A late congratulations, since A BRONX TALE marks your Broadway debut!! What was that moment like when you first stepped out on the Longacre stage in front of an audience?
It was truly a dream come true. I had been thinking about it since I was 10 years old, so it was almost surreal. And it was a series of "first moments"; the first time on the stage during tech, the first preview, and of course opening night. It's everything I dreamed it would be and more.
How did you get your start in theater?
Well I was Wilbur in my elementary school production of Charlottes Web, but it wasn't until 6th grade that I realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I did a play called Front Street. It's about an Italian American family in Hartford, CT. My sister was played by Domenica Cameron Scorsese, Martin Scorsese's daughter, who was in college at Wesleyan University at the time. Back stage, her and Dan Adler who played my brother, began to teach me about the business and I was hooked. I did my first union shows in high school when I interned for the River Rep company at the Ivoryton Playhouse.
In A BRONX TALE you play JoJo the Whale, one of Sonny's gang members. You get to eat pizza and cannolis on stage each night! What could be better!? What is currently your favorite moment in the show?
It's not a bad gig, getting to eat on stage. Sometimes, on two Show days, I won't even buy lunch or dinner because I'm full from my stage food. There are so many moments I love in the show. I love Roll Em because I think it perfectly captures the scene from the movie, in musical theater form. And I actually share my pizza with Eddie Mush while we are in the bathroom.
Had you seen the movie or Chazz's solo production of A BRONX TALE prior to auditioning or starting rehearsals? If so, how did that affect the way you prepared for auditioning and actually working on the show?
I had seen the movie, but I definitely rewatched it when the audition came along. It helped to get a feel for the world. Working on a musical is totally different from film so you don't try to recreate it, but it definitely set the tone. Chazz actually arranged for us to see his one man show when he did it in Atlantic City during rehearsals. That was amazing. Hearing the story from the source and seeing his passion was very inspiring.
What drew you to the project before Broadway, and what was the audition process like?
I mean, what didn't draw me to this project! It is an amazing story, with an all star creative team, at a prestigious regional theater (Paper Mill Playhouse), with the hope of a Broadway future. It's a dream job. Plus I knew I was a good fit for this part. I went through 5 rounds of auditions including a harmonizing round, a dance call, and an audition for the entire creative team. It was almost three weeks from my first audition to booking it.
You were also a member of the Papermill Playhouse cast of A BRONX TALE. Do you mind explaining the process of transferring from Papermill to Broadway?
My experience wasn't much of a process. We ended our run at Paper Mill in March. Then I moved on to the next project. I did a couple TV gigs and a feature film. The show was actually announced as transferring to Broadway before i knew if I was going with it. After a week or so of my manager telling me to calm down and sit tight, i got the offer to go to Broadway. Rehearsals started up in September.
This creative team is led by some of the greats, Robert DiNiro, Chazz Palmiteri, Sergio Trujillo, and Alan Menken. Have they given you any pieces of advice while working on A BRONX TALE that continuously stick out in your mind?
So many greats. There is the amazing Jerry Zak's who co directed with Bob as well. You learn so much just by being around these greats and watching how they work and just act as people. Despite all of his success, Chazz is one of the kindest most generous people I've met. I think there are lessons to be gleaned just by that behavior. One thing that Jerry says a lot is "keep your humor". I think it's a good mantra. A reminder to remain positive and supportive and happy even through hard times. I feel like I've learned so much from this experience that it's hard to boil down. From Bob De Niro I learned it's more insulting to slap someone than punch them. Just so many lessons.
Are there any pre-show rituals that either you or the cast do on a nightly basis?
Hudson, who plays Young C, goes around giving the whole cast hugs and singing a "before show hugs" song he made up. That's the only nightly pre show ritual I can think of. I spin each way to make sure that move is there, do the twist a bit, and I'm ready to go.
This show has some catchy tunes!! Which song from A BRONX TALE gets stuck in your head the most?
It's a tie between "I Like It" and "One Of The Great Ones"
You've had a bunch of notable guests at the show already! Who has been your favorite guest at the show so far?
It's so incredible to meet these icons. It's an honor to meet them all, but getting a big hug from Patti LuPone was pretty special. She said she was jealous that I got to eat pizza on stage. She couldn't have been sweeter.
You have also done some television, do you prefer doing theater versus television or visa-versa?
I just love working. There are similarities and differences between the mediums and I honestly love it all.
What was the first show you saw live?
Les Miserables on Broadway. I was about 10.
What's your favorite show?
Oh so many. I love Hairspray. I got to play Edna once regionally and would love to do it again.
Oh so many, lol. Probably lasagna or prime rib. Chazz also has this mushroom ravioli with black truffle cream sauce at his restaurant that is to die for.
Favorite cast recording / album?
