Curtain Call - October 18

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Curtain Call october 2018 - issue 01

Sharon rose--wicked--be more chill--alexis molnar-the lightning thief--pretty woman--and more...

A Magazine for Broadway fans,written by Broadway fans.


Contents 04



the run through with Alexis Molnar


the lightning thief


behind the curtain


everybody's talking about jamie


Must close


be more chill



with Sharon Rose

Pretty Woman Cast Album Jagged Little Pill


Defying Gravity


stars of broadway


broadway fanart


e r t a e h t The t s i l y a l p b clu

By Dante Rivera and Julia Sherman

All That Jazz - Chicago The Sound Of Music - The Sound Of Music What I Did For Love - A Chorus Line You Can’t Stop The Beat - Hairspray Seasons Of Love - Rent One Day More - Les Misérables Memory - Cats Don’t Rain On My Parade - Funny Girl Tomorrow - Annie Don’t Cry For Me Argentina - Evita Cabaret - Cabaret And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going Dreamgirls Music Of The Night - The Phantom Of The Opera Defying Gravity - Wicked


Share your favourite with us ! © All Rights Reserved

the run through

r a n l o M is x e l A h wit

© Michael Kushner

We talked with Alexis Molnar (Dear Evan Hansen and Rise) and asked her some quick questions about her dream role, favorite musical and inspiration. Here’s what she had to say:

What is your favorite song to sing in the car?

What is the last TV show you binge watched?

Who is your biggest inspiration in your life?

Anything 80s. Throw in the occasional «Since U Been Gone» by Miss Kelly Clarkson.

Currently binging «KIDDING» on showtime… even though there’s only two episodes out. That, or a random season of Drag Race.

So many. My mom, Toni Collette, Gaga, Madeline Kahn and Patti Smith are who come to mind immediately.

What is your favorite show on Broadway right now? Once On This Island.

If you could switch lives with any character on Broadway who would it be? Phantom Of The Opera

What is your favorite guilty pleasure food? I feel no guilt when eating something that I like (even if it may be terrible for my insides).

What is your dream role? Lady M, Olive, Laura in Glass Menagerie.

What was the first Broadway show you ever saw? Enchanted April. First musical was Mamma Mia or Hairspray I think.

What is your favorite song from Spring Awakening? «The Guilty Ones» or «Those You’ve Known»

If you could play any role in Mean Girls who would it be? I haven’t seen the musical yet, but I would say probably the mom/Ms. Norbury track. Or to be involved somehow in the Kevin Gnapoor rap or Karen.

Who would you want to play you in a musical about your life? My best friend Noah Virgile or Allison Janney. Words by Madison White


The Lightning Thief

“ look

i didn't wanna be a half-blood

© Jeremy Daniel


begins the novel Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. “If you’re reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom or dad told you about your birth and try to lead a normal life.” From the first line, middle schooler Percy Jackson clearly wants nothing more than normalcy, which seems hard enough as he struggles with dyslexia and ADHD, but poor Percy’s troubles multiply when he discovers his absent father is the god Poseidon. After a brief stint at Camp Half-Blood, a gathering place for children of the gods, an oracle’s message sends him on a cross-country road trip to find Zeus’s missing lightning bolt. Four sequels followed The Lightning Thief’s 2005 publication, creating a series that for some rivaled Harry Potter. Reader Ani Lagisetty describes it as “timeless”—the type of book he can go back to at any time in his life— and he’s not the only one to express this type of deep attachment. However, one major difference separates the two communities of fans. While wannabe wizards flocked to movie theatres to see Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint embody their beloved characters, the Percy Jackson fans weren’t quite so lucky. The movie adaptation of The Lightning Thief received a less than 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and disastrous reviews from both critics and avid fans of the books, many of whom refused to see future films. The world of demigods seemed sadly confined to Rick Riordan’s pages. This is, until Joe Tracz, the author behind smash hit Be More Chill, and the multitalented Rob Rokicki entered the picture. They paired up to create a musical version, originally presented as a one-hour performance in Theatreworks USA’s free series and followed by an updated Off-Broadway production in March 2017.

