Musical Theatre Historian Jennifer Ashley Tepper Shares 30 Brilliant Reasons to be Excited to See an Understudy
Jennifer Ashley Tepper, the always on-point musical theatre historian, author of THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY book series, and Director of Programming at 54 Below, has taken on one of the stage's biggest misconceptions in a wildly popular new social media list: the idea that seeing an understudy in a role is somehow a lesser experience than witnessing the principal actor's take.
On Facebook, Tepper put the whole issue into perfect perspective:
"Were you mad the last time you saw an understudy slip?
Were you mad the last time you heard an announcement that an alternate would be going on?
Here are 30 reasons why you should be very excited instead. Are you ready?
2. Did you see a Sheila understudy in the original run of Hair?
Then you saw Diane Keaton!
3. Did you see a Dainty June understudy in the second national tour of Gypsy?
Then you saw Bernadette Peters!
4. Did you see a Radames understudy during the run of Aida?
Then you probably saw Will Chase or Cheyenne Jackson!
7. Did you see a Sandy or Rizzo understudy in the 1994 Grease revival?
Then you saw Sutton Foster!
11. Did you see an understudy for Chuck Cranston in Footloose?
Then you saw the Broadway debut of Matthew Morrison!
21. Did you see a Peggy Sawyer understudy in 42nd Street in London?
Then you saw Catherine Zeta-Jones!
22. Did you see a Chava understudy in the last Fiddler on the Roof revival?
Then you saw Lea Michele!
24. Did you see a Danny Zuko understudy during the original run of Grease?
Then you probably saw Richard Gere!
26. Did you see a Jigger understudy in the Carousel revival?
Then you saw the Broadway debut of Taye Diggs! Or you saw Brian D'Arcy James!
And for every talented understudy on this list, there are hundreds of others who are someone in the world's absolute favorite actor.
Each time you see a show, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will never happen exactly the same way again. Seeing an understudy - someone who is likely thrilled to be getting a huge opportunity, someone who you're likely going to be hearing more from in the future - is an amazing part of that.
A gigantic BRAVO for all of the understudies."
For more information on Tepper, or to grab a copy of her (excellent) books for yourself, check out her official website here.
Photo by Matthew Murphy