Last Performance Experiences

MollyJeanneMusic
Featured Actor
joined:3/10/19
Featured Actor
joined:
3/10/19
Last Performance Experiences#1
Posted: 8/8/19 at 1:22pm

Are there any cool experiences that you can share (little moments, maybe, that gained more weight) about a cast member's last performance in a show?  For example, I saw Michael Park and Jennifer Laura Thompson's last show in Dear Evan Hansen, and Michael Park got really emotional during To Break In a Glove.  It was really sweet.

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
VotePeron Profile PhotoVotePeron Profile Photo
VotePeron
Broadway Legend
joined:5/2/13
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/2/13
Last Performance Experiences#2
Posted: 8/8/19 at 1:54pm
I’ve been to more “last performances” than I can count, and they’re always special in their own ways, even if it’s just a quiet send off.

Most recently that I can recall, I was at the final shows of the Cursed Child Year 1 cast. When Noma gave her Act 4 Minister of Magic speech, there’s a line: “...then just like that, most of the people in this room will be gone.” She got really choked up and it was just such a singular moment.
jayinchelsea Profile Photojayinchelsea Profile Photo
jayinchelsea
Broadway Star
joined:4/9/09
Broadway Star
joined:
4/9/09
Last Performance Experiences#3
Posted: 8/8/19 at 2:23pm

Although I too have been to many closing performances during my 50+ years of theatregoing, nothing has ever compared to the experience of July 1, 1972 at the Winter Garden at the final Broadway performance of FOLLIES. I had already seen the show a dozen times, both in its Boston tryout, one of its opening nights (producer Hal Prince generally had several, to take the pressure off having only one night) and almost once every month of its run.

I had no money as a struggling young man, and could not afford to buy a ticket for the closing (one of the few times it was sold out). So I wrote a heartfelt letter to Prince, telling him of my passion for the show but my inability to buy a ticket. He replied with a short but lovely note, and a standing room ticket.

I normally stood pretty much alone each time I saw the show, and could usually sit in one of the many empty orchestra seats. But not at the closing! There were easily 100 people standing with me in the back of the theatre, and many of them had seen the show 25 or 50 or 100 times already. And as the lights went down, they announced that Kurt Peterson, who had left the show to star in the unsuccessful revival of ON THE TOWN, would be playing Young Ben. A roar went up in the theatre.

It was like that all night. When Dorothy Collins made her first appearance, the uproar stopped her in her tracks, and she burst into tears. Songs that had barely gotten applause most nights (John McMartin's "The Road You Didn't Take"Last Performance Experiences won cheers. At the end of the show, the entire orchestra seating rose up and rushed down the aisle, cheering and screaming and crying, as was the cast.

As Addison DeWitt once said, it was a night to remember.

Pashacar
Stand-by
joined:11/2/18
Stand-by
joined:
11/2/18
Last Performance Experiences#4
Posted: 8/8/19 at 3:30pm

I've seen a few, but SpongeBob was the most memorable by far.

The energy in there was unlike the energy in any room I've been in in my life – multiple times as intense as the most intense rock concert I've been to. The creative team was all there dressed to the nines and happily chatting with lots of cosplaying fans. The foley guy got a standing ovation when he went to places, and it was only uphill from there.

During the show, the whole house stood and screamed during the pause in "I'm Not A Loser" and stayed on their feet screaming through the whole end of the song; Gavin Lee was clearly very emotional. (This tweet gives a great glimpse: https://twitter.com/WesTayTay/status/1042060824217640961.) Then, when singing "Best Day Ever" for the last time, Ethan Slater lost it and broke into tears for a moment. The crowd cheered him on, and he finished. And at the end, Tina Landau gave a long and lovely speech.

I had already come to really love that show, but this brought it to another level; I look back on it so fondly.