The Lightning Thief stays true to its written roots while embodying a classic musical. It features a traditional Broadway score, from ballads (“Good Kid,” “The Tree on the Hill”) to comedic tunes (“Another Terrible Day,” “Drive”) to an opening number that establishes Percy’s world and throws him head first into battle (“The Day I Got Expelled”). It also follows the book’s storyline to the letter. The cast starred Broadway alumni like Chris McCarrell (Les Miserables) and George Salazar (Godspell, Be More Chill) and reflected Riordan’s trademark commitment to diversity. And unlike the movie, this adaptation pleases everyone. Tumblr user @brookeslohst statessays, “I fell in love immediately… both of the writers clearly knew and loved the books just as much as the fans. So much of the dialogue and so many lines from the songs came straight from the series.” Even the actors realized the importance of the story they told on stage every night. Fan Julia Sammartino observes, “The way these actors performed was as if they were in the Palace Theater, not just a small little Off-Broadway show south of the heart of the city.” Cast members from the original OffBroadway production, such as Kristin Stokes and Chris McCarrell, even chose to follow the show on tour. The saying may go that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but it does for this musical, bound to be a cult classic for both musical and book fans for years to come. Words by Moira Armstrong



Beautiful: the Carole King musical, Motown, Hamilton,... Your career is already impressive at such a young age. Can you tell us a bit about your theater journey?

Get to know her When she’s not on stage telling the story of one of the most clever founding father, Sharon Rose is performing with her band The Thorns and The Divas show. You may have already seen her rocking the stage in Beautiful : The Carole King Musical (Aldwych), Motown The Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre), Caroline Or Change (Hampstead Theatre) or Sister Act (Southend & Tunbridge). © Gabriel Mokake


Thank you so much. I’ve had such a wonderful journey, which makes me so grateful. I started off as a singer doing gigs with my band around the country. A friend then asked me to join an Am-Dram show outside of London where I met my agent and got an incredible opportunity to audition for some West End shows. That’s when I got into Beautiful. I still travel with my band and write music when I can which is a huge part of my passion.

How does it feel to continue to tell the story of Eliza, Alexander and the other characters on stage every nights ? While I don’t get to play the role every night, I do find it incredible how each character is renewed in my mind every day. The amazing writing truly captured the essence of well developed characters that aren’t just one dimensional so I am constantly amazed by the new things I find every time I get on stage. It’s a blessing. Eliza’s story is such a beautiful one and in fact, as you see in the show, her story as the hero truly begins at the end of Hamilton’s which is another amazing facet of Lin’s writing style.

« i find it incredible how each character is renewed in my mind every night »

How does it feel to be part of such a big show? Did you feel any pressure from the community or the fans? There’s definitely a lot of pressure to get everything right all the time. Even though the wonderful cast sings the songs every night, the songs truly belong to the fans and they take so much ownership of them, which is great but also really daunting sometimes ha. I worry about getting lyrics wrong all the time. Having said that, I feel so fortunate to be part of such an important story. Tommy Kail, Alex Lacamoire, Lin Manuel Miranda and Andy Blankenbuehler truly are the dream team.

You recently made your debut as Eliza. We were there to witness it, you blew us all away. What was it like, performing from this perspective? Thank you so much. My debut was a little surreal and I truly don’t remember it because it all went so fast but performing the role of Eliza truly stopped me in my tracks. It constantly reminds me to stop for a moment and think about my next move. She was such an intelligent woman and she challenged one of the smartest founding fathers of America constantly so it is so important for me to take a moment before every scene to truly focus on what I am going to say and how I am going to say it, rather than go off of muscle memory alone.

Did being a part of this show ramp up your interest in America’s history? I was always really interested in American history. I studied it at uni and at secondary school. I just never knew who Hamilton was because history is always written by the winners and as you saw, Jefferson won the presidency ha. The show helped me see the other side of the same coin and I’ve enjoyed every minute.

How do you think the show resonates to a younger audience? The obvious answer is that it’s a Hip-Hopera so that definitely resonates with the younger audiences, but it is also a story about a young man trying to make his way in life despite everything going against him. If that isn’t the story of the lives of millions of young people, I don’t know what is.

What’s the process of understanding each characters you’re playing? Research! I am a History graduate so I truly enjoy the thrill of reading up on a character, creating a map of their life and immersing myself in it. Next to playing the role, that is my favourite part of the process.

« NEXT TO PLAYING THE ROLE, THE RESEARCH IS MY FAVOURITE PART OF understanding a character » What’s your preshow rituals? Any songs that get you in the mood? I pray, I warm-up and I like to have lots of water and a ginger shot.