I'll go with Jesus Christ Super Star, cause I used to jump around my parents living room, singing along to the record.
Favorite memory of doing A BRONX TALE thus far?
So many memories from this experience. I'd say my favorite has to be the time we were at Chazz's house for Sunday dinner, and Alan Menken sat down at the piano and played and sang us a private concert of his greatest hits for like half an hour. As far as doing the show, every night being on Broadway is a great memory.
Memorable stage door experience?
The first time coming out and being asked for pictures and autographs is pretty surreal. The fans of this show are all so great so it's nice meeting everyone. My favorite is when I get a loud wise guy "eeeh" from the crowd. That's fun.
Lastly, why should audiences come see A BRONX TALE?
Because it's a beautiful story with universal themes. As a lyric in the show says "it's the kind of tale that makes you laugh and cry".
To get tickets to A BRONX TALE on Broadway visit http://abronxtalethemusical.com/.
CHRISTIAN BORLE: Borle's performance as Marvin in the revival of Falsettos wasn't just the highlight of my theatre-going year, it's the performance of his career. He embodies Marvin's neurotic and lovable sides perfectly. His chemistry with Andrew Rannells is explosively tender. His chemistry with Anthony Rosenthal is heart-burstingly real. He's exposing his vulnerability every night at the Kerr. As an actor most known for comedy, (his well-deserved Tony Awards for Something Rotten! and Peter and the Starcatcher are proof) it's comforting and thrilling to know that this man truly is capable of anything. – Hayley Goldstein
STEPHANIE J. BLOCK: The 2016 revival of William Finn's Falsettos is abundant with fantastic casting. One performance that blew me out of the water was Stephanie J. Block as the emotionally distraught housewife Trina. As Trina, Block plays a character with a lot of layers to unravel and she does it effortlessly. She constantly captures the audience throughout the production, but her most noteworthy number in the show is no question "I'm Breaking Down," the song depicting Trina's unraveling mind. Every night her performance brings down the house and it's easy to see why.
– Gigi Gervais
ALEX BRIGHTMAN: Alex Brightman's performance in School of Rock was quite possibly my favorite of 2016. His portrayal of Dewey Finn wasn't a carbon copy of Jack Black, and it was both hilarious and invigorating to experience. The amount of energy he had night after night still astounds me to this day. Alex and School of Rock proved to me that there's room for everyone onstage.
– Rachel Schiff
WILL CHASE: Tony-nominee Will Chase took on the role of Shakespeare in the hit musical comedy Something Rotten! this past summer, succeeding Tony-winner Christian Borle. Chase was no stranger to this role; he originated the role in the first readings. Chase portrayed Shakespeare (or, Chasespeare, if you will) as a sexy, narcissistic, insecure, and fun rockstar. All six times I saw him, he looked like he was having the time of his life on stage, and his energy poured into the audience every single time. His performance was also some sort of master class. I learned so much about comedic acting just by watching him. The funniest part of his performance comes in the second act when he disguises himself in a fat suit and beard as “Toby Belch,” (a humble actor from York). His Toby was the most animated I’ve ever seen, complete with belly rubs and hilarious facial expressions making the character stand out on his own, which was a unique way to experience the show! Seeing him in Something Rotten! was one of the biggest highlights of my summer as well my theatre-going experiences. - Judy Muller
CARMEN CUSACK: I first saw Carmen Cusack perform back in April and it was one of the most moving performances I've ever seen. I had only heard of her when she was in Wicked a while back. I had no idea she was such a talent, and would soon become my favorite Broadway actress. Bright Star showcased her beautiful voice and fabulous acting chops to the best of their ability. She is so humble and kind on top of her indescribable talent. She was a force to be reckoned with in 2016, and she has so many more wonderful performances in her future. – Lauren Ashbrook
CYNTHIA ERIVO: After 64 Broadway shows I felt I had seen the best The Great White Way could produce, that is until Jan 2016, when Cynthia Erivo graced the stage. Her performance as Celie in The Color Purple left me both grinning from ear to ear and wiping snot and tears from my face. This petite powerhouse has more emotional depth to her performance than anything I have ever witnessed. She truly is a force that can't be matched. – David Jonathan Pearce