Updated On: 8/8/19 at 03:30 PM
JennH
Broadway Star
joined:11/14/13
Broadway Star
joined:
11/14/13
Last Performance Experiences#5
Posted: 8/8/19 at 3:36pm

I was at the Bright Star closing, it was great. Nothing crazy out of the ordinary happened, except for Steve playing his banjo with the band during the entr'acte and doing some hilarious little tap dance during the curtain call. No closing speeches. The whole thing was very much like the show, understated and non-flashy, and that's ok :)

FlyHigh523 Profile PhotoFlyHigh523 Profile Photo
FlyHigh523
Stand-by
joined:6/7/17
Stand-by
joined:
6/7/17
Last Performance Experiences#6
Posted: 8/8/19 at 4:06pm
I’ve been to a few, but one I really remember was Sierra Boggess’s last show as Christine on Broadway. After Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, she got at least a five minute applause and I think a standing ovation. She was also really emotional and crying at the end. It was memorable.
CarmenA3 Profile PhotoCarmenA3 Profile Photo
CarmenA3
Featured Actor
joined:8/20/17
Featured Actor
joined:
8/20/17
Last Performance Experiences#7
Posted: 8/8/19 at 4:30pm

I was at the final performance for Groundhog Day and Andy slipped in some fun adlibs - one about his knee/brace and then in Nobody Cares with the line about "get a job..." he added "because we're all gonna need a job!" 

I highly recommend seeing the final performance of a show (or exiting performer) that you really like/love. The energy in the room is incomparable - the theatre is full of people that also love the show, so you're in great company.

qolbinau Profile Photoqolbinau Profile Photo
qolbinau
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/08
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/08
Last Performance Experiences#8
Posted: 8/8/19 at 4:58pm
I don’t get to attend closing performances much because they are harder to plan when you don’t live in the city and it’s an open-ended fun but the last performance of the recent west end Company felt pretty magical, and Sondheim was in the audience. Very enthusiastic audience and slightly more indulgent performances and pauses from the performers. I recall when Craig made her entrance and exit in particularly it was much more drawn out.

I was thinking today I also went to the recent Sunday closing performance I THINK and it seemed rather low key. Nothing particularly exciting from the audience or performances really. I don’t know why, but while this revival ticked all the boxes and was ‘good’ did it really ignite passion in audiences? Not me.
"It’s the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
n2nbaby Profile Photon2nbaby Profile Photo
n2nbaby
Broadway Legend
joined:10/22/10
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/22/10
Last Performance Experiences#9
Posted: 8/8/19 at 5:06pm
I’ve been to quite a few as well but these are the ones that really stick out to me.

My “first” final performance was when I went to Laura Bell Bundy’s final performance of Legally Blonde. LBB did many funny improv lines (“Bruiser loves Battlestar Galactica!”) and she received a long standing ovation. She started crying and pulled a tissue out of her bra and motioned for everyone to sit down, most did but a few others started clapping again and that went on for a bit longer. Many tears were shed during Legally Blonde and the finale as well.

Alice Ripley/Jen Damiano/Brian d’Arcy James final performance was incredible. I was in the second row and everyone was on fire. The sweetest part actually came from Adam during Perfect For You Reprise after Natalie finishes her “what if...” solo before he says “perfect for you. I will Be Perfect for you.” He was crying and stopped for a good 15 seconds.

The final performance of Fun Home. I saw Rebecca Luker in the lobby before we were allowed to come in and she couldn’t have been sweeter. I told her it was my boyfriends first time seeing the show and she said “god, I hope you brought some tissues!” We ended up sitting directly in front of her and on the way out she was asking him about the show. Allison Bechdel and creative team were all there (also Sydney Lucas and some of the other kids that have left the show sat in my row) and gave a really lovely speech after the show and they were all incredibly sweet and gracious with their time after.
magictodo123
Broadway Star
joined:3/18/19
Broadway Star
joined:
3/18/19
Last Performance Experiences#10
Posted: 8/8/19 at 6:10pm
I got extremely lucky in March and was able to buy a ticket to the final performance of Anastasia from someone who could no longer go. It was a night I’ll never forget. Everyone got thunderous applause on their entrances, the cast broke several times, it really was like a rock concert. Christy Altomare FINALLY got the standing ovation she deserved after “Journey To The Past” and I’m pretty sure people were still standing after the curtain came down for intermission. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It was also an amazing full circle moment for me; I’d grown up watching the animated movie, I saw the Hartford I was actually an usher at some point during the shows run, and I was fortunate enough to be in the audience at the final performance. I feel very, very lucky.
poisonivy2 Profile Photopoisonivy2 Profile Photo
poisonivy2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/16
Last Performance Experiences#11
Posted: 8/8/19 at 6:45pm

