Video: Eli Gelb Is Making Musical Magic in STEREOPHONIC

Gelb just received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play.

By: May. 07, 2024
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The last couple of months have been a whirlwind for Eli Gelb. Not only did he make his Broadway debut in the most acclaimed new play of the season, Stereophonic, but he earned a Tony nomination (one of a record-breaking 13 for the production) for his performance. The cherry on top? On Sunday night, he won a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play for the equally acclaimed off-Broadway incarnation.

While the Stereophonic hype seems to have come all at once, Eli admits that it's been a long time coming.

"I auditioned for this the day that the pandemic shut down [Broadway], for a different production that fell through. Throughout the pandemic, it was really with me... pretty intensely. The themes of the show deal with isolation and togetherness, creating something together, needing each other, tearing each other apart. That really resonated," he explained to BroadwayWorld's Richard Ridge. "I was pretty fixated on eventually playing the role, and luckily it worked out!"

Stereophonic mines the agony and the ecstasy of creation as it zooms in on a music studio in 1976. Here, an up-and-coming rock band recording a new album finds itself suddenly on the cusp of superstardom. The ensuing pressures could spark their breakup — or their breakthrough. In Stereophonic, Adjmi invites the audience to immerse themselves—with fly-on-the-wall intimacy—in the powder keg process of a band on the brink of blowing up.

Eli plays sound engineer, Grover. "[Grover] is somebody who cares a lot about music. He has a journey [in the play] that's really relatable and has a lot to do with artists and human beings. I think that David [Adjmi] found a really great way to encapsulate something so universal about the human experience and the artistic experience, and how they are really the same thing. Grover is an exciting part of that story."

Just before opening night, Richard chatted with Eli about the exciting new play and you can watch the full conversation here.