JOSH GRISETTI: After getting standing ovations night after night in Enter Laughing at the York Theatre (in addition to several other Off-Broadway credits), then finally making his Broadway debut in It Shoulda Been You! in 2015, Josh Grisetti returned to Broadway this summer to star as poet and prestigious playwright Nigel Bottom in the hit musical Something Rotten!. Grisetti has been receiving rave reviews for his performance as the quirky, lovable younger brother in the show, with audience members and critics alike calling him adorably funny and lovably awkward while also complimenting his powerful voice and charming personality. He will close out the show on January 1st before taking it on the road for the next year with co-stars Rob McClure and Adam Pascal. Unfortunately, after the tour he will be taking a break from Broadway to move to Los Angeles and work in the film/TV industry, but be sure to keep an eye out for him as I’m sure he will succeed in anything he does! - Lucianne Paladino
JOSH GROBAN: Groban’s singing career has been largely formed around his purely angelic voice being applied to deeply moving, often heart-wrenching, songs to gorgeous effect. In Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, Groban channels that same natural vocal uplift as the disconnected and despondent character of Pierre. The resulting vocal characterization is searing and unforgettable – in particular "Dust and Ashes" will be burned into my mind and heart for a long time to come. Groban is actually in the show for a comparatively short amount of time; however, he is in the playing space nearly every minute of both acts and it is wonderful to see the work he is doing as an observer to the action. Whenever I looked to his spot by the pit piano, he was fully but unobtrusively in character, subtle body language quirks and all. As a performer myself, I know that having extended time in view of the audience but not part of the action is one of trickiest acting challenges and it was a pleasure to see him tackle it so beautifully. – Nicole Bournas-Ney
CHRIS JACKSON: The moment he stepped into the light Jackson owned every inch of that stage. My jaw may have hit the floor. Seeing him holding the stage, commanding the focus against all of his extremely talented cast-mates; he was a stand-out. What set his performance apart from a truly incredible cast was the sheer physicality and energy he brought to the role. He moved with such purpose, and with such energy that made you believe George Washington was as unstoppable as a freight train. I believed every moment, from the height of his frustration during the war to his wistful desire to go home even if it meant leaving his country in someone else's hands. If that wasn't a best performance of 2016, I don't know what is. – Chelsea MacKay
ROB MCCLURE: Rob McClure as Nick Bottom is one of the most incredible Broadway performances I have ever seen, period. Out of all of the replacement cast in Something Rotten!, he is my absolute favorite. Rob brings something special to the show and to the character. His interpretation of Nick actually made me feel sympathetic towards Nick and understand why he is making the decisions he is making throughout the show. Not only that, but Rob is an incredible character actor. I love his body language and his mannerisms. The smallest movement can have me laughing hysterically. Something Rotten! has been a show that I go to when I need to escape for a bit and laugh, and Rob's performance is the perfect remedy to a bad day. I absolutely adore him. - Jessi Rose
ADAM PASCAL: Having any original RENT cast member back on Broadway is always a treat...especially when it's a role they're perfect for! Adam Pascal as William Shakespeare in Something Rotten! is a match made in heaven and we're so lucky to have experienced it in 2016. His voice shines in the role and he has a chance to expose his comedic side as Shakespeare portraying Toby Belch. And no one is exaggerating the fawning and screams as Adam takes the stage in "Will Power" and I was so happy to join them. – Hannah May
JENNIFER SIMARD: One of the most stand-out performances for 2016 for me was Jennifer Simard as Sister Mary Downey in Disaster! Simard is hilarious as the gambling-addicted nun. Her solo song "Never Can Say Goodbye" completely stopped the show. But, the most significant part of her performance is the lasting impact that she has had on the Broadway community. Her incredible performance earned Disaster! its only Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress, which in my opinion was very deserved. She made history when Playbill decided to livestream her number. It has been incredible to see this kind, humble and extremely talented woman get the recognition and adoration that she deserves. I am really looking forward to seeing her in Hello, Dolly! next season, and her performance is one that I am anticipating the most. - Jessi Rose
EMILY SKEGGS: For a while, I doubted my abilities in theatre. But ever since I saw Fun Home, I have never stopped seeing musicals. Emily Skeggs is one of the most talented and passionate performers I have ever seen in my life. Watching her perform on stage was such a surreal experience. I was in awe of her passion on the stage, and because of her, I can say I was inspired to bring theater back into my life. – Becca Rose
