3-Minute Interview: Arielle Jacobs

The actress, who grew up in Half Moon Bay, stars as Gabriella in the national tour of Disney’s “High School Musical,” which opens Tuesday and runs through April 27 at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre and appears June 10-15 at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts.

What’s it like to play an iconic character in such a popular show? It’s great for me. I love playing a role-model character that’s such a positive influence on all of the girls who come to the show.

What are you looking forward to, coming home to the Bay Area? Seeing a lot of family and friends. I also can’t wait to go to Barbara's Fish Trap — they have the best clam chowder in the world. I almost wish I were coming in October, for the pumpkin festival. It’s the best ever.

What’s the most fun thing about appearing in “High School Musical”? It’s hearing the audience participation — they’re screaming, they’re excited. They know all the words to all of the songs. I think they’re even more invested in the characters here than they are in the movie, because it’s live onstage. It’s like a real Broadway show.

How did you get the role? I was auditioning for the musical version of “Finding Nemo” and I was told I looked like Gabriella. I found out more about the show from my 7-year-old cousin, and I thought, “I could play this.” I auditioned later and got the part.

What’s in your future after “High School Musical?” I’ll be going back to New York, for my first Broadway show, I hope.

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