New understudy for Great Comet of 1812

ModernMillie3
Chorus Member
joined:9/23/13
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/16/13 at 06:30pm
The new understudy for Anatole is Josh Canfield. He is wonderful in the part and just joined the cast on October 12th. I guess Azudi Onyejekwe was just filling in temporarily until they found someone more suited to the role. I know a lot of people on here said he just wasn't right for the part, for whatever reason. He has an incredible voice and excellent chemistry with everyone. It seems Lucas Steele is out most of the time. Does anyone know why?
siny
Broadway Star
joined:2/8/07
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 12:37am
I am glad they have a new understudy. Azudi Onyejekwe is very talented but he is all wrong for the part. Hopefully he'll find something more suitable for him. I wonder why they cast him in the first place - it's not like there is a shortage of actors who look the part.

Updated On: 10/17/13 at 12:37 AM
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 12:50am
I didn't see him go on, but what made him wrong for the part?
siny
Broadway Star
joined:2/8/07
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 01:10am
Google him and tell me if he looks anything like Anatole is supposed to look. And before anyone says that looks don't matter, imagine if they cast a female equivalent of him in the part of Natasha. Would the show still work ?
BwayTday
Broadway Legend
joined:6/2/09
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 01:24am
I'm sorry but is there anything else said about Anatole's appearance other than "Anatole is hot"? Azudi isn't exactly homely.




Updated On: 10/17/13 at 01:24 AM
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 01:39am
Exactly. If it's a physical thing, then I don't get it. Lucas Steele isn't my idea of "hot," but he works fine. He came off as way too effeminate to make me believe that there was any sort of actual connection there and his random outbursts of screeching didn't help win that case.

I just don't see why he was a bad fit? They don't mention anything in the script about it. And I think the non-traditional casting is kind of awesome.
chrisampm2
Broadway Star
joined:5/26/07
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 01:43am
I saw Azudi Onyejekwe. His race wasn't a problem. He just didn't make much of an impression. The biggest issue was that his voice didn't seem a good match for the material.
ModernMillie3
Chorus Member
joined:9/23/13
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 01:49am
Well, he was just a temporary replacement, he wasn't going to be the understudy long term. They just needed a more permanent understudy since Lucas Steele doesn't seem to do the part more than a couple times a week. Josh Canfield was great, looked and sounded like Neil Patrick Harris but a much, much better singer. Azudi Onyejekwe was in the ensemble but he didn't make much of an impression.
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 08:07am

Hmm. This guy doesn't fit in my head as Anatole, either. Lucas Steele is very talented and does tremendously fun things with the role, but physically he's just... not the dominating, seductive, handsome rogue the show describes. He's a Zac Efron type, and Anatole should be a Joe Manganiello type. If we're talking types. Anyway, that's what I'd like to see, but it looks like the producers have found their mold.

As Ellen says, "Aaaaaaaaaaanyway..."
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GilmoreGirlO2
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/05
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 10:05am
I saw Azudi Onyejekwe in the role this past summer and loved him in it. In fact, I thought he suited the role so well that I then had a hard time picturing Lucas Steele in the role.

And, yes, the only thing that is said about Anatoleís looks is that he is hot. I thought Azudi fit that quite well. He had a dangerous charm that I thought was perfect for Anatole. Made absolute sense to me that Natasha would be enchanted with him.

And, I agree Ė Josh Canfield (from the pictures I can find online) doesnít fit my idea of Anatole, either. Not in terms of attractiveness - they are all good-looking guys Ė but, as growl said, Canfield and Steele donít seem to have the dominant, seductive appeal I feel an Anatole needs. However, seeing the show at the end of the month and am excited to see either in the part and would be happy to be proved wrong!

And before anyone says that looks don't matter, imagine if they cast a female equivalent of him in the part of Natasha. Would the show still work ?

If you are asking what if a black actress was a cast as Natasha, then, in answer to your question, yes, I think the show would still work perfectly fine. The actors/actresses in the current cast are all different races anyway. If they were looking for physical authenticity, they would have only cast actors who look Russian. Having actors of different race (and, even, actors of different race playing siblings) does not take anything away from the show for me.
neonlightsxo
Broadway Star
joined:7/29/08
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 11:39am
Why is Lucas Steele out so often?
siny
Broadway Star
joined:2/8/07
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 12:45pm
"If they were looking for physical authenticity, they would have only cast actors who look Russian."

I don't know that Russians have a specific look. The actress playing Natasha could have been Russian. Azudi...not so much.
iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 01:03pm
Azudi is clearly talented, but ill-suited in other ways too. His voice, while beautiful, is strange for the material. And he sadly lacks the swagger Anatol needs.
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
GilmoreGirlO2
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/05
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 01:04pm
Iím not sure what you mean, siny. You say that Russians donít have a typical look, yet then you say Azudi could not look Russian, but the actress playing Natasha could, so you must think that Russians do have a specific look. Based off of your comments saying that a black actress playing Natasha would not work, I assume that you didnít agree with casting any person who did not fit a typical, stereotypical look of Russians.

