Donna Marie Asbury (Chicago), Richard Poole (Phantom) and Ron Kunene (Lion King): Broadway Actors Who Have Played The Same Role For Over 10 years

Patti LuPone FANatic Profile Photo
Patti LuPone FANatic
Broadway Legend
Nice article from the New York Post.

Broadway Actors
Susan Haskins (Theatre Talk): "I love children. That's why I work with Michael (Riedel)."
Updated On: 7/13/14 at 03:09 PM
ShakinBaconGirl Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Wonderful article! I've never understood why actors get flack for not leaving a show. If it's a steady job and if you aren't bored with it then all the power to you!
oncemorewithfeeling2 Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Actors who are willing to wear the golden handcuffs create that small group of working actors who make a good career doing what they love. Younger actors see staying locked into a show as a risk. You don't get the exposure or glory of doing the next new thing. I see why some older actors have stayed with shows for a long time. It's security. Richard Poole doesn't have to worry about not having a job if it's a rough winter.

AC126748 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
And these aren't actors who will necessarily get better or more high profile roles in other shows. We're not talking about people who are turning down the lead in a new musical to remain in the ensemble of CHICAGO. We're talking about people who would likely go from one ensemble to the next, for the most part. And when you've got a mortgage payment and a car payment and your kid's tuition is due, stability has its perks. As Donna Marie said, "I love seeing my 401(k) get bigger."
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
JBradshaw Profile Photo
Featured Actor
Re: Donna - wise choice to stay so long - even after all these years she always gives 100% and never phones it in.
Just_John Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I agree about Donna. I didn't know she was in the original cast, but the last 3 or 4 times I saw the show most of the cast was completely phoning it in, but she definitely was giving 110%.
Dave13 Profile Photo
What's the main reason Broadway Actors leave their roles after a year or two?

Is it mostly boredom, or are they looking for the next big role instead of keeping something secure?
dreaming Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I'm dying to see Donna Marie Asbury go on as Velma. (I check the Broadway Understudies twitter feed constantly and even walk by the theater. I want to see her and Bianca together.) I saw Donna Marie Asbury as Evita on the national tour when I was about twelve-and she was AMAZING. She had the pipes, the acting ability and she could dance the role extremely well. I really liked her then and would love to see her Velma.
newintown Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
There's a belief that industry people forget about you if you stay in one job too long; Larry Kert said that he thought he would have become a real star if he hadn't stayed with West Side Story as long as he did.

I imagine that Donna Marie Elio (now Asbury), back during Merrily and Smile, hoped to become a star like Gwen Verdon or Chita Rivera. But that doesn't happen to most performers, and she's fortunate to have a long-term job, even though the only people who will know her name are hard-core Chicago enthusiasts.
dreaming Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
See my post above-I knew her from Evita. (And Chicago hadn't even opened yet.)
RippedMan Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
It depends what you're going for. A lot of ensemble members don't have the pipes/acting chops to play a lead role, etc. And they know that. So instead of bouncing around to each Broadway show. Why not stay put? It totally makes sense to me. And being in the ensemble of a show is a less daunting task 8x a week then to be the person out front and center.