Speaking of last performances, it seems as if the last performance of Waitress is either holding back a chunk of seats from the public OR they've just decided to price hike because the cheapest available seats are $800.

markypoo Profile Photomarkypoo Profile Photo
markypoo
Broadway Star
joined:9/16/05
Broadway Star
joined:
9/16/05
Last Performance Experiences#12
Posted: 8/8/19 at 7:32pm
I was at the final performance of Side Show in January '98,
An incredible night for the show's die hard fans - of which I was not one.

The Capeman final performance, March '98: Paul Simon showed up, came on stage at the curtain call to a thundering ovation, and said "If this is a failure, what's a success?"

Roza final performance, October 1987: nothing extraordinary happened - but I enjoyed the show - and Georgia Brown.

James Joyce's The Dead final performance, April 2000: Alice Ripley gave a curtain speech that included a clever Christopher Walken joke/imitation.
AADA81 Profile PhotoAADA81 Profile Photo
AADA81
Leading Actor
joined:1/15/11
Leading Actor
joined:
1/15/11
Last Performance Experiences#13
Posted: 8/8/19 at 8:45pm

I have two:

For the last performance of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Lucie Arnaz came out as intermission ended and addressed the audience.  She'd been out with an injury when the closing went up and came to do the final performance though she was still unable to dance.  She explained that during her big second act duet, she'd start the song, would switch with with her understudy who would do the dancing, and then she'd come back on to finish the song.  When this happened, the understudy got a round of applause, Lucie got laughter and a round of applause when she reentered, and the audience responded with an ovation when the song ended.

For the last performance of Caroline, or Change, many cast members seemed extremely emotional during the performance.  I remember Veanne Cox had a particularly stunning moment in her Act I solo that brought the house down.  Tonya Pinkins seemed on the verge of tears during "Lot's Wife" and in the final moment in the show, Anika Noni Rose's voice had so much emotion it clutched into silence before she was able to resume.  A very touching moment.  During the bows, the young man who played Noah burst into tears and embraced Anika.  It was a great show with a great group of people on stage.

magictodo123
Broadway Star
joined:3/18/19
Broadway Star
joined:
3/18/19
Last Performance Experiences#14
Posted: 8/9/19 at 1:37pm

poisonivy2 said: "Speaking of last performances, it seems as if the last performance of Waitress is either holding back a chunk of seats from the public OR they've just decided to price hike because the cheapest available seats are $800."

Are you sure about that? I think the performance sold out. 

DottieD'Luscia Profile PhotoDottieD'Luscia Profile Photo
DottieD'Luscia
Broadway Legend
joined:7/23/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/23/03
Last Performance Experiences#15
Posted: 8/9/19 at 1:51pm

My first final performance was attending the original production of 42nd Street in 1989.  I then kind of made a tradition of seeing final performances.

One of the worst for audience obnoxiousness was for In the Heights.  I remember Hairspray being quite loud.  There were others that seemed like regular performances.  I think one of my favorites was the original production of Ragtime.  Audra was sitting directly behind me.

Hey Dottie! Did your colleagues enjoy the cake even though your cat decided to sit on it? ~GuyfromGermany
broadway86 Profile Photobroadway86 Profile Photo
broadway86
Broadway Legend
joined:10/8/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/8/03
Last Performance Experiences#16
Posted: 8/9/19 at 2:02pm

I was at the final performances of Saturday Night Fever (Orfeh only had to blink and the audience went nuts) and Les Liaisons dangereuses w/ Laura Linney (no speeches or anything, that I can recall).  

