Comscore

Actors replaced during previews

NoName3 Profile Photo
NoName3
Broadway Star
joined:8/12/11
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/12/12 at 06:24pm
@Eric, I Saw LaChanze on Broadway and was very disappointed. I think she may very well have been ill that night, as her voice was very thin, raspy and underpowered and the performance overall was extremely subdued. It wasn't at all what friends who saw her both before and after -- who raved about her -- described. But we know that everyone sometimes just has an off night for whatever reason.

I also know someone who worked on all the Livent productions of Ragtime in a position that put him very close to Drabinski and the creative team. He told me that after they saw what Audra was doing, they made the decision to expand the part considerably. Your Daddy's Son was written expressly for her and Sarah Brown Eyes was written in order to give her some stage time in the second act. Of course this is second hand and I can't claim as fact it's all accurate.

I saw Audra twice, LaChanze, Darlesia Cearcy twice, and an understudy on Broadway and Lovena Fox twice in the last Equity tour. Except for LaChanze, I thought they were all wonderful but with different strengths and weaknesses, both vocally and dramatically. I'm sure LaChanze was just having a bad night. As I said, everyone else I know who saw her loved her, including my friend who was involved with the show.


ETA: I've revised this post several times, both for typos and a couple of brain f@rts involving the song title and the producer. Musicman, thanks for confirming my 16 year old memories.

Updated On: 12/12/12 at 06:24 PM
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/12/12 at 06:40pm
I saw LaChanze several times in LA and she was marvelous! I think you're right that she was having a bad night, NoName.

I don't know about "Your Daddy's Hands", which seems rather central to the show; it's hard for me to imagine they wouldn't have thought very early that they had to answer the question "Why did she bury her baby?"

But "Sarah Brown Eyes" was definitely added later. It doesn't even appear on the early CD, which is identified as "Songs from RAGTIME" instead of "Original Cast".
WithoutATrace Profile Photo
WithoutATrace
Broadway Legend
joined:11/27/04
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/12/12 at 07:01pm
Lisa Brescia replaced Caren Lyn Manuel during previews of THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'.
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/12/12 at 07:13pm
Righ, Sarah Brown Eyes is one of the major songs not on the concept CD (is it a concept CD? I know it was recorded while still in rehearsals), but I heard that Your Daddy's Son (I hope I got the name right, nobody else seems to have ) was one of the 6 or so songs Ahrens and Flaherty submitted when they auditioned to do the show. But could very well be wrong (I would love to officially hear who the other teams who auditioned were, and what their material was like).

At any rate, I think it was a wise decision to bring Sarah back for Sarah Brown Eyes (a beautiful song, anyway, which goes some ways to helping explain Coalhouse later on.)
musicman117 Profile Photo
musicman117
Featured Actor
joined:5/13/04
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/12/12 at 07:41pm
According to the documentary called Creating Ragtime (it was on PBS as part of Great Perfromances years ago), Your Daddy's Son was written after Audra was hired. They wanted to give her something to sing earlier in the show. So Lynn had the idea for the song and wrote the lyrics, gave them to Stephen who then wrote the melody.

The story continues to say that Stephen taught the song to Audra, she sang while he improvised an orchestration, and that is how Your Daddy's Son came to be.

It's one of my favorite theatre stories I have ever heard.

Updated On: 12/12/12 at 07:41 PM
Xman8 Profile Photo
Xman8
Understudy
joined:11/11/09
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/12/12 at 10:14pm
Dean Jones was replaced by Larry Kert in the OBC of Company.
allamarane Profile Photo
allamarane
Stand-by
joined:12/15/04
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/12/12 at 10:35pm
The Light in the Piazza recast Fabrizio throughout its pre-Broadway runs. Steven Pasquale played the role in Seattle, followed by Wayne Wilcox in Chicago and eventually Matthew Morrison on Broadway. Celia Keenan-Bolger played Clara out of town and was replaced by Kelli O'Hara, who had also been with the production since Seattle. The rest of the central cast stayed consistent.
"I know what the sunlight can be"
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 12:42am
And I thought Steven Pasquale was perfect, when I saw Light in Seattle. I seem to remember he had a movie or TV commitment that didn't allow him to continue (though I had assumed he did it in Chicago).

MusicMan, you must be right. I have that Ragtime special on VHS (it aired first on CBC before the Toronto run), but haven't seen it in at least a decade. It seems odd that they took so long to decide Sarah needed a solo earlier in the show, but it is a great story of how it was conceived.
Leadingplayer
Broadway Star
joined:5/12/03
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 03:34am
Mary Tyler Moore infamously walked out of Rose's Dilema after receivig a nasty letter from Neil Simon's wife.