What’s in your playlist at the moment? «Hiding Place» by Tori Kelly

See Sharon in

Hamilton west end 9

Everybody is talking about him words by Lena fontaine

“Everybody’s talking ‘bout the boy in the dress who was born to impress, Everybody’s talking ‘bout the things that he wore, Everybody’s listening ‘cause we need to know more, Everybody’s talking ‘bout the boy in the wig ‘cause he’s gonna be big”

projection. What is so brilliant about this show is also the juxtaposition of cultural differences and its capacity of bringing thousand of kids into the Apollo Theatre to witness the beauty of this coming of age story.

and confident attitude, audience members can see all the vulnerability of the main character when he realises that his dad’s support was only a creation of his mother. That’s where the show really strikes: Jamie is only 16, his classmates at Mayfield School see him as a punching bag, and his teacher Miss Hedge doesn’t believe in his dream and has no interest in helping him. He’s an average kid with a dream, and he’s willing to do anything to make it happen, even if it takes time and courage. Eventually, Jamie shows up to prom, not as his drag persona Mimi Me, but simply as Jamie New, assuming his true self and diva-like attitude.

For those who may not be familiar with Jamie, here’s what the show is about: Jamie New, age 16, has only one wish: to be in drag at the school prom. Living with his mom Margaret in Sheffield, the future doesn’t look as bright as it should for him. To protect her son from her ex-husband’s narrow-mind, his mom buys Jamie a pair of red stiletto heels, sparking up his interest to put together his dream prom outfit. At a drag-shop, he meets From start to finish, the energy Hugo Battersby, aka Loco Chaon stage is undeniable. From nelle, and buys his first dress, the pop music to the frontman then performs at Legs Eleven, a John McCrea, you can see all drag club, where he’s joined by a The show earned five nominathe passion radiating from the fabulous trio of drag queens. tions at the Olivier Awards, inactors and the musical numbers, cluding two for John McCrea and mixing flashing lights with video But beneath the sparkly facade Josie Walker. But the true secret “A burst of joy and pure happiness in the West End”: this is how you could describe this coming of age musical. Inspired by a true story, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie follows Jamie, a 16-year-old drag queen on a journey to find himself. Along the way, he finds high-heels and freedom, escaping away from the working class part of Sheffield, and the bigotry of his dad.


of this musical lies in its leading male figure’s performance. With his bleach blond hair and long legs, McCrea managed to capture what it’s like to be a gay teenager in the 21st century. He embraces his wants and wins his greatest battles with pride and confidence. Throughout the show, you’ll find yourself in awe and regularly impressed by McCrea’s performance, enhanced by his multiple scene-stealing moments. Behind all the sparkles and fabulous tracks, the show also deals with a lot of important topics such as LGBTQ violence, prejudice, and empowerment. The diverse and talented young ensemble also earns major bonus points for the

role they play in bringing this amazing story to life.

© Johan Persson

If you happen to be visiting London in the near future, don’t waste any time and go see this fabulous show at the Apollo Theatre.

“ I am not a super hero, I am just a boy in a dress. Oh, Jamie, you are so much more than a boy in a dress!


must close septembe © Jenny Anderson

Although Broadway’s success as a whole is largely dependent on its ability to bring the newest, most relevant performances to the stage season after season, it’s still heartbreaking when fan favorite shows set closing dates—especially if those closing dates happen to be on the same day. Here’s a short look at three shows that closed their curtains for the last time this month.

Gettin’ The Band


Back Together

fter thirty previews and forty performances on Broadway, the new musical, Gettin’ the Band Back Together, played its final performance on September 16th. The show tells the story of middle-aged businessman Mitch Papadopolous who returns to his New Jersey hometown after losing his job, and reunites his high school band for another shot at glory. Featuring Broadway alumni such as Mitchell Jarvis (Rock of Ages, Fiddler on the Roof), Paul Whitty (Amelie, Once), and Manu Narayan (My Fair Lady, Bombay Dreams) as well as Marilu Henner, star of the TV show Taxi and the original Broadway production of Grease. This show was one that touched fans of all ages. We send our congratulations to the entire cast and crew on a short but sweet run, and best wishes for both their futures and the upcoming awards season, for which the show will be eligible.




f all the new mus SquarePants: The M that people were uns fans of the TV show an it were able to agree everyone could enjoy. the story of the town o have to come togethe tive volcano is only a destroying the town. T as Ethan Slater, Danny Awakening), Gavin Lee Wesley Taylor (The Adda Josey, many of whom with the show. The sco for a few ballads that a ten to), and is unique as it features the work including Brendon Uri and John Legend. Bik welcome here,” could though it’s sad to say show, we want to cong outstanding run, but a of ticket sales in their highest grossing week seeing what’s to come