LUCAS STEELE: Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 had a long, successful road to Broadway. Several cast members stuck with the production from the Off-Broadway Ars Nova in 2012 through to the Great White Way debut in November, 2016. Lucas Steele has played the role of Anatole, 19th century Russia’s bad boy, since the very beginning. Anatole has always been a larger than life character and Steele measures up beautifully. His charm does the impossible by winning over the audience despite his antagonistic tendencies. Once in a blue moon does an actor come along that demands attention and keeps it, even when the focus should be elsewhere. Steele has a magnetic power that ensures you simply cannot look away. His phenomenal tenor voice will surprise you and draw you in instantly. If Josh Groban, the wonderful score by Dave Malloy, or the promise of vodka and dumplings somehow don’t convince you to see the show, perhaps Lucas Steele can get you to reconsider. – Harley Ann Kulp
TRACIE THOMS: In a show with a cast of seven people, every person needs to prove that they’re supposed to be on that stage. Tracie Thoms, currently playing Dr. Charlotte in the teeny tiny cast of Falsettos, proves herself worthy in seconds. Her character exists only in the second act, but she gives a memorable and moving performance that stays with you long after you leave the theater. She easily portrays a range from pure unbridled joy to incredible sorrow. And that voice. Her riffing and belts bring life to William Finn’s incredible score. With complex character choices and a killer voice to match, Tracie Thoms in Falsettos is not a performance to miss. - Riley Hubby
BOBBY CONTE THORNTON: I’ve only been to two places in the Bronx: Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Zoo. On a whim one Saturday afternoon, I bought a ticket to the new Broadway musical, A Bronx Tale. By the end of the show, I was so incredibly moved by the story that I felt like the Bronx was a place I had been to time and time again. Leading the production and making his Broadway debut as Calogero in A Bronx Tale is Bobby Conte Thornton who gives a stand-out performance in not only this cast, but this season. His energy, compassion, and charm allows for a close connection to the character. With killer looks and the voice to match, the 24-year-old is on his way to becoming a Broadway star. – Laura Furlipa
RACHEL TUCKER: Many have traveled to OZ and dawned the green as the title role of Elphaba in Wicked. From September of 2015 to July of 2016, Rachel Tucker came to Broadway from being the longest running Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked. I was lucky enough to see Tucker’s first and last performances on Broadway and she will forever be my favorite Elphie. Her voice, her kindness and her fierceness that she brings to the role is something that is going to be etched in my mind forever! “Though she be but little she is fierce,” perfectly describes Tucker because she is a powerhouse. If you are lucky enough to catch her on the West End, do so! If not, do yourself a favor and YouTube “Rachel Tucker” because you will be just as amazed as I was the first, and three other times I saw her on Broadway! - Laura Furlipa
BRANDON URANOWITZ: As a longtime fan of the original production of Falsettos, the revival was my most anticipated show of the season. When I heard about the revival cast, I was so excited, but I was definitely not expecting Brandon Uranowitz to be the standout. His performance as Mendel is the one of the most nuanced performances I've seen in all my years. He is deserving of all the praise. To me, he steals every scene he is in and brings something so beautiful of his own to the character of Mendel that is just so remarkable I can't even put my finger on it. – Laura Brown
Thanks to the help of many dedicated Broadway fans, we have been able to create a place where you can find all the types of Themed Show Drinks! This includes special theatrical events, Broadway shows and touring companies. Cheers!
(more will be added to the list, as we receive them!)
- Agrabah Marketplace: Gin, Cucumber, Melon, Mint Syrup, Lime, Tonic
- Desert Bloom: Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Cardamom-Rose Syrup, Lemon, Perchaud's Bitters, Seltzer
- Whole New World: Rye, Frangelico, Cinnamon-Honey Syrup, Fig Jam, Lemon, Orange Flower Water, Ginger Ale
- Prince Ali's Fabulous Tea: Iced Tea, Honey-Mint Syrup, Ginger Ale
- Genie's Lamplight Lemonade: Lemonade, Cherry-Pomegranate Syrup, Seltzer
BOMBSHELL IN CONCERT
- Let Me Be Your Star Sangria: White Wine Sangria
-Bombshell Appletini: Vodka, Green-Apple Pucker, and Lemon-Lime Soda
- The "SMASH": Malibu Rum, Strawberry Pucker, Sierra Mist, and Club Soda
- Marilyn Margarita: Tequila, Triple Sec, and Sierra Mist
- The Joe DiMaggio: Bacardi Rum, Strawberry Pucker, and Lemon-Lime Soda
