Jasmine Forsberg’s story of identity, family, and resilience

Filipino American actor Jasmine Forsberg as Jane Seymour in the hit Broadway musical ‘SIX’.

Meet Jasmine Forsberg, a Filipino American rising star illuminating Broadway with her strong performances in a couple of hit musicals. With grace and passion, she is able to capture the essence of her characters, leaving memorable performances. This is the story of Forsberg’s journey—from auditions to standing ovations—showcasing her talent and the profound connection she shares with her roles and the audience.

Jasmine Forsberg
Photo by Billy Bustamante

For many dreamers and upcoming thespians, Broadway is the place where dreams are born and stories unfold under the spotlight. From her recent Broadway debut in “Here Lies Love” to her current role as Jane Seymour in the musical “SIX,” Forsberg has emerged as a captivating force.

The conversation with the young star begins with her reminiscing about the profound impact of “Here Lies Love,” a production she describes as “one of the most meaningful artistic and cultural experiences” of her life.

(L-R) Jasmine Forsberg (Jane Seymour), Didi Romero (Katherine Howard), Khaila Wilcoxon (Catherine of Aragon), Storm Lever (Anne Boleyn), Olivia Donalson (Anna of Cleves), & Gabriela Carrillo (Catherine Parr) Photos by Joan Marcus

The show, delving into the complex intersections of love, politics, and history, held a special place in her heart. “I hope that one day, something with that level of intersectionality will be able to come to Broadway again,” Forsberg expressed, reflecting on the rarity of narratives that echo her own Filipino story.

Describing the experience as revolutionary, she envisions a future where more diverse stories find a home on Broadway. “Hopefully, we have opened up a new chapter for anybody and everybody to explore what a Broadway show looks like,” Forsberg remarked, echoing the transformative potential of narratives that break free from conventional molds.

(L-R) Khaila Wilcoxon (Catherine of Aragon), Storm Lever (Anne Boleyn), Jasmine Forsberg (Jane Seymour), Olivia Donalson (Anna of Cleves), Didi Romero (Katherine Howard), & Gabriela Carrillo (Catherine Parr)

The recent closing night of “Here Lies Love” was a poignant moment for Forsberg. The emotions ran deep as the curtain fell, marking both an end and a beginning. “It’s heartbreaking when something that you pour your entire passion into doesn’t get to have as long a life as you want it to,” she confessed. Yet, the bitter aftertaste is sweetened by the bonds forged during the production. “I have a family for life with all of those people,” Forsberg added, acknowledging the sense of community that transcends the stage.

Transitioning from “Here Lies Love” to “SIX,” Forsberg took on the role of Jane Seymour, a character she initially felt less connected to during auditions.

“Having not yet even started rehearsals, I was describing the role to a friend of Jane being kind-hearted and warm. And she said, ‘Jasmine, that’s you. That is you,’” Forsberg shared, underscoring the serendipity that led her to a character she now embodies with depth and authenticity.

Gabriela Carrillo (Catherine Parr, center) with (l-r) Khaila Wilcoxon (Catherine of Aragon), Storm Lever (Anne Boleyn), Jasmine Forsberg (Jane Seymour), Olivia Donalson (Anna of Cleves) & Didi Romero (Katherine Howard)

As we delved into the intricacies of her role, Forsberg revealed the transformative power of Jane Seymour’s character. “I’ve learned that you can be strong and gentle at the same time,” she explained. Living with Jane Seymour for over a year and a half, Forsberg has found a profound connection to the character. “I realize now there’s no other queen that would feel as right,” she mused, emphasizing the character’s commitment to family and love.

Growing up with a white father and a Filipino mother, Forsberg navigated the delicate balance of cultural identity. “While my household was Americanized, anytime I would spend time with them, I wanted to be able to absorb as much as possible,” she said, reminiscing about visits to a Filipino supermarket with her grandparents.

Bottom row: (l-r) Jasmine Forsberg (Jane Seymour), Gabriela Carrillo (Catherine Parr), & Didi Romero (Katherine Howard). Middle row: (l-r) Olivia Donalson (Anna of Cleves) & Khaila Wilcoxon (Catherine of Aragon). Top row: Storm Lever (Anne Boleyn)

Living with her grandparents in Chicago during the “SIX” tour, Forsberg connected with her Filipino roots more intimately. “I got to really connect with that side of my heritage a lot and eat the food and hear them talking in the language,” she shared. The experience not only deepened her connection to her roots but also fueled her commitment to representing the Filipino-American community on Broadway.

Acknowledging the challenges faced by mixed-race individuals, Forsberg addressed the common notion of not being “enough” of either ethnicity. “There’s no regardless of whether you grew up in a more Americanized household. You still are Filipino. You still are you,” she emphasized.

As Forsberg continues to carve her path in Broadway, her commitment to authentic storytelling remains unwavering. “Sometimes I think my dream hasn’t been written yet,” she said, leaving the future open to untold narratives and unexplored roles.

Taking center stage every night, Forsberg invites audiences to witness not only the characters she portrays but the rich tapestry of her own identity woven into the vibrant fabric of Broadway. As the curtains rise on her unfolding narrative, it becomes clear that she is not merely a rising star; she is a transformative presence, willing to let audiences witness the powerful intersection of culture, pride, and the enduring magic of storytelling. n

Momar G. Visaya

Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at [email protected].

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