Why Pineapple Is The Secret Weapon For Broadway Actors

Tony Award-winning Broadway actress Stephanie J. Block is best known for portraying Star in "The Cher Show," Elphaba in "Wicked," and Liza Minnelli in "The Boy From Oz." Block, a Broadway veteran who stuns audiences with her pitch-perfect vocals night after night, is back on Broadway in the production of "Into the Woods," playing the Baker's Wife. But as any singer knows, producing sweet music day in and day out takes a toll on the vocal cords.

Much like an athlete must fuel their body for peak performance, Block, being the dedicated professional she is, puts great thought and care into her eating routine and how she soothes her hard-working pipes. According to the Nola School of Music, it's important for singers to avoid certain foods to improve vocal health. This list includes acidic and fried foods that can cause acid reflux to rise to the throat, dairy products and processed sugars that can produce mucus, and carbonated drinks that can produce gas.

In an interview with Grub Street, Block shared four typical days of eating while she is performing on Broadway. Like her many co-stars, Block has to work hard to make sure she's fueled for 2-show days. Some of her diet staples include a post-show potato, in any form — chips, roasted, salad — a pre-matinee protein drink filled with calcium and magnesium for fuel, and a quad espresso the morning of double-show days. But above all, to ensure her vocal cords are ready for the next day, Block swears by a certain tropical fruit to reduce inflammation: pineapple.

A pineapple a day

Vocal artists swear by a variety of throat-soothing remedies: warm lemon water with honey, steam, special teas, and lozenges. The aim of each of these methodologies is to hydrate and reduce inflammation in the throat. But Stephanie J. Block opts for eating pineapple to bring down the swelling in her vocal cords and to balance the acidity in her system, she told Grub Street.

According to Healthline, studies show "[pineapples] contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes such as bromelain that may collectively improve immunity and reduce inflammation." Oddly, though pineapple is considered acidic on the pH scale, some experts cited by Healthline also believe that the yellow-colored fruit has an alkalizing effect as the body digests it. Scientists specifically attribute this positive result for peformers to the bromelain enzyme.

The morning of a show day, Block eats a side of pineapple with her breakfast of "hash with eggs, sausage, potatoes, and shredded sharp cheddar cheese." Notably, it's recommended that vocalists avoid dairy products like cheese, but Block doesn't seem too bothered by it. Although she acknowledges that this part of her routine runs counter to common advice, she simply says, "It is what it is."

Her after-show snack also includes pineapple, with some raspberries and buttered toast, and pineapple appears again in her breakfast the next morning. Needless to say, the tropical fruit carries its weight and is a true essential in Block's routine.