© Marc J. Franklin

© Sara Krulwich

er 16th

b Squarepants

sicals this season, SpongeBob Musical was perhaps the one sure about. Despite this, both nd people who had never seen that SpongeBob was a show SpongeBob SquarePants tells of Bikini Bottom, whose citizens er after they discovered an acday away from erupting and The show features actors such y Skinner, Lilli Cooper (Spring e (Mary Poppins, Les Misérables), ams Family, Smash), and Jai’len made their Broadway debuts ore is upbeat and exciting (save are equally as enjoyable to lise from other Broadway shows of many popular songwriters, ie, Sara Bareilles, David Bowie, kini Bottom’s motto, “All are d not have been more true. Algoodbye to such an amazing gratulate them on not only an also for making over $1 million r final week—making it their k of 2018. We look forward to e from the cast.



he 2018 revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Carousel shut its doors on September 16th, following a season that saw it garner a whopping 11 Tony Award nominations. The production officially opened in April of this year to critical acclaim, especially thanks to the reimagined choreography of New York Ballet mastermind, Justin Peck, who won a Tony for his efforts. After being absent from the lights of Broadway for nearly 20 years, this latest revival brought Carousel back to the spotlight by casting Joshua Henry (Violet, Hamilton) as carnival barker Billy Bigelow, and Jessie Mueller (Waitress, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) as his love interest, Julie Jordan. It went on to round out an all-star cast with Grammy-winning opera singer Renée Fleming and former green girl Lindsay Mendez (Wicked, Dogfight). Mendez would also receive a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical in her role as Carrie Pipperidge. The show also won the Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show. With a star-studded cast bolstered by timeless Rodgers and Hammerstein classics like “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “If I Loved You”, it came as a bit of a surprise when it was announced that the show would be playing its final performance around six months after its official opening date. We’d like to congratulate the entire cast and crew of Carousel on a great run and wish them good luck in their future endeavors, on and off the stage.

Words by Jordan Nash-Boulden, Gavin Dorval, Moira Armstrong


You won't feel left out or unsure

Š Maria Baranova

Words by Rebekah Wittman.


How an Unexpected Audience Brought a Musical to Broadway


f you haven’t heard the names of Michael Mell, Boyf Riends, or the infamous SQUIP by now, you’re in the minority. Broadway fans—and people who have never heard a show tune in their lives—have banded together to form a very recent and fervent obsession with Joe Iconis’s musical, Be More Chill. The story follows Jeremy Heere’s junior year of high school, in which he explores a new world of possibilities as a high school student implant a supercomputer in his brain, teaching him how to be “cool” and “popular” in order to impress theatre geek Christine Canigula. As wild and unbelievable as the story sounds, the show’s path, ultimately leading to the Lyceum Theatre this coming spring, is just as intense. Premiering in 2015, Be More Chill had little to no fan base outside of those who adored the book it was based off of, written by the late Ned Vizzini and published over ten years prior. It’s almost unexplainable how its popularity skyrocketed, starting in April 2017. There’s no obvious reason why, but by June of 2017, this small production had become as well known in the mouths of teenagers as Dear Evan Hansen and Heathers. Teens who had never heard of Andrew Lloyd Webber or Patti Lupone would enthusiastically perform renditions of «I Love Play Rehearsal» in their bedrooms, or sob to themselves over «Michael in the Bathroom.» A new generation of theatre fans was being created.

The sudden hit found itself Off-Broadway earlier this year, and shortly thereafter announced a Broadway transfer, which many fans saw coming. It’s safe to say there’s never been a show like this on the Great White Way before. Fans have had their fair share of teenage angst stories (Next to Normal, Dear Evan Hansen, Spring Awakening) and strange science fiction adaptations finding their way onto the stage (Young Frankenstein, SpiderMan: Turn Off the Dark, Rocky Horror Picture Show), but Iconis has managed to combine these two opposing forces into a timeless piece of fun art that pokes fun at some of the most common tropes in media today. At first glance, Be More Chill appears to be an entertaining way to spend a few hours in the city, but there’s more to it than that - there must be, for it to become as big as it did. It’s one thing to create an incredible show, but it’s another entirely for the Internet to love and adore it so much that it goes to Broadway. I went directly to the source of those obsessed with all things musical theatre to figure out how, exactly, the message and power of Be More Chill set a fire in hearts of teenagers around the globe to the point of a Broadway transfer with the majority of the original cast. I logged onto Tumblr. Infamous for discourse and drawings of the founding fathers in flower crowns, Tumblr spreads both musical recommendations and drama with the snap of its dark blue fingers. I spoke to Tumblr user @moogs-art on the subject of how she found herself in love with such a niche concept. «I got into [Be More Chill] around last April!» she said. «I was getting into musical theatre after seeing Wicked on Broadway and listening to Hamilton, and songs from this musical showed up in my recommended on Youtube!»


been into musical theatre since I was four, and more recently... I found Be More Chill! Sadly, there wasn’t really a fanbase for it at the time, since it was late 2016, but I stuck with it and look what happened!»