THE BOOK OF MORMON
- The Orlando: Champagne mixed with Raspberry Liqueur
- Spooky Mormon Hell: Vodka and Peach Schnapps with Cranberry and Orange Juice
- The Purr-fect Apple-tini: Absolut Vodka, Green Apple Pucker and Sierra Mist
- Jellicle Juice: Malibu Rum, Strawberry Pucker, Sierra Mist
- Kitty Cosmo: Absolut Vodka, Triple Sec and Cranberry Juice
- Memory Margarita / Daiquiri: Sauza Tequila, Triple Sec and Lemon/Lime Slushy // Bacardi Rum and Strawberry Slushy
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
- Cosmo on the Roof: Vodka, Triple Sec, Cranberry Juice, Splash of Lime Juice, served over ice
- J.M. Barrie Fizz: Absolut Vodka, Blueberry and Lemon Monin, Triple Sec, Sierra Mist
- Second Star on the Right: Bacardi Rum, Pineapple Monin, Triple Sec, Sierra Mist, Orange Juice
- Hook's Right Hook: Malibu Rum Pineapple Monin, Triple Sec, Cranberry Juice
- Neverland Margartia: Tequila, Triple Sec, Frozen Lime Slush
- Fizz: Coconut Rum, Pineapple, Sprite, and a splash of Cranberry
- Margarita: Made with Jose Cuervo
- Mimosa: Brut, Pineapple
- Rusty Coffin Nail: Dewars, Drambuie
HAMILTON: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL
- Founder's Fizz: Beefeater Gin, Lemon Juice, Sugar and Soda Water
- Hamiltini: Hamilton Small Batch Vodka [made in NY], Sour Apple Liqueur and Sierra Mist
- Burrbon Manhattan: Jack Daniels, Sweet Vermouth, Angostura Bitters
- Dueling Sangrias: A Red or White Wine Sangria
- Blue Skies: Gin, Coconut-Pea Flower Syrup, Soda, Thai Spiced Bitters
- Steppin' Out: Bourbon, Port, Ginger Liqueur, Chocolate Bitters, Luxardo Cherry
- Heatwave: Tequila, Strawberry, Jalapeno, Lime, Cilantro Infused Agave, Smoked Sea Salt
- Drink With Me: New Amsterdam Red Berry Vodka, Club Soda and a Splash of Cranberry Juice
- Les Fizz: Chardonnay, Sierra Mist, Cranberry Juice
- Pretty Baby: Vodka, St. Germain, Elderflower Liqueur, Fresh Honey-Thyme Lemonade
- Heavenly Touch: Rum, Aperol Liqueur, Fresh Lime, Basil Syrup, Rhubarb Bitters, Ginger Ale
- Sweet Surrender: Amaretto, Bourbon, Fresh Lemon, Fresh Orange, Chocolate Bitters
KINKY BOOTS (TOUR)
- Kinky Summer Breeze: Pineapple Infused Vodka, Sierra Mist, and a splash of Orange Juice, Garnished with a lime.
ON YOUR FEET!
- On Your Feet-Arita: Sauza Tequila, Triple Sec, Sour Mix, Club Soda
- Conga-Tini: Absolut Vodka, Sour Apple Pucker, Sierra Mist
- Live For Loving Sangria: Red Wine Sangria
- Bojito Is Gonna Get You: Botran Rum and Brain Freeze Mojito Mix
- Don't Want to Lose You: Malibu Rum, Strawberry Pucker and Sierra Mist
SCHOOL OF ROCK
- Mt. Rock: Kentucky Bourbon, Ginger Ale, Grenadine
- Horace Green: Citron Vodka, Apple Pucker, Sweet and Sour Blend
- The Bloody Bard: Vodka, Tomato Juice, Fresh Lemon, Rosemary, Horseradish, Black Pepper
- Middle Ages Melody: Gin, Honey-Chamomile Syrup, Fresh Lemon, Grapefruit Bitters
- Bottoms Up!: Rum, Apricot Liqueur, Star Anise Syrup, Orange Juice, Ginger Ale, Angostura Bitters
- Spring and Summer: A Red of White Wine Sangria
- Totally F****d: Absolut Vodka, Green Apple Pucker, Sierra Mist, Blah Blah Blah
- Purple Summer: Beefeater Gin, Triple sec, Blackberry Monin, Sierra Mist
- The Bitch of Living: Bacardi Rum, Strawberry Pucker, Sierra Mist
- Ozmopolitan: Absolut Vodka, Green Apple Pucker, Sierra Mist
- Glozmopolitan: Absolut Razz, Strawberry Pucker and Sierra Mist
- Flying Monkey Punch: Malibu Rum, Strawberry Pucker and Sierra Mist
It’s all about keeping the secrets these days. Whether it be about Harry Potter or Orange is the New Black, no one wants spoilers to be revealed. Off-Broadway’s biggest secret is White Rabbit Red Rabbit at the Westside Theatre right on 43rd Street in New York City. Well, what is it? There’s no answer for that until you’ve witnessed it. The audience doesn’t know, the actor doesn’t know. Let’s say it’s a leap into the rabbit hole. On August 1st, Ramin Karimloo (Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera), became the actor to take on the challenge of Iranian writer, Nassim Soleimanpour’s play, White Rabbit Red Rabbit.
Karimloo knew nothing of what he was about to perform, until he retrieved the script from an manila envelope on-stage in front of 233 audience members in attendance. The words written on the page would be a complete surprise to both parties in the room. Although, earlier in the day on his social media pages, Karimloo hinted that he would need to be able to impersonate an Ostrich. As the play began, Karimloo seemed to effortlessly create a positive energy in the room, warming up to the crowd, as they did the same.
Without giving away details of what occurs on-stage, Karimloo had the audience laughing, cheering; responding to imitations, lines, and side-comments. There were also moments of suspense and seriousness, where all ears in the intimate theatre were listening to each and every detail. He was able to paint the picture of Soleimanpour’s sentences; delivering the piece with craft, while also having the ability to break script when called for.
