One might think dressing a princess might require birds, rodents or towel-clad handmaids, but that’s not the case at Broadway’s Aladdin. Courtney Reed, who plays Princess Jasmine in the hit musical, is dressed by a living-breathing-fully-dressed human named Jackie Gehrt. Gehrt and Reed became fast friends backstage at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Read on to find out what they bond over, what they listen to while napping and what two phrases commonly heard in this princess’ dressing room.
When did you first meet Courtney Reed, and what was your first impression of her?
Not that long ago, actually; it was the beginning of this year. I was leaving a show to come take over this track, and we had an informal meeting. My first impression of Courtney was that she was very welcoming and warm. I still didn’t have the job in the bag, but after meeting her I thought, “If this happens, it’s going to be fun!” I was right.
What do you wish more people knew about dressers?
That the job goes far beyond quick changes and costume maintenance. You’re one part of a well-oiled machine that operates eight, sometimes nine shows a week. Being mentally sharp and honing in on your emotional intelligence will help you navigate any situation you’re in. We work in such a unique and intimate environment, that the people around you become family and going to work becomes an extension of your home.
What makes the two of you laugh?
The better question is what doesn’t make us laugh? Recently she has taken to calling me “Gerta, Gerta, Gerta” because of my last name [Gehrt]. It gets me every time.
What are some items you both like to have on hand backstage?
A bite light, hand sanitizer, Listerine strips and water.
What do you two bond over?
Motivating each other. We’re both health conscious, so sharing our workouts and finding healthy places to eat is a daily event. We currently have an obsession with Macro bars and Mediterranean food.
What's the best gift she's ever given you?
Her boundless positivity—but, more importantly: the DevaCurl hair product that she surprised me with last week.
What's something she says all the time?
She switches from “that’s fierce” to “that’s rich” hourly.
What is something you do that makes her roll her eyes?
My off-the-cuff comments during most of our conversations. She says I take it to another level. If there were a fly on the wall…
What's the secret to your relationship?
A similar sense of humor, and the way that we support one another.
Since she plays a princess in the show, what is the most princessy thing about her?
Besides her stunning outward appearance, I would say her inner beauty. Courtney’s motto is to treat everyone the same, and be kind to everyone, that’s the most princess-y thing about her.
Any fun anecdotes you want to share about your time working with Courtney?
If we both arrive at the theater early for whatever reason, you may catch us napping in her room with soothing music playing. I like the Pandora nature station; she prefers the spa station.
What’s the best part about being part of Team Jasmine?
Knowing that every day I come to work it will be filled with laughter.