friendships and finding new self-confidence? Chelsea: The cast and crew of Barbie LIVE! are incredibly talented, and I would definitely say that we are developing some beautiful friendships. It’s wonderful to be surrounded by so many talented people that constantly inspire you.
W&T: What do you hope the audience, especially children, take away from the musical? Chelsea: Barbie LIVE! is such an exciting musical production for fans of all ages. I hope that when audiences leave the theater they feel inspired, and that the message of believing in yourself, being confident, and embracing the power of friendship is one that stays with them for a long time.
(Photo Credit: Base Entertainment Asia)
“Barbie LIVE!” is on from now till Sept-10 to 14 at the Marina Bay Sands Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at www.marinabaysands.com/ticketing, 6688-8826 or in person at the Marina Bay Sands Box Offices or SISTIC.
Ticketing information as below:
Tue – Fri: 2.45pm and 6.45pmSat: 11am, 2.45pm & 6.45pm