Jarethan
Broadway Legend
joined:2/10/11
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/10/11
Last Performance Experiences#17
Posted: 8/9/19 at 2:03pm

I did not see a lot of closing night performances over the years (college in Boston, worked in Manhattan and lived in NJ...didnt really relish going back to NYC after commuting 5 days.  But I saw a ew that were memorable...both the shows and the performances.

I was at the last performance of Gypsy with Angela Lansbury at the Winter Garden.  The audience was not over-the-top at any point in the show.  However,when Lansbury finished Rose's Turn, the audience stood as one, the first time (and for another 35 years or so) I had ever seen a SO during the show (and in those days, you hardly ever saw one after the show...I long for the days).  It was incredible.  They would not stop applauding, and then you heard the stomping sound that used to happen once in a while (vs. today's stupid yells).  She just stayed in character the entire time, which i thought was incredibly impressive.   

I also saw Jennifer Holliday's last performance in Dreamgirls (not the show's last performance, just hers).  Applause were just like at any performance (the audience could not go much crazier than they did during 'And I am Telling You' at every show, especially the way it is staged at the endow the number).  At the end of the performance, each cast member handed her a single rose, while the audience applauded hysterically.  Ironically, while her performance was excellent, it did not reach the greatness of the other 3 performances I had seen...her voice was very rough that night.

I was also at that final performance of Follies, having previously only seen it 5 times, as compared to Jay in Chelsea's number of viewings.  It was an incredibly exciting performances he indicated, but it was also a sad one, because everyone in the theatre knew it was a huge financial failure, and that we were never likely to see a revival that lived up to that original production...and we haven't seen one that came even close.

I also saw the last performance of Prettybelle in Boston.  Jule Styne, Gower Champion, Angela Lansbury (in a great performance).  Just did not work.  Another big show that should have been in a small theatre, although it really didn't matter.  Yet, the number 'When I'm Drunk' still remains one of the best numbers Lansbury has performed ever.  

I also plan to attend the closing performances of Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King, and in good health.   I figure that, given my current age of 68, I can count on living till I am at least as old as Methuselah.

 

Dollypop
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/15/03
Last Performance Experiences#18
Posted: 8/9/19 at 3:11pm
I have been to every HELLO, DOLLY! closing and each one has been joyous--the most recent one included. However, as I was leaving Shubert Alley to get to Penn Station, I made the mistake of turning around to take one last look at the electric sign reading: "BETTE MIDLER/HELLO DOLLY!" and I lost control of myself. I realized that at my age I'd never see another production of this show on Broadway and this show means the world to me.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
Miles2Go2 Profile PhotoMiles2Go2 Profile Photo
Miles2Go2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/10/17
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/10/17
Last Performance Experiences#19
Posted: 8/9/19 at 3:23pm

I was in the front row at the final performance of the revival of Torch Song. Michael Urie locked eyes with me at one point when he had a partnered seated scene at edge of the stage. Even better, the entire cast including Harvey came out to stagedoor and signed my window card and I got to briefly speak to each of them and thank them. Harvey was lovely and I still say Michael Urie is the loveliest actor I’ve ever met (first time was at Buyer & Cellar) at stage door. He actually took my hand and held it momentary (uninitiated by me; I was just holding my hand out for when he handed my window card back to me) and thanked me!

Updated On: 8/9/19 at 03:23 PM
Wick3 Profile PhotoWick3 Profile Photo
Wick3
Broadway Legend
joined:8/5/14
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/5/14
Last Performance Experiences#20
Posted: 8/9/19 at 3:37pm

qolbinau said: "I was thinking today I also went to the recent Sunday closing performance I THINK and it seemed rather low key. Nothing particularly exciting from the audience or performances really. I don’t know why, but while this revival ticked all the boxes and was ‘good’ did it really ignite passion in audiences? Not me."