Lee Remick left Agnes of God on the road.

perfectlymarvelous Profile Photo
perfectlymarvelous
Broadway Legend
joined:5/21/07
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 03:54am
Steven Pasquale couldn't get out of his Rescue Me contract to do Piazza...if I remember correctly he was offered the part after Seattle and had to turn it down. I think that happened to him with another musical as well.
notzach2
Swing
joined:5/18/09
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 04:02am
In her Chatterbox, Kelli O'Hara talks about how Steven Pasquale jokes about how Matthew Morrison has a career because of him. He has to leave Piazza before it moved to Broadway to do Rescue Me, and he had to turn down South Pacific because of another project.
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 08:49am
Tony Curtis was famously fired during the out-of-town tryout of Neil Simon's "I Oughta Be in Pictures". He was so angry that he that he left the theater at intermission and his understudy went on for the second act. He was replaced by Ron Liebman.
best12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 09:06am
I'm sure LaChanze was just having a bad night.

By your own account of her condition, I would say yes. I saw her in the show four times in Los Angeles, and she was magnificent. She got slightly better in the role each time I saw her. The only performer in the show who "grew" that way.

I thought she was much better than Audra, ultimately. I never once bought that gorgeous Julliard voice in the part of Sarah.

Back on topic ...

I know there have been many replaced in rehearsals and out of town, but during previews is another thing! It's so close to the bone. I know of very few (but some) actors replaced during previews.

Question: Was D. Jamin Bartlett brought in out of town or during previews to replace Petra in A Little Night Music?
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
DottieD'Luscia Profile Photo
DottieD'Luscia
Broadway Legend
joined:7/23/03
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 09:09am
As much as I adore Audra, I preferred LaChanze as Sarah. I saw her shortly before she left the show and I believe she was pregnant at the time with her first child.
Hey Dottie! Did your colleagues enjoy the cake even though your cat decided to sit on it? ~GuyfromGermany
newintown Profile Photo
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 09:41am
"Question: Was D. Jamin Bartlett brought in out of town or during previews to replace Petra in A Little Night Music?"

I recall reading that Garn Stephens (the original Jan from Grease) was replaced in Boston, after only one or two performances of Night Music because she was having too much difficulty with "The Miller's Son."

Supposedly a Boston recording exists with Stephens, but I've never heard it.



Updated On: 12/14/12 at 09:41 AM
justoldbill Profile Photo
justoldbill
Broadway Star
joined:10/17/07
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 08:52pm
In regards to COMPANY, Larry Kert did not assume the role of Robert during previews, but after the show had been open for some weeks. I seem to recall that when Joanne Woorley replaced Gloria DeHaven in THE PRINCE OF CENTRAL PARK, the show became known as AIN'T MISS DeHAVEN.

Well-well-well-what-do-you-think-of-that-I-have-nothing-here-to-pay-my-train-fare-with-only-large-bills-fives-and-sevens....
Updated On: 12/13/12 at 08:52 PM
roseaddams Profile Photo
roseaddams
Broadway Star
joined:6/19/06
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 09:31pm
I've heard Garn Stephens on the Boston recording -- it's almost painful. She's hopelessly lost in "The Miller's Son". I remember reading (I think it was on this board) that Len Cariou was very fond of Garn as an actress but knew she was having problems with the song, and couldn't figure out why everybody was leaving her to her own devices with it.
"You mean what was the best picture of the year or what did they pick as the best picture of the year?" - California Suite
nasty_khakis
Broadway Star
joined:3/15/07
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 10:46pm
Something about that story always confused me. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE "The Miller's Son" and it's use and placement in the show. However, Sondheim is and always was a master at writing for a specific actor and their range if he knew they were cast. Examples being "Good Thing Going" for Lonny Price and just about all of Sweeney Todd. I don't understand why he would write a song completely out of an already cast actress's range. I've heard Cariou AND Prince talk about how they loved Garn and hated to loose her. Not accusing Sondheim of sabotage but it's an unusual story.
CHOOKA2 Profile Photo
CHOOKA2
Understudy
joined:12/2/12
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/13/12 at 11:09pm
I love reading these reports even though I have never heard of most of these people, so of much more interest to me[gossip/gossip] is WHY they were replaced.
roseaddams Profile Photo
roseaddams
Broadway Star
joined:6/19/06
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/14/12 at 02:31pm
It's not really the range of the song that tripped her up, though. I'm listening to it now, and she hits the notes fine and sounds pretty good, if a bit ragged in the beginning. But when the song speeds up, ("It's a wink and a wiggle and a giggle in the grass...") she doesn't know the tempo and sings it too fast and has to wait for the orchestra to catch up. In fact, the same thing happens in all three sped-up verses. She's not as much of a train wreck as I remember. The only major problem, at least on that night, is she sings much of it way faster than the orchestra and she does get tripped up trying to find her cues. Also there are times when she's a little flat, but, y'know, who among us hasn't gone flat once in a while?