The 75-minute piece gave the opportunity for Karimloo and the audience to become present. By the end, the entire room had just experienced a story which can never be experienced in the same way again. Soon enough, the audience was instructed to exit the theatre, and that was the conclusion of White Rabbit Red Rabbit. In summary, an unforgettable theater event.
White Rabbit Red Rabbit is an immersive piece of work that is unlike any other theater performance in New York City.
For more on White Rabbit Red Rabbit, visit http://whiterabbitredrabbit.com/.
With the 70th Annual Tony Awards only a week away, Broadway enthusiasts have been buzzing about one of the most praised theatre seasons in many years. Musicals and plays this season have made groundbreaking impacts in diversity and accessibility to theatre for all. Alas, as one of the best Broadway seasons, it also seems to be one of the toughest seasons, especially for the Tony Awards. Across Broadway this year there are an array of performances all deserving of award nominations, but just not enough space in each respective category. This unfortunately means that shows are left out, which could bring them closer to a closing notice and fan-bases become disappointed when their favorite theatrical experience of the season is not recognized. Although, the dedicated fans of these shows, the performers’ love for what they do, and the connection across the theatre community is the most important part. On June 12th, that community will celebrate the accomplishments of not just those nominated, but all who are in this community, whether it be on-stage or off. Since fans are not the decision-makers in the Tony Award race, we asked fans their reactions the theatre they saw this season.
On The Color Purple
“I've seen a lot of shows in my day, but The Color Purple was the very best performance I've ever seen. Cynthia Erivo was so moving, I literally couldn't stop crying when it was over. Bravo!”
- Fran Favin Weiskopf
“Cynthia Erivo's 11th hour performance of "I'm Here," in The Color Purple was life changing for me. I saw the show back in January and still today there is not a day that goes by that I don't reflect on the emotional performance she gave. When things are good, I belt the song, and when times are tough, I sing it through a tear streaked face. While others have done this song justice, Cynthia takes it to a brand new level with a performance that is an emotional roller coaster.”
- David Jonathan Pearce
“Leslie Odom Jr.'s Aaron Burr in Hamilton is perfection. His performance is like watching a pot boil, starts off slow and steady, steadily getting more agitated, until it boils over. He completely changes by the end. I've never seen a performance so transformative and exhilarating. His crazy eyed look in "the room where it happens" is scary and you know that a switch has turned on. I love everyone in the category, but I think he deserves the Tony.” - Ariana Klarfeld
"Leslie Odom Jr. gave possibly the best performance I've ever witnessed. He's a small guy, but he commands the stage in a way, & with an energy, the mesmerizes the audience" - Lisa Tricarico
“Leslie Odom Jr. Seeing him as Burr was so much like Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. I laughed with him when he'd keep coming back at the beginning of songs "Do you BELIEVE this sh*t?!" lol, I cried with him when he sang about Fatherhood & his realization. His performances echoed the same feelings I had when Judas sang his numbers in JCS. I was captivated & filled with compassion.” – Patrice Marion
On Fiddler on the Roof
"Danny Burstein's Tevye made me cry!" - Hayley Goldstein
On Spring Awakening
“Deaf West's Spring Awakening changed my life. I don't usually get to see Broadway shows more than once, but for this gem of a production, I had to make the trip two more times. Incredible performances from the entire cast. Brilliant direction and choreography. So much passion from everyone involved.” - Becca Parsons
“Spring Awakening was my greatest theatre experience ever. I was lucky enough to see the Deaf West production four times, including the closing night performance. The amount of tears shed over the show and my collection of every piece of merchandise the show has to offer proves how life changing and important this show is to me. A good portion of the cast follows me and chats with me on Twitter, and it is incredible to be social with many of my idols. This production also inspired me to learn ASL. Deaf West Spring Awakening is perfection!” - Val Shwalb
“I was so moved by Deaf Wests Spring Awakening. I was lucky enough to see it twice but wish that number was higher. I already loved Spring Awakening and the new cast showed me a completely new side of the story. Both times I was moved to tears by the story and acting put on stage.”- Ilana Atwater
“Michael Arden's directorial debut in the revival of Spring Awakening is unlike anything I've ever seen before. The production is honestly my favorite production I have ever seen. The choices he made and designers he hired brought even more life and another layer to an already incredible show.” – Hannah May
“Jennifer Simard's singing Nun in Disaster! gave a whole new meaning to spiritually uplifting. She took an iconic 70's character and made it wonderfully her own. Loved her performance.”
