When she was 9 years old, Shereen Pimentel made her debut on Broadway as young Nala in “The Lion King.” Fast forward more than a decade — which included a degree in vocal performance from The Juilliard School and a dream role as Maria in the 2020 Broadway revival of “West Side Story” — and the Teaneck, N.J., native is coming to the American Repertory Theater to star in a revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Tony Award-winning musical “Evita” May 17-July 16. In a recent phone interview from New York City, where she was in rehearsals before coming to Cambridge, Pimentel called the role of Eva Perón “all-encompassing” and said she is “looking forward to bringing a new version of this show” to audiences. “Evita” follows Perón’s meteoric rise from impoverished childhood to first lady of Argentina until her death at 33. She said that audiences can expect to see “exactly what Sammi [Cannold, the director] said to us on the first day of rehearsals: a real examination of the human being inside of the icon.” Pimentel added that there is “so much about her story that people don’t know.” And while she is excited to perform in this role, Pimentel said she is also excited to spend a few months in Boston. “So many people want to give me recommendations of what to do, where to go, what to see,” she said. “I can’t wait to take it all in.” We caught up with Pimentel, who lives in Teaneck with her 3-year-old Goldendoodle, Thor, to talk about all things travel.
If you could travel anywhere right now, and money was no object, where would you go?
I would love to go to Aruba. I just want to lounge on the beach and soak up the sun for my next vacation.
Where was the first place you traveled to after COVID restrictions were lifted?
Los Angeles. I took so many solo trips to Disneyland. I absolutely love Disney and tickets were so cheap. I couldn’t pass up on the chance.
Do you prefer booking trips through a travel agent or on your own?
I prefer booking trips on my own. Since I travel so much, I’ve gotten used to hopping on to Kayak and looking for the best flights
Thoughts on an “unplugged” vacation?
I would love to do that. I am always on my phone. Whether it’s for e-mails or just watching funny videos on TikTok, it’s always in my hand. I’d love to go on a vacation and just take a break from it.
Do you use all of your vacation time or leave some on the table?
I try to leave some on the table if I can, but if I’m doing a hard show, I need to take my vacation time just to get some rest.
What has been your worst vacation experience?
I loved this trip overall, but while I was in Paris with my family, we almost got pickpocketed on the Metro.
Do you vacation to relax, to learn, or for the adventure of it all?
Definitely to relax. I love a calm and quiet vacation. At the end, I’ll put a fun adventure on the agenda so I don’t feel like I spent my entire vacation in bed.
What book do you plan on bringing with you to read on your next vacation?
”Principles: Life and Work” by Ray Dalio. I’ve been looking forward to diving into this book.
If you could travel with one famous person/celebrity, who would it be?
Audra McDonald. She’s my idol and I’d love to talk to her about her career.
What is the best gift to give a traveler?
I would say the best gift is something that makes organization easy. I use a lot of Stoney Clover pouches and packing cubes when I travel. It keeps me organized and they’re very cute.
What is your go-to snack for a flight or a road trip?
Chex Mix. There’s so much variety. I just think it’s one of the best snacks in general.
What is the coolest souvenir you’ve picked up on a vacation?
My first lightsaber! Right before I left Orlando, I had to stop by Disney Springs and pick one up.
What is your favorite app/website for travel?
Kayak. They make booking flights super easy.
What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me to enjoy life outside of work. I love what I do, but it can consume my life at times. Travel takes me out of my bubble and gives me new experiences.
What is your best travel tip?
Have fun. Whether that means laying on the beach or packing your itinerary with activities, you should make the most of every trip.
Juliet Pennington can be reached at email@example.com.