© Maria Baranova

The fan behind the screen, Morgan, is currently creating a fanzine based off of the show to help raise money for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, as the show’s material references depression and suicide - in addition to the original author, Vizzini, having taken his life. «This musical means so much to myself and many other people,» She wrote to me, «and I figured a zine would be a fun and creative way to show our appreciation [and] making this just felt important.» Similar projects, such as the BMC Rainbow Zine raised $210 for The Trevor Project. This was the kind of Internet fandom that I knew and loved: full of people with a healthy and beneficial passion for something incredible and determined to create more content, usually found in fan fiction and fan art. There’s a second side to these sorts of crazes, and Elliot Stark was willing to talk to me about it. He goes by the URL «hey-hamlet-bmc» (which references a moment in the show where Jeremy’s supercomputer, known as a SQUIP, criticizes him for speaking too dramatically), and considers himself one of the first fans. «Not to sound like a hipster,» he joked. «... [but] I’ve


While adoring the show and the friends he’s made from being active online, he acknowledges the flaws and challenges posed by finding such extreme success with a young fanbase. «I don’t know how to explain to you that you should leave actors and their loved ones the f**k alone,» He posted in response to actor Gerard Canonico speaking out against threatening and angry text messages that he and others have received. Canonico, who plays popular boy Rich Goranski and gives Jeremy the idea to buy a SQUIP in the show, went to Instagram yesterday to post a screenshot of a text he had received, reading «do not mess with the bmc fandom». Stark informed me that this wasn’t the first instance of this kind of personal encroachment. «They got his girlfriend’s number as well, right after a story Gerard posted with her on Instagram, and actually called her,» he said, referring to the so-called ‘fans’ who harassed Canonico the first time. «They also contacted me personally through my phone number which I’ve since taken off of social media (my fault) and spammed me with 204 messages similar to the ones sent to Gerard while I was in class today.» The actions of the «bmc fandom» range from these horrible messages to uplifting Twitter threads to pieces of bread stapled to a pole outside of their theatre. Yes, really.

© Maria Baranova

Despite a few bad eggs, Stark refuses to let the show be ruined for him. He answered the question I’ve been asking the best when he told me that he thinks «Be More Chill is unique because it captures so many different parts of humanity while still sticking to the story it tells. Each character has a personality and a big ‘moment’ in the musical that they can call theirs—even Jeremy’s dad. To me, it’s really interesting to see so many different types of people get the attention they deserve.… I believe the psychological aspect of Be More Chill is also appealing! The ‘hate who they hate’ mentality and finding your own voice are played with spectacularly!» No other musical has done this before. They’ve never created such fun and unique characters for teenagers with such important messages woven between lines about burning down houses and eating frozen yogurt. While remaining in the genre of music that fans can scream from their car on a road trip, Iconis’s show finds a way to tackle teen sexuality, consent, alcohol and drug use, relationships with parents, ending friendships, peer pressure, social media, popularity, and what it means to be authentic along with one of the best soundtracks of the past five years. Although often dismissed as a ‘dumb popular show’, there’s a reason why it’s been so successful and why a cult following found Be More Chill a place on Broadway: It’s just that good. It deserves it. It’s changing lives, one ‘c-c-c-come on!’ at a time.


The ’ s r e t i r W s w e i v Re


What’s hot on broadway? 18

pretty woman

We can’t go back to before after listening to Pretty

cast album Woman : the musical Words by Constance Drugeot


ivian Ward may feel like she “ain’t Cinderella”, but for us, Samantha Barks became a true princess portraying the sassy hooker. As the production of Pretty Woman: the Musical has just released its original cast album, we are rediscovering the wonderful yet atypical love story of Vivian and Edward through the beautiful voices of Samantha Barks, Andy Karl, Orfeh, and many others. The musical, based on the 1990 movie of the same name starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, is as much a smash hit, featuring fantastic original tracks composed by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. First of all, let’s talk about how Samantha Barks shines as Vivian. Not only does she play the role with perfection, bringing both sass and glamour, she also has such an incredible voice that you almost wish that she had more songs. Whatever she does, Samantha puts her everything into it. It might be in “Anywhere But Here”, where you can feel Vivian’s longing and desire to escape the life she is trapped in, or in the emotional ballad “This Is My Life”, where you just want to give her a hug and protect her from all of her pain and misery; or even in the fabulous, uplifting anthem that is “I Can’t Go Back”, for which solely Samantha could get a Tony Award nomination if we’re being honest. She brings such emotion and passion to the character, from a cheeky prostitute to an endearing woman trying to find her way - and she only does it through her voice! Is there anything she cannot do? I don’t think so.

Yet, Samantha is not the only one to stand out on that fantastic soundtrack. Indeed, Broadway veteran Andy Karl here portrays skillfully the not-soheartless Edward Lewis. Andy gives the role a renewed passion and freedom, especially as we hear him put his heart and soul in the song “Something About Her”. This song reflects Edward’s dreams and hopes, embodied by Vivian; as it is quite similar to her own song “Anywhere But Here”. You also have to listen to the beautiful ballad that is “You And I”, where Edward confesses his love for Vivian, his voice perfect and heartfelt. One of the tracks that stuck out for me is “You’re Beautiful”, which is firstly a gorgeous anthem with beautiful lyrics, but is also a catchy song that puts a glorious end to the first act! Moreover, Pretty Woman doesn’t only have Andy Karl - but Orfeh, his stage and real life companion, is also part of this amazing cast. Orfeh, who plays Kit, Vivian’s mentor and friend, just owns the song “Rodeo Drive” as her voice goes from raw to soulful in a heartbeat and her riffs in “Luckiest Girl in the World” are the best things I ever heard. Yet the cast album would not be as spectacular as it is without its amazing ensemble, with actors like Eric Anderson, Jason Danieley or even Tommy Bracco, who bring vitality and energy to the musical. In short, the cast album of Pretty Woman is everything you could have ever hoped for: it’s got passion, romance, melancholy, laughter, and a million more elements of a perfect cast recording. It’s a beautiful love story with a twist where the princess “rescues him right back!” and when you get to the end with “Together Forever”, you’ll have a smile on your face for the rest of the day and the desire to fall in love through your own modern fairytale.

© Andrew Eccles


jagged little pill Words by rebecca rose

The Show That Needs to be Talked About 20

When I sat in the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA back in June to see Jagged Little Pill, I knew I was in for an amazing experience. The American Repertory Theatre has been home to many Broadway bound and Tony-winning productions, including the 2013 revival of Pippin, Waitress, and many more.

Jagged Little Pill, based off of the Alanis Morissette album of the same name and directed by Diane Paulus, premiered May 5, 2018 and closed July 15, 2018, after extending its run based on popular demand for tickets. The musical features the songs off of Morissette’s iconic album of the same name, other Alanis songs, and two new songs written specifically for the show.

Jagged Little Pill follows the story of the

Healy Family from Greenfield, CT, and the events that turn their lives upside down - forcing each family member to question their own beliefs and the beliefs of society. The musical branches into three subplots: the first follows Mary-Jane Healy (played by Elizabeth Stanley), who after getting in a car crash, becomes addicted to opioids, and has to deal with emerging marital issues between her and her husband Steve (played by Sean Allan Krill). The second follows Steve and Mary-Jane’s adopted daughter named Frankie (Celia Gooding). Throughout the show, Frankie struggles with her racial identity, growing up black in a mainly white suburb of Connecticut. Frankie, who identifies as bisexual, spends a lot of time with her girlfriend, Jo (Lauren Patten), who is coming to terms with their gender identity. But when the new boy in town, Phoenix (Antonio Cipriano), shows up, Frankie struggles to keep everyone happy. The third plot follows ol-

der brother Nick Healy (Derek Klena) and his best friend Andrew (Logan Hart), who is accused of raping Bella Fox (Kathryn Gallagher), one of Jo and Frankie’s friends. Nick was always the perfect child in his mother’s eyes, but with new and dangerous accusations arising, he has to choose what is more important to him: honesty or public opinion.

Jagged Little Pill brings forth topics that are significantly relevant in today’s society and culture. The drug crisis and seeming epidemic of sexual violence are real issues that need to be talked about - and by putting them in a musical, it forces audiences to face these issues in a new way. When I think about shows that have very obviously brought up hard to talk about subjects, one of the first that comes to mind is Rent. Rent, as many theatre fans know, deals with the HIV/AIDS crisis, which was a huge topic at the time the musical came out in the ‘90s. After seeing both musicals recently, I’ve realized that Alanis Morisette’s and Jonathan Larson’s music is still relevant today and continues to confront people with controversial, important topics that need to be talked about.

