Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'll Forget You

I just saw the Legally Blonde tour (more on that when I'm back into the swing of things) and was thrilled to to see three familiar names in the cast--Coleen Sexton (who I knew was the cast, though I ended up seeing her understudy), Natalie Joy Johnson (from the NET Godspell tour, though I saw her understudy in Godspell), and Kate Rockwell. No, I don't forget easily, I guess.

Nancy Opel in Making It On Broadway:

I had a baby and I left the business for two years. I literally had to move away. I knew that if I didn’t, I would stay in this business. The lure is too strong. I was warned by some people, “If you stay away too long, they will forget who you are.”
Damn it, that’s right. They do forget, and I don’t care. I did the right thing for my family. Do I have regrets about the things I may have missed? Not really. A scrapbook isn’t the same as a healthy, well-adjusted child.

It’s interesting to watch the trends in Broadway casting; people do get quickly forgotten. Watch how new people are quickly cast from one show into another. One minute, they are nobody, and the next, they are in the latest hit show. While the people who did that a mere five years ago are nowhere to be seen.

Take, for example, Tyler Maynard, who was able to move from Altar Boyz into The Little Mermaid. Tony Yazbeck got Gypsy after A Chorus Line, just as Mara Davi got The Drowsy Chaperone.

Everyone gets their breaks in their own ways, and I’m thrilled for anyone who can make a go of acting on Broadway because each role in earned with much blood, sweat, and tears. I’m not saying that Maynard, Yabeck, and Davi haven’t earned their roles—I’m not implying that at all.

But, as Nancy Opel mentions, I wonder of the great talents who have been forgotten along the way. It’s so easy to focus on the big talents who have deservedly managed to get from one show to the next because they are wowing us right now, but as we reflect on who we’d love to see in roles, let’s not forget that there’s a truckload of major talents who are, from reports, still in the business. It’s not atypical for people to enter into the profession of starring on Broadway, only to then tire of it, crave the stability of family, or to choose other avenues for their talents. However, just because we don’t see them doesn’t mean they are not out there, trying to get seen.

The hot tickets of not-too-long ago, I can’t just forget them. I choose not to forget them. I don’t know what reason we haven’t seen them on stage, but it wouldn’t be surprising to know that they simply haven’t been able to get seen.

Let’s all take a moment and remember all the fantastic performers from the past fifteen years who are still out there—the Matt Bogarts, Sandra Allens, Chuck Wagners, Maya Days’—pounding the pavement, trying to a nice man like a Ziegfeld or a Weismann to get them into a great, big Broadway show.

I’ll not forget you.

the Broadway Mouth
Originally Posted March 31, 2008

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