Does the casting of Amber Gray in the role of Helene not work for you?
siny
Broadway Star
joined:2/8/07
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 01:11pm
No, Amber Gray was perfect for the part. But Azudi just looked out of place in that setting. And, like others said, he lacked the swagger and, while he is good-looking, he is not "hot". Sorry, but he was definitely a weak link in the otherwise stellar cast. Like I said, I hope he finds something more suitable because he is clearly very talented.

Also, my remark about Natasha was about more than race. If the actress playing Natasha was not so beautiful it would not work. Natasha's and Anatole's looks are kind of crucial to the story.
Updated On: 10/17/13 at 01:11 PM
GilmoreGirlO2
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/05
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 01:26pm
I am not questioning your or othersí opinions on whether they thought Azudi fit the role vocally, charismatically, or in terms of attractiveness (these are all subjective). I donít understand why, in a cast that is full of a variety of cultures/races, Azudiís race seemed to be one of the reasons you did not like him in the role. I understand not thinking that he, as an actor, is suited for the role, but to say that one of the reasons he doesnít fit the role is due to his race, but then have no problem with another actor of the same race in a role (who is actually the sister of the role in question), makes no sense to me.

But, if his race felt out of place for you, then to each his own.
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 01:29pm

Yeah, the production has felt really multiethnic each time I've seen it. And it's so untraditional in so many other ways that some kind of slavishly "realistic" racial casting would be entirely unnecessary. I could imagine actors of any race in any of the roles.
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Sutton Ross
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/13
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 02:19pm
Josh is very seductive, passionate and domineering in the part. His chemistry with Natasha is incredible. Don't judge until you see him perform.

Also, the people on here whose enjoyment of the performance was affected by a performer's race are really gross.
Four Simple Rules for Attending the Theater 1. This is a nice night out. Dress accordingly. Like, no sweatpants. 2. When you enter the theater, turn off your phone. All issues with phones will be avoided this way, & you won't be verbally accosted by the cast, crew, & other patrons. 3. I did not pay dollas to hear you talk or sing. I paid dollas to see & hear gorgeous men like Norm Lewis, Ramin Karimloo & Joshua Henry. 4. Unless you have medical issues, don't eat. The wrappers are loud, & your disgusting munching is even louder. You aren't at the movies or a barn dance, baby.
siny
Broadway Star
joined:2/8/07
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 02:32pm
So, you would be OK with two white actors portraying the leads in Porgy and Bess ?
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 02:43pm

How about you think about that question a little bit harder before anyone answers, just to give you the opportunity to retract or change it?
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Sutton Ross
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/13
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 02:47pm
Yeah, she should take a little time with that. Holy God.
Four Simple Rules for Attending the Theater 1. This is a nice night out. Dress accordingly. Like, no sweatpants. 2. When you enter the theater, turn off your phone. All issues with phones will be avoided this way, & you won't be verbally accosted by the cast, crew, & other patrons. 3. I did not pay dollas to hear you talk or sing. I paid dollas to see & hear gorgeous men like Norm Lewis, Ramin Karimloo & Joshua Henry. 4. Unless you have medical issues, don't eat. The wrappers are loud, & your disgusting munching is even louder. You aren't at the movies or a barn dance, baby.
GilmoreGirlO2
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/05
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 03:37pm
siny, If you donít already know why those are two completely different situations, then I can see this discussion is no longer worth having.
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 07:16pm
Race doesn't matter for this show. It's by no means set in a "reality" like other shows, Porgy and Bess for instance. It's a historical show, but it's also aware of itself. I actually didn't find it very "racially diverse" as a cast, but found it more talent-diverse. A lot of seasoned singers, but also a lot of just like "singer-songwriter" types.

And I don't find the lead actress to be over-the-top hot or anything. I don't think her beauty is really a big factor in the role. She's just damn good in the role, and has a beautiful voice.

And I saw the new guy watching the show when I saw it and I don't find him to be "hot" at all. Neither of them look like they've done a push-up before or anything like that, but apparently they do have a type.

And not sure why he's out a lot. His role is far less demanding than the others.
BwayTday
Broadway Legend
joined:6/2/09
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 09:09pm
Yeah, I was going to say, historical accuracy is hardly a factor in this show. Some of the ensemble wear torn up graphic-tee shirts as part of their costume for god sakes.

Phillipa Soo is no doubt very pretty, and I'd have trouble seeing anyone else in the role because I think she is that good (her voice is insane) but again her race really has nothing to do with it.
bwayboy22
Stand-by
joined:5/9/12
New understudy for Great Comet of 1812
Posted: 10/17/13 at 10:22pm
I saw this show last Sunday and thought it was absolutely fantastic! I saw Josh and I'm so glad I did he was superb in the role, but without a doubt Philippa Soo was the star of this show! I'm dying for the cast album and can't stop listening to the Promo. I was very entertained. Another part of the show that was great for me was I was seated next to three older women all of whom were insanely interesting. One of them was Russian and she would give us background on the food they served, some of the russian customs, and just some other great anecdotes. It was a great night at the theater.