As promised, here are readers’ selections for Amazing Broadway Performers. A few of these are names I know, but I’m thrilled now to have a few more people to look forward to seeing, to add to my list of names of talents I must see.
Thanks for sharing!
Amazing Broadway Performer: Bob Martin
I know he’s only played in one show on Broadway, but Bob Martin from The Drowsy Chaperone is amazing. I think it would be so easy to sleepwalk through that part because it doesn’t involve any singing and dancing or anything, but he created a well-rounded complex character. He’s mostly a comedy character, but there are times you as an audience member feel real emotion for Man in Chair, like when he goes into his lines after he can’t make out Beatrice Stockwell’s “leave” or “live” line. And it does help that he was hilarious in the part. He really was. I hope Bob Martin gets a chance to do more on Broadway.
Amazing Broadway Performer: Michael Arden
I have not had the privilege of seeing Michael perform live; however, his brilliance shines through even when you're just listening to a recording. Say what you will about The Times They Are A-Changin', but you can't deny that Michael took what was there and did all that he could with it, giving kick ass performances night after night. From an acting perspective, he connects to each and every character he plays on a very deep level, committing to that character 100%. I know that that sounds like something that all actors do and that it shouldn't be a big deal, but the truth is—they don't. I have seen countless actors on Broadway and in professional touring companies only invest in their characters to a certain extent, making them shallow or one-dimensional. Michael has given some of the most believable performances I have ever heard (has anyone actually been able to sit through his rendition of “Absolution” from Bare: A Pop Opera without crying? Anyone? Didn't think so.). All acting brilliance aside, he is also an amazing singer. He can sing a heart-wrenching solo softly and with so much emotion that it brings you to tears, and then turn around and belt out a whole song start to finish, leaving you sitting there thinking "How the heck did he do that?". And as if acting and singing weren't enough, he is also an immensely talented composer. He's written some of the most beautiful scoring I've ever heard, and is definitely emerging as a skilled lyricist as well. He may not be a huge star yet, but it's only a matter of time until he gets a show that really showcases all his talents and when he does, everyone's going to know who he is.
Amazing Broadway Performer: Adam Pascal
I couldn’t believe Adam Pascal wasn’t on the list of performers. I have only seen Adam in Aida, but that was all I needed to be a mega-fan. Firstly, he has a great voice. There are many Broadway performers who can pull off rock, but there are very few who are rock. Adam Pascal has that great rock texture in his voice, and he used it in Aida to draw out the emotion of Radames. When you hear him sing “Elaborate Lives” or “Written in the Stars,” he makes you feel the emotions in the song. I love his voice, and I love his two CDs.
Amazing Broadway Performer: Jarrod Spector
If you didn't see Jarrod Spector perform on the Emmys a few weeks ago, go watch the video on YouTube right now! Spector plays Frankie Valli in the 2nd National Tour of Jersey Boys and sounds and looks quite similar to the real Frankie Valli. His effortless falsetto in "Dawn," "Walk Like A Man", and "Who Loves You", among others, always blows me away. He has smooth dance moves (he does the splits in "Beggin'") and incredible stage presence that captivates the audience right from the very beginning of the show. Spector shows off his range as an actor as his character grows from a naïve "teenage Frankie" to a confident "adult Frankie" during the course of the show. Spector really embodies the character of Frankie Valli, as his touching and soulful rendition of "Fallen Angel," a tribute to Valli's deceased daughter, seemingly always leaves both Spector and the audience in tears. Jarrod is a true performer, and his charisma onstage and off signifies a great future for this star on the rise!
From Lori T:
Amazing Broadway Performer: Kendra Kassebaum
I saw Kendra Kassebaum as Galinda/Glinda in Wicked and loved her! You mentioned in your list two big name Elphies, but I have to mention Kendra Kassebaum. Galinda is a really tough character to play. You have to have the voice to do it, but then the actress plays a ditz who isn’t that ditzy. It’s easy to think of Galinda as a cheerleader type of character, the stereotype, but she’s more than that. Kassebaum showed that side of the character, making Galinda not only real but relatable. The character is funny, but I think it is crucial to make her real as well, and Kendra Kassebaum did just that. Kendra Kassebaum has a beautiful voice, too.
the Broadway Mouth (and readers)
October 3, 2007