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re: Cloris Leachman was Mary Martin's understudy in SOUTH PACIFIC...

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BrodyFosse123
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joined:2/27/06
Okay, so it turns out that future multi-award winning Cloris Leachman was Mary Martin's understudy in the original Broadway production of SOUTH PACIFIC. What other future stars were understudies/standbys to leads in other Broadway shows?

Jo Anne Worley -- Carol Channing's standby in HELLO, DOLLY!

Lainie Kazan -- Barbra Streisand's standby in FUNNY GIRL

Jamie Donnelly (1978 GREASE film-version Jan) -- Liza Minnelli's understudy in FLORA, THE RED MENACE

Louise Lasser (of TV's MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN) -- Barbra Streisand's standby in I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE

Mary Louise Wilson -- Angela Lansbury's standby in the 1974 Broadway Revival of GYPSY (she played Tessie Tura in the revival)

Judy Kaye -- Madeline Kahn's understudy in ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Christine Ebersole -- Judy Kaye's understudy in ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Shirley MacLaine -- Carol Haney's understudy in THE PAJAMA GAME


... can't wait to read others.

So what does that make you, Brody? A zero-trick pony? - Wanna Be A Foster .........................The only power brody wields is in his own mind, joe. But it's amusing to watch him pretend nonetheless. - tazber
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Mr Roxy
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Freda Payne - Leslie Uggams understudy in Halleujah Baby
Jane Runalfson - Julie Andrews understudy in Victor Victoria
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
Updated On: 4/15/08 at 05:00 PM
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thatgirl712
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joined:3/29/08
I'm not surprised to hear about Cloris.

Diane
If I heard the bells and the banjos ring
shesamarshmallow
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joined:3/23/06
They're much more recent, but BroadwayUnderstudies.com collected a list: http://broadwayunderstudies.com/facts.php
broadwayunderstudies.com - most underrated performers on broadway
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BrodyFosse123
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joined:2/27/06
One error: Karen Ziemba was NOT an understudy (or swing) in the original Broadway production of A CHORUS LINE. She made her Broadway debut in A CHORUS LINE in the early 1980's as a replacement.


So what does that make you, Brody? A zero-trick pony? - Wanna Be A Foster .........................The only power brody wields is in his own mind, joe. But it's amusing to watch him pretend nonetheless. - tazber
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B3TA07
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Nancy Opel was Patti LuPone's Evita u/s.
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CurtainPullDowner
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Jenifer Garner was Katherine Erbe's understudy in A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY at the Roundabout staring Helen Mirren, F. Murray Abraham and Ron Rifkin.
Updated On: 4/15/08 at 05:47 PM
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Mother's Younger Brother
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I believe Vivian Vance was Ethel Merman's understudy in Anything Goes, and later did the national tour.
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Ourtime992
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Stritch and the Merm
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DottieD'Luscia
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Roxy, I believe you mean, Anne Runolfsson.
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Gothampc
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Ethel Merman: Elaine (Stritch) just go to New Haven and sing the *&%$ song.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Gothampc
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Mary Testa for Stockard Channing in "The Rink". Can't remember, but did Stockard at some point understudy Liza? I know it was originally Lenora Nemetz, but I thought I once heard something funny about Stockard wishing Liza would get sick.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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folkyboy
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joined:1/31/06
let us not forget Phylicia Rashad being the understudy for Sheryl Lee Ralph in "Dreamgirls".

lord knows she won't let us forget it!
shesamarshmallow
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Brody, is IBDB wrong then?
http://ibdb.com/person.asp?ID=66016
broadwayunderstudies.com - most underrated performers on broadway
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LizzieCurry
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Ben Vereen (Tony Winner for PIPPIN) was an understudy for Hud in the original 198 production of HAIR.

I don't know if Ben Vereen is quite THAT old...
"Don't patronize me, alright?" - BroadwayStar4
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bohemianqueen
Understudy
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shesamarshmallow - read IBDB properly. The dates it gives are the dates for the PRODUCTION of ACL not how long Karen Ziemba was in the show, otherwise that would indicate she was in the show for 15 years. Also beside the roles she played it clearly states 'replacement' supporting what Brody has said.
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shesamarshmallow
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A Chorus Line [Original, Musical, Drama]
Performer: Karen Ziemba [Bebe] - Replacement;
Performer: Karen Ziemba [Hilary] - Replacement;
Understudy: Karen Ziemba [Bebe] - Replacement;
Understudy: Karen Ziemba [Cassie] - Replacement;
Understudy: Karen Ziemba [Diana] - Replacement;
Understudy: Karen Ziemba [Maggie] - Replacement
broadwayunderstudies.com - most underrated performers on broadway
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ray-andallthatjazz86
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Donna Murphy was Betty Buckley's understudy in THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, and eventually replaced her at Rupert Holmes' request (When Buckley decided to leave the show of course).
Elaine Stritch understudying Merman also came to mind.
Megan Mullally understudied Rosie O'Donnell in the GREASE revival.
Victoria Clark understudied Faith Prince in GUYS & DOLLS.
And of course who could forget about Natalie Portman and Britney Spears understudying Laura Bell Bundy in RUTHLESS?
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Josh Freilich
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How about Northern Calloway as understudy/replacement for Ben Vereen in PIPPIN?
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allofmylife
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I love the fact that Gene Kelly was replaced in the tour of "Pal Joey" by a guy named Georgie TAPS.

And Fred Astaire was replaced by someone on the last few dates of "Gay Divorce" when he was filming "Dancing Lady."
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phantomo88
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As mentioned, Stritch understudied Merman in Call Me Madam. She also went on to play that role on tour, and in Louisville,Ky.

Wow, Gay Divorce? I doubt thats getting a revival anytime soon!
Buscee
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Stockard Channing was not Liza's understudy, she was her replacement. However she started 2 days earlier than expected because Liza called out sick so instead of Liza ending her run on a Saturday night. She left on Thursday and Stockard started on Friday instead of that Monday. Cloris Leachman I dont believe was Martin's understudy, I believe she was the last replacement in the original run.
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BrodyFosse123
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joined:2/27/06
shesamarshmallow -- I stand corrected. I overlooked the 'understudy' listing.

BUT, my original post is asking about future stars understudying/standbying well-known (if not famous) performers.

So what does that make you, Brody? A zero-trick pony? - Wanna Be A Foster .........................The only power brody wields is in his own mind, joe. But it's amusing to watch him pretend nonetheless. - tazber