After the Disney+ spinoff aired its third season in July 2022, Lester spent her TV hiatus on the Great White Way. The Los Angeles native — who plays aspiring musician Ashlyn Caswell on HSMTMTS — landed the role of Little Red in 2022’s anticipated revival of Into the Woods at the New York City Center. The production, following widespread acclaim in the theater community, eventually transferred to Broadway where Lester made her Broadway debut.
“I had never done a show in New York before, so I’m learning how different processes work. But usually you have months of rehearsals and months of previews before a show opens,” Lester told Vulture in August 2022 of joining the Encores! production, which was initially slated as a limited run. “To put a show on its feet in ten or 11 days with one tech rehearsal was a crazy undertaking. I really made a point to come in as prepared and solid in my choices as possible.”
She continued at the time: “I knew I wanted to surprise audiences with who [Little Red] can be. Also, I’m 22 but playing a kid, and I didn’t want people to go, ‘This is an adult trying to be a little girl.’ I didn’t want it to be campy and weird, so I loved playing into the darkness and the hard attitude of it all. It was accepted and welcomed at Encores!, and I could take those choices and grow into the Broadway production.”
The Prince of Peoria alum starred in the production until September 2022, which ultimately earned her a Tony Award nomination.
“Wtf do I even say about thissssss❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️. I’m a Tony nominee and that’s actually a made up sentence ????” Lester gushed via Instagram in May 2023. “Sorry idk how to be vulnerable on social media but just know I’m immensely grateful to the New York theatre community for welcoming me with open arms and cheering me on💃 thank you. thank you. THANK YOU.”
Lester is up for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical alongside fellow stage stars Ruthie Ann Miles, Bonnie Milligan, NaTasha Yvette Williams and Betsy Wolfe. The 2023 Tonys will be broadcast live from New York City on June 11, 2023, via CBS.
Scroll below to get to know the Tony-nominated starlet: