- Adam Rothenberg from Adaumbelle’s Quest co-hosts!
- Sexy Performers Week at Broadway in Bryant Park
- Word Association with Chester Gregory‘s best roles
- One Night Stand, the documentary about the 24-hour musicals
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Did this week’s Bryant Park concert rock your world with the sexy people that performed? What is your favorite role of Chester Gregory’s to date? Have you ever attended the 24-hour musicals event? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to enter our Follies ticket giveaway for a chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to the show!
The oldie musicals came to Broadway in Bryant Park this week to show the newbies who’s boss. The lively casts of The Phantom of the Opera, The Fantasticks, Hair, and Anything Goes performed their classic, well-trodden material with fresh enthusiasm.
At first, I wasn’t so sure about the Phantom set. Kyle Barisich and Marni Raab sang a sweet “All I Ask of You,” but the acting was so out of context on the Bryant Park stage that I had trouble holding back a few snide laughs. I shut up when Hugh Panaro took the stage for “Music of the Night.” The Broadway A-lister and long-time Phantom sang the famous number with remarkable control, and his power notes filled the park effortlessly.
VIDEO: Hugh Panaro sings “Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera
Editor’s note: Stage Rush will be on vacation over the holidays; coverage will resume on January 3.
- Seeing The Fantasticks for the first time
- Broadway Mad Libs with Matt Leisy of The Fantasticks
- The final episode of SRTV for 2010. SRTV will return January 7
- Broadway grosses
(Using an iPhone or iPad? Watch on YouTube)
What do you think, Rushers? Have you seen The Fantasticks? Have you caught Matt Leisy’s performance? Did you enjoy Matt’s Broadway Mad Libs? Thank you for a fantastic year, Rushers! Have a wonderful holiday and New Year. Stage Rush will return on January 3 with an interview with Hunter Ryan Herdlicka from A Little Night Music, then catch SRTV on January 7. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
The Fantasticks is giving Matt Leisy his voice, literally and figuratively. After playing the Mute (yes, a non-speaking role) for a year and understudying the young lover Matt, Leisy was promoted full-time to the role, which includes the ballad “Soon It’s Gonna Rain,” on December 6. The Northwestern University graduate who split his childhood between England and Kansas sat down with Stage Rush to discuss understudying, role ownership, and shielding eyes from glitter.
Catch Matt Leisy’s appearance on Stage Rush TV this Friday!
You’ve achieved what so many understudies hope for—you took over the role you were covering. How did you feel when you were told?
I was definitely very excited and relieved as well. I was wondering if it was going to happen. When I was offered the role of the Mute and the understudy to Matt in the show, it was kind of inferred that if an opportunity arises, they’d like me to play the part. So I knew it was a possibility. The fact that the opportunity came was a big relief.
What did it feel like in your first official week in the role?
I’ve had the opportunity to go on a lot as an understudy. Kind of unusually a lot. A while ago, I was able to let go and realize it’s not about just making your mark and singing the right notes. I was able to play then, but this has been a great time to play on stage with the other actors and figure out what my Matt is about. Each show I’ve been trying new things.
Do you feel freer to try new things, now that the role is yours?
I was more tentative. Now there’s more sense of ownership and an extra sense of confidence, because this is my part. Read more
After a hiatus from Broadway in Bryant Park last week due to some traveling, it seems the lunch-time concert series missed me, because it put on perhaps its strongest show of the season so far. What seemed like a strange lineup of mostly off-Broadway shows (Million Dollar Quartet and Fela! being the only Broadway offerings) delivered strong performances from each cast that included stars and no less than 10 minutes of stage time—something we haven’t seen in recent weeks.
The concert started off with a bang, with the Broadway newbie Million Dollar Quartet. Coming off of a Tony nomination for Best Musical and a win for supporting actor Levi Kreis, the honored actor and his cast mates took the stage with their instruments. Most casts sing to recorded instrumentals, as an orchestra usually can’t fit on the Bryant Park stage. However, since in Quartet, the actors are the orchestra, this made for a unique performance. The cast of Quartet are fantastic musicians and performers—every performance I’ve seen of theirs has been engaging, and this concert was no exception. It was refreshing to see the actors out of their Lewis/Presley/Perkins/Cash garb, instead donning jeans and Quartet t-shirts; it brought some of the cheese out of the performance, leaving their talent and chemistry alone on the stage. Lance Guest and Eddie Clendening, who play Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley respectively, were not in attendance, but their understudies were, and any difference in performance was nearly unnoticeable. A standout was Elizabeth Stanley, who plays Elvis’ girlfriend Dyanne, and usually fades into the background. On the Bryant Park stage, Stanley was feisty and bubbled over with sex and raw vocals. Her rendition of “I Hear You Knocking,” made an impression on me that hadn’t before upon seeing a musical preview and the show itself. Read more