Mid-show lead actor switch in "Jersey Boys"

jemjeb2
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I attended today's (Sunday Sept. 1st) matinee of "Jersey Boys". About 45 minutes into the 1st act the show stopped and an announcer said the part of Frankie Valli for the remainder of the show would be played by Joseph Leo BwarieThere was a pause of less than 10 minutes of a darkened stage, house lights down. Then the show continued with Bwarie ( an improvement I thought) An usher said the lead was ill. In all my 30 plus years of theatre going - this was a first. Any other theatre goers ever have this unusual experience?
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Mike Barrett
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #2
Posted: 9/1/13 at 10:12pm
Woah. That's very cool you got to see both Frankies. That's very interesting. I hope Dominic is okay. I've never seen anything like it. I don't know how I'd feel about it either.
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blaxx
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #2
Posted: 9/1/13 at 10:13pm
It happens more often thank you think, I can think of dozens of shows where this has happened.

Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
Updated On: 9/1/13 at 10:13 PM
jemjeb2
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #3
Posted: 9/1/13 at 10:20pm
Thanks Blaxx- did not know that. Now I'm curious. What are other examples wherein the show stops mid -act, stage darkens, then continues with another lead?
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #4
Posted: 9/1/13 at 10:38pm
I saw the tour of a A Chorus Line a few years ago and during "At The Ballet..." while they were facing the mirror and Sheila's talking our Cassie just stepped closer to the mirror and and hairpin turned and walked off Stage Right. About 2 minutes later a new Cassie walked on and assumed her position.
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #5
Posted: 9/1/13 at 10:38pm
I've seen Joseph Lee Bwarie two or three times on tour and enjoyed him!
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #6
Posted: 9/1/13 at 10:45pm
That I remember, this has happened to me in Jekyll & Hyde, Chicago, ReNt, Wicked, Curtains, Aida - lots to mention. The process of dimming the lights as the understudy gets ready is similar and in some cases they just get ready between scenes.
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #7
Posted: 9/1/13 at 10:48pm
This goes back many years:

We were seeing THE GOODBYE GIRL and learned that Bernadette Peters would not be performing at that performance. Instead, Betsy Joslyn would play Paula. Okay, no problem.

During the performance it became obvious that Joslyn was missing notes and having some sort of vocal problems.

During intermission there was an announcement that Joslyn would be replaced by the "swing". Her last name was Hesse. I think her first name was Karen. She was shorter than Joslyn and the costumes dragged on the floor. I remember Martin Short ad-libbing on her first entrance, "Why Paula, you look so different!"

"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
Updated On: 9/1/13 at 10:48 PM
jemjeb2
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #8
Posted: 9/1/13 at 10:55pm
Blaxx - when they get ready between scenes - do they announce the change - or were you surprised to see a new actor appear? I am surprised that this is not unusual.

Updated On: 9/2/13 at 10:55 PM
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #9
Posted: 9/1/13 at 11:09pm
When I saw Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Norbert Leo Butz's understudy was on with John Lithgow. After the scene in the balcony in the first act, the show stopped. Silence onstage. A minute later, John came onstage, broke character, and stalled for time while explaining what happened. The understudy fell when they were rushing back to the stage after the scene in the balcony. The standby would be taking over so that the understudy could get checked out and rest up for the next performance. He asked the audience to give the standby a round of applause when he entered. We obliged and the show continued like nothing happened when the applause died down.

I haven't seen the theater go totally dark for an actor change, but an actor stepping out of character to explain the sudden change in cast was a first for me.
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blaxx
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #10
Posted: 9/1/13 at 11:16pm
When the change happened mid-performance there was no announcement until intermission.
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #11
Posted: 9/1/13 at 11:18pm
Happened someone what often during Billy Elliot, although the Billy would usually swap out at intermission.
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #12
Posted: 9/2/13 at 12:27am
I know this has happened in wicked several times!
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #13
Posted: 9/2/13 at 12:29am
I've actually seen this happen at Jersey Boys, but in the ensemble.

I've also seen it happen at Les Miz (a Gavroche switch).
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #14
Posted: 9/2/13 at 12:41am
I have seen it quite often.
Usually, they will try to make the switch at intermission.
I've seen it happen in the middle of a show a bit - one actor exits and the other enters at the next scene.. no announcement made till intermission.
Stopping the show is a last resort.

