In compiling this list, I wanted to focus on folks who had dedicated a significant portion of their career to Broadway and not go off on stunt-casting tangents. However, not only did Stephen Lynch originate a role on Broadway, but he packed it with such punch and energy, I chose him in hopes that he would someday soon return home where he belongs.
In my blog entry “Broadway-Themed Bonus Feature Details,” I paraphrase The Wedding Singer director John Rando as saying that Stephen Lynch’s touring comedy career was to his modern performance what touring the vaudeville circuit was to great performers of the past, which probably really explains why Lynch was so amazing. He ate up every comedic moment on the stage and played his audience to draw out every laugh. Very different from Adam Sandler’s creepy Robbie Hart, Lynch transformed the character into charm and stage presence. He was no longer Julia’s ideal choice because he wasn’t Glen Gulia; he was Julia’s ideal choice because he was a great romantic lead.
Like the best of performances, there are so many moments he had on stage that are glued in my mind that I wonder how the tour will survive without him.
And he wasn’t just a comedian. Lynch sang that role very nicely. In theatre history, there were plenty of people who were cast in large musical roles because of charm, stage presence, and acting talent but struggled to handle the singing. Lynch was a true triple threat and could not only act (with great stage charisma) and dance but possessed a great voice.
After seeing Lynch perform opposite Tina Maddigan (during Benanti’s unfortunate medical leave), the show left me with such energy and excitement (not to mention in awe of the two lead performers), I wished I was a Hollywood producer. Right then and there, I would have cast the two of them in a good romantic comedy. That’s how good he is.
So, I hope The Wedding Singer is just the first stop in a long Broadway career for Stephen Lynch, filled with roles requiring massive amounts of talent and stage presence.
the Broadway Mouth
August 1, 2007