Eva Noblezada doesn't want you to like her Gatsby character

Eva Noblezada is almost never alone. When she logged into Zoom on a recent Monday morning, the Broadway star was joined by her black-and-white pug, Petunia, who she shares with her partner, Reeve Carney.

When Carney wasn't home, Penny often went to Noblezada's dressing room in New York's Theater District, where "The Great Gatsby," the first Broadway musical, was being staged. Noblezada plays the melancholy Daisy Buchanan, while Jeremy Jordan plays the titular Jay Gatsby.

Her dressing room is filled with retro purses, vintage magazines and photos of 1920s actors like Clara Bow, paying homage to the modern era. “It calls you into the world of Gatsby ,” said the Tony Award-nominated actor for his role in “Haddestown .” Eurydice and Kim from Miss Saigon .

"It's hard to find the stop button after the show because we're literally like, 'Party! Party!'"

Noblezada was assigned to read Fitzgerald novels when he was in high school in North Carolina, but he read SparkNotes summaries instead. When she finally acquiesced years later, she said she became a "huge fan" and watched Baz Luhrmann's 2012 film adaptation "countless times."

The new musical, opening on Broadway April 25, delves into the book's upper-class characters through song. "She was very charming," she said of Daisy. "I wish I was like that, but I also wish I wasn't as careless with people as Daisy was. None of us are perfect, but she does want to have her own pleasure in life at the expense of others."

Below, Noblezada talks about her behind-the-scenes ritual, a monumental challenge, and how she ended up doing it.

Opening night of The Great Gatsby . Diadeepasupir/GettyImagesEntertainment/GettyImages

On her intense preparation:

For this show, I walked to stage left before entering and did specific stretches: 10 push-ups, downward dog, 10 jumping squats, and stretching my legs in some way. I have to crack my knuckles a certain way to get ready. I didn't plan on doing it, but it just happened and now I can't imagine doing a show without doing it.

When playing the correct chords:

I needed an hour to curl my hair before the show because I was wearing a wig during the show - which was amazing. Then I put on makeup. I put on the Gatsby summer playlist. I know all the words to every hit song from the 1920s, which is great because it puts you into that world and the vibe is really fun. I have to listen to music when I'm getting ready, otherwise I hear my own thoughts, which is scary.

About Living Daisy:

I'm working on becoming more confident. Unfortunately, my appearance brought huge insecurities into my life. It sounds superficial, but when you work in an industry that always scrutinizes it and makes you feel inadequate, it's hard not to let it get into your head.

The challenge with this role is that Daisy is beautiful. She wears these gorgeous clothes and if anything, she makes them look expensive. I feel very uncomfortable being seen as Eva. My character doesn’t have these insecurities. So the hardest part for me was separating my own insecurities from Daisy, because my body is the body Daisy is in.

On relaxing after a show:

I'm a big candle girl. I have 11 long tapered pillar candles, so one of my evening rituals is to go home and light each candle. Then I can be a silly goose and watch the movie for the 18th time. Right now, I'm watching Sex and the City , like all the cool girls. I love Disney+ and Studio Ghibli movies. But my partner and I love watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette , so we're really excited because Bachelor in Paradise is starting soon.

On friendships in the theater world:

It was hard to find the stop button after the show because we were literally saying, "Party! Party!" It was hard not to go out and party. It's even easier on the weekends because there's this magical event called SNOB, [Sunday] Night on Broadway, where actors from eight shows a week hang out. It allows us to breathe in and out together and say, "Wow, we did that."

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.