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BWW Blog: 10 Performances That Impacted Me

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Here are ten large scale performances that impacted me.

Years back, I saw a few of articles that featured famous Broadway actors talking about performances that they particularly enjoyed watching over the years. While those articles focused on fellow performers rather than the shows themselves, I thought doing something among those lines for myself could help me go back down memory lane and reflect on which shows particularly had an impact on me long after the final bows. For this particular blog post, I'll be focusing on shows that I saw either on Broadway, Off-Broadway or regionally. To be honest, if I included any other kinds of shows in this post, I would have tens to maybe even hundreds of shows. But now, without further ado, here are ten large scale performances that impacted me:

BWW Blog: 10 Performances That Impacted MeBeauty and the Beast, Broadway 2005

This was the first show I ever saw on Broadway. Therefore it makes this show a pretty obvious choice for the list. However, it was an amazing production based on my favorite Disney movie of all time. From the moment I entered the theater, it was magic. Everything from the scenery and costumes to the concessions and the building itself looked as grand as they could ever appear. It was my first time seeing such a top notch production with some of the most talented performers in the country at that time. This show was where I discovered how ambitious and powerful theater can really be. Especially since I was a wide eyed seven year old at the time.

BWW Blog: 10 Performances That Impacted MeThe Little Mermaid, Broadway 2008

Another Disney show. Around this time, that was mostly the kind of Broadway shows I saw. However, what makes this production stand out to me was how this was the first time I became a huge fan of a particular Broadway performer. I was watching Disney 365 one day when I learned about the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid and its lead actress Sierra Boggess. I just thought she was so pretty and a very talented singer and overall performer. I've been following her career ever since. Nowadays, what particularly stands out is that she has played the role of Christine Daae in several different productions of my favorite show The Phantom of the Opera (and originated the role in its sequel Love Never Dies). Unfortunately, I have yet to see Sierra play Christine in person but I'm honored that I got to see her in her Broadway debut as Ariel.

BWW Blog: 10 Performances That Impacted MeThe Phantom of the Opera, Broadway 2010

Of course, I have to write about getting the opportunity to see my all time favorite musical. Again, I didn't get to see Sierra Boggess, but I got to see practically everything else that I adored about the show up close. I also got to see just how much this show can mean to people. There were some that were seeing it for their third or fourth time! Additionally, I was blown away by the special effects. Not just the chandelier. The flames that rose from the stage in the cemetery scene was electrifying and got everybody on the edge of their seats. There's just simply no way that I'll ever get sick of the show's story, music and overall aesthetic.

BWW Blog: 10 Performances That Impacted MeEvita, Broadway 2012

Alright, a major reason why this show is on the list is because my Dad and I got front row tickets and Ricky Martin was only a few feet away from us. But it was still great to see a different "version" of Evita. Prior to seeing this production, I watched the 1996 film version of Evita constantly and often listed to the Patti LuPone version of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" on my iPod. This particular production brought its own flair and execution of the story. I really felt the sense of being in Argentina with the choreography and scenery and I enjoyed many of the show's staging and choreography choices. While I had the opportunity to see Ricky Martin so up close, I was also sitting behind a couple of people who were constantly going back and forth with their opinions of the show and past versions of it. Back then, it sometimes ruined the illusion and my own experience of the show. Now that I think about it though, it's good to have the perspective of others and sometimes it's good to discuss and/or debate about a production.

BWW Blog: 10 Performances That Impacted MeThe Wizard of Oz, Ed Mirvish Theatre 2013

Finally! Something that wasn't on Broadway. It would have been great if it was though. Andrew Lloyd Webber (who is the man responsible for The Phantom of the Opera) created his own version of The Wizard of Oz for the West End and later brought the show to Toronto. While there's nothing drastically different about this show in comparison to the original book and 1939 movie, it had its own special charm and child at heart like warmth. It was charming and still so memorable even to this day. If it one day comes to New York, it would stand out well and would be slightly different from yet another Disney musical for young audiences. However, it may not be the kind of show for the Big Apple right now. Oh well. It was still great to get a sense of Toronto's theater scene though.

BWW Blog: 10 Performances That Impacted MeAvenue Q, Off Broadway 2014

My Uncle Paul and my Aunt Pat took me to see this show in order to prepare for my school's production of Avenue Q. It was definitely going to be a different experience for me considering it was going to be my first time performing with puppets. However, not only did I get to see expertise puppeteering but I also got to see why this show is so timeless and funny after all these years. While at the show, I purchased a book all about the history and inspirations for the show. I even got to meet one of the puppets (and puppeteers) after the show. I got the full Avenue Q experience and I was then ready to bring that experience to my school's production.

BWW Blog: 10 Performances That Impacted MeIt's Only a Play, Broadway 2015

I remember writing about seeing this play for my application to the Center For Creative Youth at Wesleyan University. I had probably never seen so many famous actors up close in a single production prior to this show, let alone see multiple people I particularly admired in person all at once. However, what ended up really standing out to me about this show was how everybody worked together as an ensemble. Martin Short was technically the main character, but it felt like everybody was equally the star of the show. Everybody played off each other so well in order to bring out the comedy, even when a mishap occurred. The teamwork that was part of this show is the kind I wish could be part of every production that I'm involved in.

BWW Blog: 10 Performances That Impacted MeLove Letters, The Bushnell 2016

The only production on this list to take place not too far from where I live. And yet, it brought in Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw, the iconic starts of the 1970 film Love Story. This production was a different kind of love story though. In fact, it was just the two actors reading the script out loud while sitting at a table onstage. It was almost like a staged reading except more professional and absolutely no props at all. That didn't matter though. Both actors told the story so vividly. I was instantly able to imagine the story itself happening before my very eyes. That to me is one of the beauties of acting.

BWW Blog: 10 Performances That Impacted MeNotes From The Field, Off Broadway 2016

Anna Deavere Smith is one of the most well known solo performers of our generation. Yet I include this production because I've always been fascinated by one person shows. It takes a lot of energy and strong technique to be able to carry a show. Imagine being the only cast member. It still must be fun though to get to play so many different characters at once. I consider myself to be an independent person and I've experimenting with my one person shows that can hopefully come to fruition one day. For now, I've had the privilege in seeing of the masters of the solo show.

BWW Blog: 10 Performances That Impacted MeSunset Boulevard, Broadway 2017

This is unfortunately the most recent Broadway show I've seen. College and rock concerts got in the way. Yet it showed me why I will always be a passionate fan and member of the theater scene and that I should see another Broadway show as soon as I can. Andrew Lloyd Webber also created this show and he once again provides incredible and beautiful music alongside a couple of complex characters. Most notably, Norma Desmond. She is an aging actress who yearns for the stardom and passion of her youth. She's such a three dimensional character and yet Glenn Close dominates over practically every other actress who has played the character. She has the perfect voice, look and vulnerability for the role. She is easily able to convince the audience that she's someone worth sympathizing and giving another chance to be in the limelight. It may be the last time Glenn Close plays the role onstage but it definitely won't be my last time seeing a Broadway show.

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