Vaughan encourages students to turn their dreams into realities

Published 6:30 am Sunday, February 5, 2023

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Jessica Vaughan is a Greenville native who packed a suitcase and headed to New York City to pursue theater. 

Six years ago, she networked with a fellow East Carolina University alumna who helped her get her first Broadway gig on “Jersey Boys” working in the costume department for four years. From there, she has done background acting work on season five of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Maestro” starring and directed by Bradley Cooper. She is currently a dresser for “Wicked” on Broadway. 

This means she assists actresses portraying Glinda with their dress which weighs 15 pounds and is valued at $45,000. She is a steward of the dress, shoes and accessories ensuring they are organized, mended and she assists actresses during costume changes. 

On Friday, February 3, Vaughan spoke to seventh and eighth grade students at Northeast Elementary sharing her experience backstage on Broadway. She used her experience to tell them that no matter where they are from, they can find local opportunities to achieve their dreams. 

Vaughan said go after dreams of being on Broadway are “not out of the realm of possibility. I know so many people from so many backgrounds that have come from similar areas that are there and doing it…If you put your mind to it, anyone can do it.” 

Vaughan said job opportunities on Broadway vary depending on which department a person wants to work in. In wardrobe, she said most people are either working or receiving work, because there are many shows starting and ending. “Once you kind of get in and you have something on your resume then you say, ‘hi, I’m here. I’m available,’” Vaughan said. She used this approach to get into “Wicked.” 

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from. If you have the want and the drive, then you can do it,” Vaughan said.