I went to the closing performance of Sunday as well back in 2017 and I remember that last moment everyone got teary-eyed (and more emotional) as Jake passed by each and every character. That was the 5th time I watched the show and the most emotional I ever saw the cast. Other than that, I didn't think there was anything else special about it.

Wick3 Profile PhotoWick3 Profile Photo
Wick3
Broadway Legend
joined:8/5/14
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/5/14
Last Performance Experiences#21
Posted: 8/9/19 at 3:42pm

Miles2Go2 said: "I was in the front row at the final performance of the revival of Torch Song. Michael Urie locked eyes with me at one point when he had a partnered seated scene at edge of the stage. Even bette, the entire cast including Harvey came out to stagedoor and signed my window card and I got to briefly speak to each of them and thank them. Harvey was lovely and I still say Michael Urie is the loveliest actor I’ve ever met (first time was at Buyer & Cellar). He actually took my hand and held it momentary (uninitiated by me; I was just holding my hand out for when he handed my window card back to me) and thanked me!"

Loved Torch Song!!! I was there too and met you at stage door. So jealous you sat in the front row (I sat front mezz) and it you're right that everyone was so gracious at stage door.

I also went to the Hello Dolly final performance last year and still remember Gavin Creel completely losing character for 2 seconds! Such a special performance that I'll remember a long time. 

Daniel M Profile PhotoDaniel M Profile Photo
Daniel M
Understudy
joined:7/25/18
Understudy
joined:
7/25/18
Last Performance Experiences#22
Posted: 8/9/19 at 7:18pm
I was at the final performance of NATASHA, PIERRE, AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 and it was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had. Lots of extended applause and crying throughout.
RWPrincess
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/18
Broadway Star
joined:
12/7/18
Last Performance Experiences#23
Posted: 8/9/19 at 11:18pm

magictodo123 said: "I got extremely lucky in March and was able to buy a ticket to the final performance of Anastasia from someone who could no longer go. It was a night I’ll never forget. Everyone got thunderous applause on their entrances, the cast broke several times, it really was like a rock concert. Christy Altomare FINALLY got the standing ovation she deserved after “Journey To The Past” and I’m pretty sure people were still standing after the curtain came down for intermission. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It was also an amazing full circle moment for me; I’d grown up watching the animated movie, I saw the Hartford I was actually an usher at some point during the shows run, and I was fortunate enough to be in the audience at the final performance. I feel very, very lucky. "

I was also at the final Anastasia performance and I agree with everything said here. It was a magical afternoon that I will never forget. I’m still sad that this show closed when it did as I thought it could have at least gone through the Summer. I rearranged my travel schedule to attend that final performance and then ended up seeing the tour for the first time 3 days later in Chicago. It helps to know the show is still out there for the foreseeable future even if not in NY. 

I plan to attend the final Beautiful performance in October. I bought my ticket the day of the announcement. 

 

MichelleCraig Profile PhotoMichelleCraig Profile Photo
MichelleCraig
Broadway Star
joined:5/28/14
Broadway Star
joined:
5/28/14
Last Performance Experiences#24
Posted: 8/9/19 at 11:29pm

I saw the final performance of the original production of PARADE at Lincoln Center. It was very powerful and moving as the audience was more than peppered with devotees of the show. I still love this show and that performance cemented my love of it.

So far, I think the best recollection in this thread was from the poster who recalled the final performance of FOLLIES; the original Broadway production. I saw it during previews in Boston...
 

Updated On: 8/9/19 at 11:29 PM
Lauren2
Featured Actor
joined:5/10/18
Featured Actor
joined:
5/10/18
Last Performance Experiences#25
Posted: 8/10/19 at 12:38am
I had some special moments seeing the last show of Year 1 of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I agree with what they said about Noma’s speech. It was really emotional. Also at the end of the show Jamie and Sam got emotional in their last scene. During the last show Anthony Boyle who plays Scorpius was sick and wasn’t in the show that day. He came out during their second bow and was very emotional. It was really touching and you could see how much he loved the show and being a part of it.