But she does get good audience reaction -- there are a few genuine laughs and she got a very good hand at the end. I also noticed there was a very prominent timpani or bass drum hitting the two beats after each "Meanwhile" along with the woodwinds; I'm guessing Tunick or Sondheim added them into the orchestration to help Garn get a better sense of the timing.
"You mean what was the best picture of the year or what did they pick as the best picture of the year?" - California Suite
Jon
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/04
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/14/12 at 05:35pm
The actor cast as the doctor in Sondheim's PASSION was replaced by Tom Aldredge during previews. Apparently, the original actor had an odd speaking voice and was getting laughs during serious scenes (meaning every scene...)
justoldbill Profile Photo
justoldbill
Broadway Star
joined:10/17/07
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/14/12 at 09:41pm
Gabriel Dell assumed the role of Comptroller Schub in ANYONE CAN WHISTLE upon the death of Henry Lascoe.
Well-well-well-what-do-you-think-of-that-I-have-nothing-here-to-pay-my-train-fare-with-only-large-bills-fives-and-sevens....
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/15/12 at 10:23pm
Dottie did she leave the show in LA? Because by the time that cast went to Vancouver for a sit down of 6 months or so (at the gorgeous, nwly built Ford Theatre there--now the Center), she was in it for the full thing. Without looking at the program, I'm not sure who the other leads were though I'm nearly positive Kingsley Leggs was Coalhouse and I know John Rubinstein was Tateh (just because as a teen I was so excited to see "Pippin" in the show lol).
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/15/12 at 10:33pm
At any rate, I think it was a wise decision to bring Sarah back for Sarah Brown Eyes (a beautiful song, anyway, which goes some ways to helping explain Coalhouse later on.)

I don't disagree about the quality of the song, but its placement in Act II just screams, "We killed off a really popular character/singer in Act I and we know you all want to see her again."

Just one more thing to remind us that nothing really happens in the plot between the funeral and "He Wanted to Say"/"Let Them Hear You", which sinks Act II and, ultimately, alas, keeps a nearly great show from being truly great.

Updated On: 12/15/12 at 10:33 PM
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/15/12 at 11:36pm
I see that, but partially disagree. I think it does make Coalhouse's actions more sympathetic because it reminds us *why* he's doing this.
nobodyhome Profile Photo
nobodyhome
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
Actors replaced during previews
Posted: 12/16/12 at 05:47am
"Josie deGuzman was replaced in NICK & NORA during previews, which then allowed her to be available to replace Carolyn Mignini in GUYS AND DOLLS -- so for her getting fired was a godsend!"

Well, I don't think Josie de Guzman getting fired mattered much one way or the other. Nick and Nora closed Dec. 15, 1991. Even if she hadn't been fired, the closing of Nick & Nora would have given her time to be cast in the ensemble and as Sarah understudy in the Guys and Dolls revival, which started previews on March 16, 1992. I mean, after all, Faith Prince did not get fired from Nick & Nora, and she had no trouble being ready to be Adelaide from the beginning of Guys and Dolls rehearsals.

"Mantello appears to enjoy replacing actors .... When Love! Valour! Compassion! moved from MTC to Broadway, Anthony Heald was in Stephen Spinella's role (Spinella may have had a conflict)."

I believe Spinella did have a conflict with a movie. In addition, he went on to do the Love! Valour! Compassion! movie directed by Mantello, so it certainly wouldn't seem that Mantello wanted him replaced for the Broadway transfer.

"I recall reading that Garn Stephens (the original Jan from Grease) was replaced in Boston, after only one or two performances of Night Music because she was having too much difficulty with 'The Miller's Son.'"

I think Stephens wasn't replaced till at least midway through the Boston run. Don't have a date on it, but based on what has been said by the various people involved and around, I think it was later. Not to mention that it was Stephens who was in the Hirschfeld.

2
Page: