Broadway Stars Share Their Favorite Theater Memories For World Theatre Day
Happy #WorldTheatreDay! We've asked some of Broadway's stars to share their favorite theater memories from childhood, to debuts, to tours, and more!
"I don't have too many mishaps, but a really good one I remember was that I was doing Legally Blonde Jr. and playing Professor Callahan because sure, why not? I had a palette expander at the time because I was thirteen, but I took it out whenever I went on stage. Except for this one time. We get to Callahan's big number, "Blood in the Water," and I COMPLETELY forgot to take it out. I realize it about halfway through the number, and his consonants are very sharp, so we get to this point toward the end of the song where I'm setting up the fact that Callahan is hiring students and the palette expanded FALLS OUT OF MY MOUTH. Like I SPIT it out. Before it can hit the ground though, I catch it and shove it right back in my mouth, all while singing. Nobody in the audience knew, but all of my castmates were like, 'what?' It was amazing. Community theatre is the best."
"The best part of being in this crazy world of theater, hands down, is the community. People often talk about how competitive actors are, but I have found the opposite to be true. Some of the most generous and wonderful human beings work in this industry which has only been illuminated in the last week since the shutdown. To that end, one of my favorite experiences was playing Frenchy in GREASE at Papermill Playhouse. That show brought the most remarkable women into my life and we are best friends to this day. They are my family and I am so deeply grateful."
"Bronx Tale was my principal debut and I had the honor of closing it on Broadway. In such a short time, the show made an enormous impact on my life, and through it all I realized how important it is to be fully present. Things are so temporary in our field; what keeps me going is holding tight to quick moments and gratitude."
"This is a picture of The Prom cast in a cuddle puddle right before Act II started. At this point we had a month left in the run. We were all exhausted from awards season, but truly loved getting to come to work every day and to tell this story with each other. I think theater is at it's best when we're all cogs in the wheel, and everyone's contribution is essential and valued. All I've ever wanted was to be able to do good work with good people, and we got to do that eight times a week at the Longacre. It was the most tiring, hysterical, loving work I've ever been a part of. I get to perform, AND cuddle with people in piles on the floor? Truly the dream."
"Meeting Carol Burnett with Jared Gertner and Gavin Creel while collecting for Broadway Cares during our 2012 run of The Book of Mormon at the Pantages Theatre in LA. This was my professional debut, and meeting this legend made me realize how small, warm, and wonderful the theatre community is. She treated us like her peers."
"Newsies is a show that I will be forever grateful for. It gave me my big break into the musical theater world and introduced me to some of my best friends! I'll never forget my experiences traveling North America with my Newsie's family and filming the movie that will be watched by people for a very long time! NEWSIES FOREVER!"
"When I was a kid- if you wanted to see clips from Broadway shows, you better have recorded it on your VCR!!! There was no YouTube or Vimeo or TikTok. I have super tapes of Tony performances, The Rosie O'Donnell Show appearances and my favorite... The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. SpongeBob SquarePants was my third OBC but alas, I wasn't asked to perform on my previous shows. So when the producers said that the entire cast was to appear on that cold November morning...I cried. I will never forget that day. I have it recorded on my DVR but I also made a copy on VHS just because."
"My husband and I keep a coffee table of theatre memories. We need to buy another! As you can see, I have the original cast album of 'Into The Woods' / the first Broadway musical I ever saw. Since then, I've been fortunate enough to work with both Mr. James Lapine & Ms. Bernadette Peters both of whom, personalized my beloved album. I truly can't wait to get back to work on our beautiful revival of 'Company' with Mr. Stephen Sondheim and humbly ask him if he too would sign my album."
"This is me at 7 years old as Jasper the henchman in 101 Dalmatians Jr. I was heartbroken when I wasn't cast as Cruella de Vil, and distinctly remember rehearsing her part on my trampoline, just in case something happened to the actress come performance day. Nothing did unfortunately, but I think I ended up making a pretty cute sidekick."
"One of my favorite theatre memories is also my full circle theatre moment. I was 4 years old when I saw Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Broadway. It was the first Broadway show I ever saw and I knew right then that theater was something I wanted to be a part of. Playing Cindy Lou Who years later in that very same show that first inspired me showed me that dreams can come true."
"When Stephen Sondheim came to see Company at Barrington Theatre Company in the Berkshires, I thought my head was going to explode. I'd grown up idolizing that man and his writing, and was so beyond excited and honored to perform our show for him. Then during the opening number, my earring fell out of my earlobe, I tripped on it and fell down a mini-flight of stairs. Like in front of Stephen Sondheim. Turns out only about half the audience saw...and I'm sure the rest just thought, "Crazy Amy!" I'm pretty sure I lost two years off of my life in that moment. But after I picked my butt up and my ego recovered, the rest of the show played out without a hitch, and we got to meet Sondheim in the green room. I mainly remember how moved he was at hearing George Furth's book again, and I, in turn, was so moved by this man's generosity of spirit and celebration of the art of collaboration, which theatre is really all about, you know?"
"Hedwig and the Angry Inch completely changed the trajectory of my life from the first time I saw it. I poured over the film and Jane St pro-shot with John Cameron Mitchell throughout high school, trying to figure out exactly what it was that drew me to her tragically funny journey of self discovery and acceptance... I was beyond fortunate enough to eventually play her on tour when I was just 21 years old, beginning the journey standing by for a childhood hero of mine, Darren Criss. Through my time with her over the years, I found my own sense of self and have grown into my identity as a non-binary person, all due to the brilliant work of John and Stephen Trask, and the profound effect that their words have had on my own growth. Theatre has the ability to change lives in so many capacities, and to be on the receiving end of such a visceral and deeply impactful story is such a gift I never take lightly. I am forever humbled to be one of a small group of actors to have put on the gold boots, and although I may be the least famous by a few Emmy and Tony Awards, I am so proud to have been the first non-binary Hedwig. Representation matters. Our stories matter. We will rise again through this uncertain time, because what we do as artists is such a necessary part of what makes the human experience worth living. And on World Theatre Day, I will be thinking about all the beautiful shows like Hedwig that will break boundaries and tear down walls for future generations."
"Theatre is magic. It changed my life. It's deeply powerful as it connects people in a shared environment, across generations, classes, borders, etc. The theater gives us the safety and space to hear and tell stories with open hearts and imagination. It simultaneously fuels and IS fueled by awareness, creativity, interpretation, empathy, and collaboration. It allows and forces us all to be our most human selves. And it's F*CKING FUN!! This is a photo of me in MILLIE in high school, a few months after I was released from Cancer treatments in the hospital. This role and the home I found in theatre during this show helped heal my body and soul. And it's made me who I am today. I can't wait until we can all share in the beauty of theatre collectively again together soon."
"One of my favorite theatre memories of all time...speaking with Stephen Sondheim after one of our early previews of SWEENEY TODD at The Barrow Street Theatre. Thank goodness for photographic evidence because sometimes I still don't believe I got to perform one of his works for him."
"[The first photo] was from Chicago as Velma at 15 with Ben [Platt] too and the second is me and Ben doing a student written play when we were 15."
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