One of the most PERFECT switches has happened during Hairspray, where a Tracy has taken ill during Act One and runs off at the end of the sock hop, with the 'new' Tracy running on for Tracy's debut on the Corny Collins show, with a new hairdo and the first line "And I'm Tracy!"
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #15
Posted: 9/2/13 at 12:58am
Marybeth Abel, the Wicked Broadway PSM, talks extensively about this topic in the linked video below (starting at about 2:30 into the video).


Link
Updated On: 9/2/13 at 12:58 AM
jemjeb2
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #16
Posted: 9/2/13 at 2:28am
Thanks, Tag! Really interesting - even touching. The human frailty of working actors.
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #17
Posted: 9/2/13 at 7:03am
Last year at Les Mis they had to stop the show halfway through In My Life to switch Eponines as Helen Owen (the first cover) was taken ill on stage.
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #18
Posted: 9/2/13 at 11:10am
I've seen it a couple of times, but I think the last time was Cheyenne leaving part-way through act one of Xanadu, and after an announcement and a few minutes, Curtis Holbrook finished the show.


"Hey little girls, look at all the men in shiny shirts and no wives!" - Jackie Hoffman, Xanadu, 19 Feb 2008
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #19
Posted: 9/2/13 at 3:44pm
Many years ago when I was at The Phantom of the Opera in Toronto, Christine (I think it was Rebecca Caine at the time, but I'm not sure) tripped and fell during "All I Ask of You." Raoul picked her upped and comforted her, and they continued to sing as if nothing happened. I remember discussing at intermission, "That was rather odd staging. Did Hal Prince mean for Christine to fall so that Raoul could be shown coming to her aid?"

At the start of Act 2 it was announced that someone else (not sure if it was the standby or understudy) would continue in the role of Christine.

The Phantom had struck!
Coach Bob knew it all along: you've got to get obsessed and stay obsessed. You have to keep passing the open windows. (John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire)
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #20
Posted: 9/2/13 at 4:13pm
I was at the matinee of Hair when Gavin Creel sprained his ankle (I think that's what happened). Apparently he sprained it during "I Got Life," but I didn't notice anything until later. During the Be-In, Gavin was not in the box when Claude's parents are yelling at him, but the spotlight was still lit on the box. Which my friend and I thought was weird. Still, he did "Where Do I Go?"

Toward the end of intermission, Gavin hobbled onstage, sans wig and heavily aided by someone, and announced to the audience that he had hurt his ankle, would be heading to the hospital, and Paris Remillard (his understudy) would be going on in his place. He apologized and assured us Paris was very good (which he was).

When Paris appeared as Claude at the top of Act 2, Will Swenson ad-libbed something along the lines of "Claude, you look so different!" and that got a laugh.

Lauren Elder in the ensemble also sprained her ankle during that performance and was replaced with a swing at some point.
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #21
Posted: 9/2/13 at 4:44pm
I have to honestly say that in the 25 years of seeing shows, I've never had this happen.

Now in terms of shows that I've been in, yes it's happened a few times.
A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #22
Posted: 9/2/13 at 5:04pm
When I saw Spiderman about two years ago, Reeve Carney looked sick for the first act and subbed out during intermission. I know that's not quite the same, but nonetheless.

Updated On: 9/2/13 at 05:04 PM
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #23
Posted: 9/2/13 at 5:12pm
This happened when I saw Vanya Sonya Masha and Spike recently. Sigourney Weaver was obviously sick and losing her voice. They announced her understudy would take over the second act.
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Mid-show lead actor switch in #24
Posted: 9/2/13 at 7:30pm
Isn't there an understudy or swing in addition to the alternate? Or does the alternate act as a standby as well? Does this impact the other performances the alternate should be performing at if they're contracted to do two shows a week?

It looks like Taylor Sternberg is the swing (it doesn't specify on the website, he just looks like a possible Frankie). Why didn't he go on?
"We like to snark around here. Sometimes we actually talk about theater...but we try not to let that get in our way." - dramamama611
Updated On: 9/2/13 at 07:30 PM



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