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.
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" 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.
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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...
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