Wheeling Symphony Orchestra to Tell Magical Tales Through Music Tonight

Guest Vocalist Sierra Boggess Found Broadway Success Through Hard Work

Sierra Boggess

WHEELING — Former ice skater Sierra Boggess didn’t “skate” into her career as a Broadway star and concert artist.

Boggess, who is performing with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra this week, is quick to point out that it takes hard work, persistence and continued study to attain success on stage and in concert halls.

“It’s great to have the desire, and you must have the desire to want to do this. But you must willing to work really hard,” said Boggess, who takes acting, ballet and voice lessons and teaches.

Boggess observed, “You have to want to be doing the work … I’ve always loved the work and the preparation.”

No matter how many performances have been given, preparation and rehearsal remain essential for performers. “You still put in all the same work. I really, really love the work,” she said.

The soprano will join guest conductor John Devlin for the WSO’s pops concert, “Once Upon a Time,” at the Capitol Theatre, 1015 Main St., at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

She and Devlin worked together with the Princeton (New Jersey) Symphony last February. Devlin, who is a finalist for the WSO music director’s position, suggested that they collaborate for the Wheeling performance.

“We had a really amazing time singing with the Princeton Symphony,” she said. “I’m really, really looking forward to singing that program again and singing with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.”

The WSO concert will feature songs from “Camelot,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Love Never Dies” and other musicals. She remarked, “It is going to be really beautiful. He (Devlin) was telling me how amazing the symphony is.”

Boggess, who hails from Denver, Colorado, was a competitive ice skater for 10 years, but the sport became too expensive to continue. At that point, she said, “My middle school had a drama program. I fell in love with it.”

During her high school years, a career in theater “became my dream from then on, (with) everything falling into place. I wanted to go to a university with a strong musical theater program,” she said.

She studied in London for a semester in college and earned a degree in musical theater at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Following graduation, she moved to New York City to pursue her career.

After she performed in a national tour of “Les Miserables,” composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber chose her to star in a new production of “Phantom of the Opera” in Las Vegas.

Boggess made her Broadway debut in 2007 in “The Little Mermaid.” Among her many credits, she performed in Lloyd Webber;s “Love Never Dies” in London. She also appeared in the 25th anniversary production of “Phantom” in London; a performance of that show was broadcast worldwide.

In addition to starring in Broadway shows and working in London’s West End theatrical district, she performs internationally with orchestras and presents a solo show.

“It’s been a really wonderful career,” she commented. “It’s wonderful to make music all over the world. As cheesy as it is, music really is the universal language. It’s a beautiful thing I get to do for a living.”

She added, “It’s what I love to do — the acting, the singing, the dancing — it’s all of it. I love that when shows almost become a platform for me to be a positive vessel of change. It’s bigger than just getting to perform in a show.

“You give people a chance to escape or feel good for an hour or an hour and a half. I think we need that in this world. It’s healing for the audience and the performers if we’re doing it with the right intentions,” she remarked.

On a personal level, Boggess said, “I have an incredibly supportive family.”

Her older sister is a cellist on Broadway and plays in the pit orchestra for Boggess’ shows. “It’s been really amazing. We have always made music together. It’s really exciting,” she said.

Her younger sister, who holds a degree in oboe and piano performance, is a music teacher at a school in Georgia.

“I love that we’re all in music in some fashion,” she said. “I was a flutist growing up. The three of us would play trios together or sing together. I’ve been around music my entire life.”

Reflecting on her career, Boggess said, “When you’re a kid, you can’t wait to be on Broadway. You achieve something, but life doesn’t stop. You say, ‘And now what,’ not from a place of being ungrateful. From a place of gratitude, you think, ‘What is next?'”

After appearing with the Wheeling Symphony, she will perform in Germany for the first time and present other concerts in July. At the end of the year, she will appear in a new theatrical production of “Ever After,” based on a 1998 movie that starred Drew Barrymore. She said “Ever After” is slated for out-of-town tryouts in Atlanta and Minneapolis, with the hope that it will move to Broadway.

“You do all the work and hope that a theater opens up (on Broadway), but you can never count on anything for sure. That’s why you have to love the work and love what you do,” she said.

In her free hours, Boggess enjoys doing yoga and spending time with nature and with friends.

‘Performing is a solo sport in a way, but it’s also a team effort … I wouldn’t want to do this life without my people,” she said, adding, “Most of them are in the business. Show people are a certain breed. It’s helpful because we understand each others’ schedule and the ups and downs. I definitely tend to surround myself with show people.”

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