Every single cast member’s dedication to the show was extremely apparent by the amount of passion and energy they put into every single performance. From the opening sequence to the finale, the actors pour their heart and souls into their characters. Jagged Little Pill is by no means an easy show - it must be so emotionally draining to retell the beautiful story every night, but they do it. And even after an emotionally draining story, a majority of the cast would come out and do the stagedoor line inside the lobby with so much love and happiness. The cast is made up of some of the kindest people you will ever meet, and I’m so grateful that I got to see them twice before the run came to a close. Jagged Little Pill deserves to transfer to Broadway as soon as possible. The themes and messages portrayed throughout the plot using intense choreography, a unique set, the incredible arrangements of an award winning album, and many other aspects are what makes this show so groundbreaking and beautiful.

Every single cast member’s dedication to the show was extremely apparent I feel so lucky that I was able to see this groundbreaking show twice during its run at the Loeb Drama Center. Throughout the entire show, the orchestrations never failed to amaze me.



defying gravity A lot happened before Dorothy dropped in – so much, in fact, that this story spans two hours and thirty minutes (with an intermission), eight times a week – as it has done for over six thousand performances to date. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with even a passing interest in musical theatre that hasn’t heard of Wicked. It’s a Broadway staple, easily drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world to the doors of the Gershwin Theatre each year. It has been the springboard for the careers of some of theatre’s most notable actors and actresses, home to more than a handful of legendary performances, and inspiration for those who dare to defy normalcy to reach new heights all over the world. On October 30th, Wicked will celebrate 15 years under the lights of Broadway and we couldn’t be happier to hear the news. Let’s take a look back down the yellow brick road to see how (and why) this production has truly changed generations of fans for good. Wicked officially opened on Broadway on October 30th, 2003, and was an instant sensation among fans of all ages. The show drops us into Oz in the years leading up to Dorothy and Toto’s arrival from Kansas. We are soon introduced to Elphaba Thropp and Glinda Upland – two girls with very different upbringings whose worlds collide at Shiz University. Glinda bears an effervescent personality, the latest in fashion, an upper-class family, and a lifetime of getting exactly what she wants. Elphaba, on the other hand, is rough around the edges – a medical anomaly at birth turned her skin a bright shade of green, earning her criticism and ostracization from her peers all her life. To make matters worse, her own family has relegated her to second-best behind her


Wicked Flies Into Its 15th Year on Broadway words by jordan nash-boulden

sister Nessarose, whom Elphaba is in charge of caring for. Despite her hardships, she is determined to persevere through anything – a mindset that is immediately put to the test when she arrives at Shiz and is unwillingly placed in a room with the person most unlike her in all of Oz: Glinda. Despite their differences and initial loathing, the two eventually form a strong yet unlikely friendship – but soon their bond, and all of their goals for the future, are threatened by forces working from inside Oz to divide their community forever. This reimagined Oz was the brainchild of notable composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz – who, inspired by Greg Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, assembled a team of influential creatives to bring the show to the stage. Workshops began in 2000, and Wicked opened its curtains at the Gershwin Theatre only three years later. Its original cast featured the likes of Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Joel Grey, Norbert Leo Butz, and Carole Shelley – among others in a company that was filled with talented performers from top to bottom. Fans delighted in the new perspective on the classic tale of The Wizard of Oz, and as a result its popularity among audiences soared. Critics, however, were torn on the production as a whole – reviews tended to

be mixed, with most criticism citing an unoriginal plot and repetitive themes. However, the fans would not be swayed, and their praise for the show let Wicked take flight into the 2004 awards season with triumphant momentum. While it ultimately fell short of the coveted title of Best Musical, the cast and crew still took home an impressive slate of honors, including 3 Tony Awards, 6 Drama Desk Awards, and 4 Outer Critics’ Circle Awards, in addition to a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album in 2005. The show would not rest on its laurels, however, that same year, Wicked would launch its first national tour – a production that would eventually spur numerous other North American and international tours and a West End residency over the years. Wicked’s cast members often continue successful careers after captivating audiences on the Gershwin’s stage, the likes of which include Aaron Tveit, Caissie Levy, Andy Karl, Derek Klena, Kara Lindsay, Stephanie J. Block, Lindsay Mendez, Taylor Trensch, and Etai Benson – among an extensive list of other esteemed performers. And as of July 12th of 2018, the original New York production surpassed A Chorus Line as the 6th longest-running show in Broadway history – with no signs of slowing down any time soon. So what continues to draw fans back to Wicked, even after so many years? It could be the show’s message of inclusion and acceptance, as Elphaba and Glinda forge a friendship built on a common understanding and in spite of the very different ways they are treated by their peers. It could be about the characters’ demonstration of

