It's been a busy summer for Broadway songbird Solea Pfeiffer. On August 6, she closed out Hamlet at Shakespeare in the Park. Then August 15, she became the first replacement for Hadestown, succeeding Eva Noblezada as Eurydice. Plus she celebrated her 29th birthday on September 22. "I'm in my sad girl era," she remarks of her back-to-back roles, both tragic heroines.
Sure, the women Pfeiffer has been playing may be sad, but they do not go gentle into that good night. Instead, they roar. You can see it in the video above, where Pfeiffer came into the Playbill studio to perform "Flowers," Eurydice's second-act lament from Hadestown, showcasing her powerful vocals and raw emotions.
While in the Playbill studio, Pfeiffer couldn't help but fully embody Eurydice. During both takes of "Flowers," she had tears running down her face, leaving streaks of mascara behind them. But then like a switch, right after singing, Pfeiffer was smiling, her downcast eyes turned bright again. After, Pfeiffer explains that she doesn't actively choose to play sad women.
"It's just something that happens for a lot of actresses in their 20s, a lot of musicals really do not end well for the ingenues," says Pfeiffer, with a wry chuckle. "I'm a really silly person in my life. I read Jack O'Brien's autobiography, where he describes himself as hardwired for happiness. And I think I'm a little bit like that."
For her conception of Eurydice, Pfeiffer was inspired by Lauryn Hill. In particular, Hill in Sister Act 2—"This character who doesn't suffer any fools and loves to sing. Is soft at heart, but has this hard exterior, because her circumstances don't allow wiggle room for self expression." To Pfeiffer, she doesn't see the moment when Eurydice is disappointed by Orpheus and chooses to go into the Underworld as tragic—it's a showcase of her character's resilience. "It's sad, yes, but there's also a lot of strength in choosing yourself—'Hey, I don't have a lot of options. This is the option that I'm going to take to survive.'" Then she leans back and adds, with a bit of swagger, "You can't count on men!"
That Lauryn Hill inspiration also extends to Pfeiffer's choice to have Eurydice wear her hair in braids (which Pfeiffer plays with absentmindedly during the interview). It's a way to showcase Eurydice's practicality. "She's in her protective hairstyle for the end of the world. And I think that's very economical, and smart," Pfeiffer remarks.
It's a nod to Hill and also to Pfeiffer's heritage (she was born in Zimbabwe). "I'm half Black, and for a lot of Black women, hair can be a touchy thing," she says, adding that it was her choice to wear her real hair in braids for the show, instead of wearing a wig. "Instead of getting into wig prep and spending all that time, I can just show up to work, kind of put my hair back and then get warm. So this is the least, I've ever had to do, like cosmetically for a show." It also means that she's always taking a piece of Eurydice home with her after the show, but Pfeiffer doesn't mind, remarking proudly. "I think braids are beautiful...I feel powerful with this hair."
"Flowers," performed by Solea Pfeiffer was also showcased in Broadway Backstage: Fall Preview from ABC 7, which features interviews with the stars of this season's hottest shows, and hosted by Eyewitness News Anchor Michelle Charlesworth and Spamalot cast member Michael Urie. Any New York resident can watch the broadcast October 22, 2023 at 5:30 PM. The special will rebroadcast October 29 at 5:30 AM. The special is also available to stream at abc7ny.com/broadway.
See photos from Pfeiffer's shoot with Playbill below.