- Lisa Port Weiss
“Jennifer Simard is incredible in her break-out role. Despite Disaster!'s all-star cast, it was Jennifer's performance as Sister Mary Downy that kept me coming back for more. Jennifer's delivery was absolute perfection - she had the audience laughing hysterically with every line that she said. Not only that, but her song “Never Can Say Goodbye,” the most hilarious scene I have ever seen on a Broadway stage. Her different mannerisms with the slot machine had me crying laughing. Not only is her comedic timing spot on, but her voice is incredible. While Disaster! did not get the love that it deserved, I am so happy that Jennifer Simard is being recognized and adored by so many people. Jennifer has made history - the first time that a portion of a show has ever been legally filmed and broadcasted live was Jennifer's final "Never Can Say Goodbye" on Playbill's Facebook. The attention and love from everyone that she is getting is so deserved. I am thrilled that she was nominated and hope that she takes the win, or gets to be featured in some way at the Tony's. #PutSimardOn!” – Broadway Jessi
“Jen Simard - no other woman on Broadway made me laugh like she did & girl's got PiPES!!!! #PutSimardOn” – Patrice Marion
“When I saw Jennifer Simard in Disaster, I said that she must get a tony nomination. She stole the show!” - Jennifer Kennedy Erdody
On Bright Star
“Carman Cusack seamlessly transitions between 17 and 39 at the blink of an eye. She completely embodies Alice Murphy and is giving a brilliant performance.” - Taylor Clemons
"Carmen Cusack punches audiences in the heart with her breathtakingly beautiful performance in Bright Star" – Elizabeth Maxman
"When I first heard of Bright Star, I had little interest due to the fact it was known as a "bluegrass musical" and that is definitely not my style. I am not one to like country music at all, but after a friend told me I had to go, I finally insisted. All I can say is wow. The music is not super twangy at all and some songs contain the most wonderful melodic lines I have heard. This show is so beautiful and such the "secret gem" of Broadway. The storyline and the music are both simply and effortlessly moving. The show as a whole has personally helped improve my mood over the past month. Bright Star is led by the outstanding, Tony-nominated Carmen Cusack who gives the best performance of this season I have seen so far. Her role is so raw, tragically beautiful, and relatable to any audience member. She gives hope to anyone who may feel there is none. Despite the little coverage this show gets, I advise everyone to go see Bright Star. It has changed my outlook on life and I'd love for it to do the same for others." – Lauren Ashbrook
"I went into Bright Star not knowing anything about it; I wasn't familiar with the plot or the music. Seeing the show ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. In my opinion, a good show is one that stays with you long after you leave the theatre and that's exactly what happened when I saw Bright Star. I found myself not only humming the catchy songs but also I left with a feeling of hope and optimism. The story just has so much heart and I feel like many people are hesitant to see the show because of the music but I think everyone should give this show a chance. There is something in it that will resonate with everyone. I can't express my gratitude for this show enough." - Layla Navidi
On She Loves Me
“The cast of She Loves Me is just so, so charming.” – Andy Zhang
“Laura Benanti was angelic in She Loves Me!” – Hayley Goldstein
On School of Rock
“The incredible amount of energy, passion and talent that Alex Brightman brings to every performance of School of Rock! He took a well-loved role, kept the essence but added his own flavor and it is marvelous!!” - Hannah May
“I am a teacher who has become a little jaded but after seeing Alex Brightman in SCHOOL OF ROCK I am all about getting my "Dewey Finn" back!” - Alanna Perkovich-Smith
On Shuffle Along
“The folks over at Shuffle Along, including myself, are super excited that this little show that could crank out 10 Tony nominations. That's so crazy and we're super-duper excited.”
- Arbender Robinson (Actor in Shuffle Along)
“The choreography for Shuffle Along took me to a higher level of consciousness.”
– Hayley Goldstein
On American Psycho
“The lighting in American Psycho - The Musical is the best light show I’ve ever seen on a stage that wasn't a rock concert. And as someone who has seen hundreds of rock concerts, this blew me away!” - Patrice Marion
“The American Psycho cast is killer, pun intended. They are all so talented and really love being on stage with one another. I saw it three times and it just doesn't feel like enough. This show is so different and amazing, I wish it lasted longer, but as Benjamin Walker told me the other day, "hey it was a great run, and you just move onto the next project." – Val Shwalb
On Noises Off
“Noises Off had me laughing from beginning to end. It’s a good old-fashioned slapstick comedy and I hope wins best play revival it's truly something that had a passion behind it” – Patrick Blood
"Megan Hilty was brilliant in Noises Off -- her physcial comedy was awesome. She was so PRESENT, it was hard not to watch her even when the dialouge was happening elsewhere on stage. Really phenomenal performance!" - Lisa Tricarico
On Tuck Everlasting
“Tuck Everlasting had a short run, but I loved all the actors in it. The story has always been one of my favorites and the ensemble numbers looked great. I only wish it had run longer.” – Lilli Briezke
You can catch the 70th Annual Tony Awards on CBS, Sunday, June 12th at 8/7c.
