BWW Blog: Bringing Broadway to UVA

By: Oct. 12, 2018
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BWW Blog: Bringing Broadway to UVA

Hi everyone! My name is Kristen Kelly and I am so excited to be keeping you updated on all things Broadway from the University of Virginia. Between classes, midterms, and our presidential inauguration, things are getting pretty busy around Charlottesville! Things are especially picking up with Hoos in the Stairwell, which is my Broadway a capella group! I love being music director, but things tend to get hectic a few weeks prior to our concert.

One of the coolest things about being a student at UVA is that we really love our student run programs. After seeing Waitress in 2017, my first Broadway show since I was 13, I decided that I should try to bring some of the amazing talent down to UVA. I was immediately enamored by the show; between the music and the hilarious plot, I was sold. At that performance, Henry Gottfried was on for Dr. Pomatter opposite of Jessie Mueller, and I was floored by his talent. I've always been a big fan of understudies, but he was such a presence on that stage and I could not imagine a better person getting me back into musical theater. I became a huge fan of Henry, and asked UVA for some funding to fly him out for a talk and masterclass. And with that little bit of inspiration from my Dr. P, my program Broadway Talks Back was born.

I've brought five people to grounds so far (we call it grounds, not a campus. Thanks, TJ) and I have a few more lined up for this semester. I loved having Henry, and we've since had Drew Gehling, Sumayya Ali, Ryan Vasquez, and Solea Pfeiffer come to visit! They all do open Q&A and masterclasses with students. The whole process is so rewarding to see people learning and making real connections. And let me tell you- it never gets old getting to interview these people in front of my friends and hear insights into these shows. How many people can say that they got to talk about the creation of Waitress with the OG Dr. P?!

Sometimes, I get some really cool opportunities to see these shows. In January, Gabriel Sidney Brown of Les Mis invited me to do an interview at the show in Norfolk, VA. It wasn't my first backstage interview, but the thrill of meeting new Broadway talent and getting to hear their stories first hand was so amazing. Gabe and I have kept in touch, and he will be coming to UVA on October 20th to put on our next Broadway Talks Back! I also got to see BTB Alum Ryan Vasquez play Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton on Broadway. If you ever get the chance to see his A.Ham, you HAVE to go. He is crafty, powerful, and emotional all in the span of 3 hours. Support our understudies!

I am so grateful that I get to bring musical theater to my school, and to shine a light on some of the best and brightest actors of our generation. Check out my next few blogs for a run-down of our day with Gabe, a look into how plan my programs, and why I think Waitress is the best show on Broadway. Check out more info on Broadway Talks Back at