© Joan Marcus

forgiveness and reconciliation as they realize that good intentions may not always lead to good results. It might simply be about an appreciation for the passion, talent, and devotion that every member of the production from the orchestra to the ensemble all demonstrate on stage or in the pit eight times a week. But most of all, it may be built around the show’s enduring humanity. Despite its fictional setting, Wicked presents a reflection of our world through an introspective lens. As a society, we are often divided and torn by opposing viewpoints and conflicting issues, but we are never truly beyond repair – and our struggles can always be mended through compassion and understanding for those around us, even if they are different from us. Through the stage, we are able to suspend our reality for two hours and thirty minutes, and lose ourselves in a world that we may not even realize parallels our own – and teaches us that the positive change we seek may be within our reach after all. In this way, Wicked has built a fan base that will be loyal to the end. I am lucky to consider myself part of this group, and to have witnessed even one of 15 years’ worth of brilliant performances teaching us that sometimes the strongest power comes from within – and reminding us to always defy gravity. Congratulations on 15 years to the cast, crew, and creatives at Wicked. Here’s to many more.

© All Rights Reserved



Haven’t picked up a Playbill recently?

We’ve got you covered ! Here are a few of the stars who’ve been the talk of the town as of late - both on and off of Broadway’s biggest stages. Words by Constance, Jordan, Gavin, Alecia and Madison. © Pictures: All Rights Reserved


Zach grew up in small town Ohio and attended the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in Cleveland, Ohio to further his love of theatre and the arts. He began his stage career as understudy for Charlie in the first US National Tour of Kinky Boots, and made his Broadway debut in Anastasia as a member of the ensemble. He took over the principal role of charmin con man Dmitry in March of this year and has been wowing audiences ever since. When he’s not preoccupied with being a Doodle Dad to his pup, Moose, you can catch him on stage eight times a week at the Broadhurst Theatre in Anastasia.

Samantha was born in Laxey on the Isle of Man, but moved to London during her teenage years to study the arts. She is perhaps best known in the theatre world for her portrayal of Éponine both in the London production and film adaptations of Les Misérables. She has also embarked on several solo projects and been involved in movies and television as well. Samantha made her Broadway debut this season - and you can catch her starring as Vivian in Pretty Woman: The Musical at the Nederlander Theatre.

s of dway



Isaac Cole Powell grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. He began acting in middle school, and continued all the way through college. Isaac is openly gay. He is most well known, however, for being a father of three beautiful frogs, along with his boyfriend Wesley Taylor. You can see Isaac performing in the role of Daniel in Once on this Island at the Circle in the Square theatre. Isaac’s role in Once on this Island has been described as “poignant” and “charismatic.”

Erika Henningsen, born and raised in California, knew from a very early age that she was destined to be on the stage. Growing up in a family that always embraced her passion for acting and singing, she graduated from the University of Michigan’s theater program and headed straight to New York to fulfill her dreams. Although Erika starred in a concert production of Showboat at Lincoln Center and performed in the Sheryl Crow musical Diner, she was faced with rejection quite a lot. Being cast as Fantine, and thus making her Broadway debut in the revival of Les Misérables, changed everything - as she was pushed under the spotlight and can now be found playing the iconic role of Cady Heron in Tina Fey’s hit musical Mean Girls at the August Wilson Theatre.


Jeremy was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. His passion for theatre began in a high school production of “The Fantasticks”. After graduating, he went to Ithaca College in upstate New York and gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre. His Broadway debut was in Rock of Ages as a swing. You may recognize him from his roles in Newsies, as Jack Kelly, and Supergirl, as Winn Schott. Jeremy will be returning to Broadway but, it won’t be a musical. It will be a new play by the title of “American Son”. He will be playing a police officer named Officer Paul Larkin. We are all excited for his return and wish him well!


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Š Cover Pictures: courtesy of RICHARD RODGERS THEATRE (Hamilton), Johan Persson (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), J Green (Kinky Boots), Courtesy of National Theatre (Mean Girls), Nathan Johnson (Dear Evan Hansen), All Rights Reserved (Newsies)


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