Tuck Everlasting is the new Broadway hit that will have your heart soaring with song and dance. Broadway veteran, Carolee Carmello (Mae Tuck), is a member of the Tuck family alongside Michael Park (Angus Tuck), Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Jesse Tuck) and Robert Lenzi (Miles Tuck), when they meet an adventurous 11 year-old girl Winnie Foster (Sarah Charles Lewis). The adventure begins when Winnie discovers that the Tuck family holds the secret to everlasting life. The musical is based on the book by Natalie Babbitt and is directed by Casey Nicholaw. We talked to Carolee Carmello about her journey with Tuck Everlasting and more in our interview below! For tickets to Tuck Everlasting visit http://www.tuckeverlastingmusical.com/.
1. We heard you just had a baby! Congratulations! What has motherhood been like so far?
I love him so much it hurts. He’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
2. You recently released an album called Sing You to Sleep, where did you find inspiration to pick the songs to cover for the album?
I knew I wanted the music to be for everyone, including kids & their parents to be able to listen to together. I wanted this record to be sophisticated, because I think we should play for children the music we want them to love, not music dumbed down for them. My kids are all going to be raised listening to Stevie Wonder. This CD includes Bruno Mars, Sting, Bob Dylan and so many more.
I thought culling through the list of great songs would be hard, but it actually wasn’t. Dan (the producer) said make a list of the 20 songs you “have to sing” and then we narrowed down from there. The final twelve made themselves known pretty easily. They had to have lovely, soothing melodies, happy imagery, and I wanted them to come from a diversity of styles. And lastly, I wanted them to start at a faster tempo and little by little get slower as the album went on. An old trick from my babysitting days.
3. Did you have a favorite part about creating the album?
How easily it all went! Because everyone was so lovely and talented and on their game. From my producer Dan Watt, to the head of Yellow Sound Label, Michael Croiter, to my magnificent music director David Cook, everyone did their job happily and excellently, and there was no suffering in the process. Also, I really loved watching my husband Freddie, a trumpet player, record his stuff. He is a genius, and listening to his solos and licks are my favorite part of listening to the album.
4. We know you recorded a song with your past co-star, Jessie Muller, what was that like?
She’s the loveliest thing you can imagine. It was easy, fast and fun to record with her. And that song, “You Can Close Your Eyes,” is hands down my baby son’s favorite song on the album. Sometimes when we’re in the car and he’s fussing, it’s the only thing that will soothe him.
5. Do you have any other songs that you would have loved to record with other friends/co-stars that you would have put on the album if you could?
Looking back, I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to record, “Somewhere Out There” with Jarrod Spector, since it was originally a duet and since we were playing the writers of the song, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, together on stage every night. Mystified as to why that thought never struck me.
6. Most recently you have been keeping busy by starring as Cynthia Weil in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway. What has that experience been like since you have been doing it for quite some time now?
Now I enjoy it mostly for the people I work with. The cast and crew on this show are fantastic people, fun, smart, funny, supportive. It’s one of the happiest backstages I’ve ever worked in.
7. Now that you’re back in Beautiful after maternity leave, what was it like going back into the show?
Now it’s about balancing work and baby. And that has worked out quite nicely. I bring him with me to the theater sometimes, where he is like the mascot of the show. Everyone there is watching him grow up, and he is beloved and spoiled.
8. Many actors get asked how they keep a character fresh after performing it eight times a week for over a long period of time. So how do you keep the character fresh?
You keep it in the fridge over night. Just kidding. Life is change, and everyday something is different, the audience, the weather, perhaps the cast onstage, and I am a day older and therefore a day different. So if you’re sensitive to those changes, it helps you to be in the moment and experience everything like it’s for the first time.
9. Going back, when you found out you would be playing Cynthia Weil, what type of research did you do to prepare?
I read a few books about these writers, watched a documentary, listened to a lot of her music, did a lot of scouring the internet. And then ultimately I played the Cynthia Weil who is on the page, which is a distillation of the essence of Cynthia. It’s the Cynthia Weil in our show, so I play her like any other character in any other script I’ve worked from.
10. You were nominated for a Tony Award for your role in Beautiful, what was that moment like when you were nominated?
Everything about awards and competition in the arts makes me kinda uncomfortable.
11. How did you get your start in performing? Was there a point where you were bitten by the acting bug?
I have 9 brothers and sisters, and I realized early on that I would get attention if I sang loud, so I just kept doing it.
12. What are you going to be doing post-Beautiful?
My husband and I work opposite schedules, which is wonderful for childcare and miserable for our relationship. We tell each other we miss each other at least once a day. So I am going to enjoy him—we are still basically newlyweds, after all—and enjoy my son!
13. To close off, what has been your favorite part of your performance journey so far?
Josh Grisetti talks about "It Shoulda Been You," "Prince of Broadway" in Japan and his new book "God In My Head"
A Look Back