DEBUT OF THE MONTH: HOW TO SUCCEED's Rose Hemingway - Previews Begin!

By: Feb. 26, 2011
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Each month, Broadway World is shining the spotlight on stage actors making their Broadway debut as part of its "Debut of the Month" series.

This month, BroadwayWorld is showcasing actress Rose Hemingway, who is set to make her Broadway debut in HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS (WITHOUT REALLY TRYING), beginning previews this weekend.

Rose Hemingway has appeared in the Donmar Warehouse's production of the musical Parade directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford at LA's Mark Taper Forum. Additionally Rose has toured North America as Sophie Sheridan in the tour of the hit musical Mamma Mia!

Hemingway took a few moments to chat with about this big role and her hopes for the future.

BWW: So are you ready to be a Broadway starlet?

Hemingway: Oh god what a loaded question! (Laughs) I guess. I am as ready as I'll ever be!

How did you react when you first learned that you had gotten the role in How To Succeed?

It was one of those things where I sort of gradually learned that I got the role; it wasn't official-official until the summer. So it was kind of strange since I kept keeping myself from celebrating. Every little thing that I would hear I would try to stay very calm and not get excited until it was absolutely official. And then when it was the first thing I did was to dance t the overture with my husband. He put the song on his iPod and we started dancing around the living room all excited.

Has your life changed in any significant way so far?

I think it has, at least a little bit. I have done some really neat interviews and photo-shoots and stuff like that, and obviously being in rehearsals. I mean, it is everything I ever wanted and it is suddenly here. There is a lot of pressure, a lot of nerves, so everything feels like a new moment. But in the best way possible. I couldn't be happier.

Have you always been aiming for Broadway?

Well I think that Broadway has always been my main focus, I was always a musical theater person my whole life. But you know, I used to stand in front of my parents' mirror and narrate TV commercials too so I would definitely love to try some of those things at some point as well.

How are rehearsals going?

They have been great. I have to say, I am already so proud of the show. I mean, we still have a ways to go but already it is amazing. The dancing is incredible and the music is just beautiful. It is going to be a great great show. It has been amazing to work with the cast; it is just such an incredible group of people.

How has it been working with Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette?

Sadly I am nit in very many scenes with John so we have not had much chance to work with each other, we have one scene with a few lines and that is all. But he is lovely. And Dan, Dan is incredible He is a wonderful person, and he has such great energy and he comes to work every day ready to get things done and to work and to learn, he's got this infectious energy around him and that is a lot of fun. We're buddies, so we have a good time.

Are you friends off-stage as well?

Well we just met through the show; we first met at the reading. But yeah we are friends; he and my husband are buddies.

Any good stories or rehearsal anecdotes you care to share?

Gee, not really? I mean, it has been pretty normal so far! Nothing crazy has gone wrong... I wish I had something good and juicy for ya' but there's just been a lot of working!

Well don't worry that's probably the best answer.

Right? That's definitely a good thing!

As a newcomer acting with some heavy hitters do you feel that you have more or less pressure than your co-stars?

Well, you know I think it's not really more or less, I feel the pressure, but I feel lucky to be surrounded by these people who are more established. It is a learning opportunity to have people around you like this. It is a strong cast and to have that around you is a lucky thing... I feel very blessed to be surrounded by people with lots of experience. But I do feel pressure for sure; I think I would feel that no matter what since it is my Broadway debut. To get a leading role as my first show, it is huge. It is like I won the lottery. So it feels that way sometimes. So I just take what I have and try to do everything to the best of my ability. If anything it is great to have such strong support, and a show that you are so proud of and to be a part of, from the cast to the creative's.

If you were telling someone to go see the show what would you say?

Well you should definitely go see the show. (Laughs)

Sold! You got me!

It is a great show. It is a real musical theater show, something from the golden era of musical theater. It's got so many show-stopping numbers, and a fantastic book. The book won the Pulitzer Prize, it is a smart book. The jokes are smart and the dialogue is smart and it really is a statement of the times. It is so interesting because at the time it wasn't a period piece, but they had a lot to say about sexism in the workplace and it is all so interesting. It is a big Broadway musical, and there are tons of catchy songs, it is not one of those musicals you see and forget right away. It is funny and sweet and a great show.

Did you do any research?

Yeah for sure, I mean, I read the book. And it is a really great satire and a lot of the dialogue is right out of there. And I did some research about women of the time and their role in the workplace. Rosemary is from a small town and she comes to New York City and gets a job in a New York City office building, and she lives this dream of working in a NYC office building and being a successful businesswoman until she can achieve her larger dream of getting a man to marry her and give her the social status she is looking for. She grows a lot during the show, you know, she realizes that her priorities are a little out of whack. It is a fascinating time and experience.

You moved from Philadelphia to New York, how are you finding the city?

I love New York. Oh yeah. I am definitely a New York girl. My dad has worked in Manhattan my whole life and we would come up with him and go to shows or what-not, so I always felt a connection to the city even when I was a little girl, so to be on Broadway is very meaningful. I went to school in DC, and once I graduated I just came right here. I imagine I will be here forever; I love the city and everything about it. It is the best city in the world.

No argument here! You toured as Sophie in MAMMA MIA how was it to be on the road?

Touring was amazing. I love it here and I love being home, but I love touring and seeing the country. It is amazing to have that opportunity; some of the cities we went to like Seattle and Chicago, they are such great places. We got to go to Philly, which was neat for me. It is such a great opportunity, I definitely enjoy that transient lifestyle and I think it is an important thing to experience especially while you are young and not tied down and you can sort of see the world, or at least the country, and just explore. It was incredible, I just loved touring.

I'm sure you also get the wide range of audience members and audience reactions depending on the city.

For sure, I think every city was different. That is part of the reason why it is so great, every week or every three weeks when you move there is a new opening night. Every audience is different with a different reaction. There are different vibes in every town; a small town will be different than a large one. Every city is different, but it is neat to get to have that, and it is easy to keep things fresh that way.

Well now you will get the Broadway audience reaction!

Sometimes I just pinch myself; I just can't believe it is happening. Everything is exactly how I hoped it would be and it is very cool and very exciting and I am just trying to live in it and enjoy every second of it. Experience it all. It only happens once that you get to debut on Broadway. I'm reveling in it.

Any hopes for the rest of the year?

As a rule I try to take one day at a time, when I think ahead I tend to just... I just... I don't know it is too much to handle! So I try to take it one day at a time and experience it while it is happening and I am just so grateful I want to enjoy this for what it is. Of course I hope that it leads to wonderful new things beyond, but at this point I am not thinking about that yet. I am loving every second of what I am doing right now.

Opening at Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre (302 West 45th Street) Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 5pm, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS (WITHOUT REALLY TRYING) is directed and choreographed by Tony and Emmy Award-winner Rob Ashford, has music and lyrics by Academy Award and Tony Award winner Frank Loesser, and a book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, based on the book by Shepherd Mead

The 50th Anniversary production of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING is produced by Broadway Across America (John Gore, Thomas B. McGrath, Beth Williams), Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Joseph Smith, Michael McCabe, Candy Spelling, Takonkiet Viravan/Scenario Thailand, Two Left Feet Productions/PowerArts, Jen Namoff/Fakston Productions, Hilary A. Williams, HOP Theatricals, LLC/Paul Chau/Daniel Frishwasser/Michael Jackowitz, and Michael Speyer - Bernie Abrams/Jacki Barlia Florin - Adam Blanshay/Arlene Scanlan/TBS Service.

For tickets and more information, visit



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