The iconic musical created by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jerome Robbins will officially open Oct. 16 at the Lyric (formerly the Foxwoods and the Ford Center for the Performing Arts).
Directed by Tony winner John Rando, who helmed the recent, critically acclaimed City Center Encores! and Barrington Stage productions of On the Town, the cast is headed by Tony Yazbeck, Jay Armstrong Johnson and Clyde Alves as the sailors on 24-hour shore leave who take on the Big Apple; Megan Fairchild, Alysha Umphress and Elizabeth Stanley as the women who steal their hearts; and Jackie Hoffman in the role of Madame Dilly with Tony Award winner Michael Rupert as Judge Pitkin, Allison Guinn as Lucy Schmeeler, Tony nominee Phillip Boykin and Stephen DeRosa.
Best NYC Moment: I have to say, one of them was getting the call to do this show — that was really thrilling! And, let's see… One of my favorite New York City moments was when I was a kid and coming to New York for the first time. I had no idea…! Everyone probably has their own first New York City story, when they see it for the first time, but I was a kid, and so I saw everything as just "larger than life." I saw the dirty city streets in Times Square, and it was all very magical to me. And, knowing that this was the place I was going to be living in, as an adult later — that was really exciting for me as a kid.
Worst NYC Moment: Probably the same experience…where I ran to the theatre doing Gypsy as a kid, and two drug dealers stopped me on the street and wouldn't let me go, so I just kept running and running. Those things happened back in the day — Times Square wasn't as kid friendly.
Best NYC Moment: Honestly, in this show, we end up in very, very late nights/early mornings, and that's my favorite moment in the city: 3, 4, 5 AM, when everybody's disappeared, and it's you — and hopefully somebody you love beside you. I've had a few of those moments in Times Square, but also downtown in the Village — those are my favorite moments in the city.
Worst NYC Moment: Oh, God! Well, we start the show off in the subway, and I've had a few subway mishaps. You've got a lot of characters in this city — sometimes it makes you smile, sometimes it makes you want to get out of the train and go to the next car!
Best NYC Moment: It had to have been my Broadway debut, when I went on for Gavin Creel in the revival of Hair, and all my friends and family came to see me, and I felt like a rock star for two-and-a-half hours. It was my dream coming true before my eyes, with all of my loved ones, so I guess that's my "New York Moment."
Worst NYC Moment: Oh, God! Probably running up 5th Avenue towards the bursar's office at NYU because I thought I was going to be kicked out of school because my scholarship hadn't gone through. [Laughs.] I thought I was going to be shipped home to Texas because I couldn't pay for school, but it worked itself out.
Best NYC Moment: Being here during 9/11. I was at the School of American Ballet, and it was very scary, and we all got split up into different ballet teacher's apartments for the night because they evacuated our dormitory at Juilliard. And, we were out at a park — it was just all of these New Yorkers. I felt like everybody bonded, and it was a really special moment that I will never forget.
Worst NYC Moment: Maybe just accidentally getting stuck in traffic in midtown, [thinking], "Why did I drive through there in my car?" [Laughs.] That might be my worst New York City moment. I haven't tripped in a pothole or gotten spit on… [Laughs.]
Best NYC Moment: I mean, there are so many! I was just saying earlier… When I first came to New York, it was winter — I came over my Christmas break when I was in college — and it was when there still was the Howard Johnson's in Times Square, and I remember taking breaks [from] the TKTS line to go warm up our hands with hot chocolate and HoJo's, and then coming back and getting in line. It was such a blast because it was my first time here, and it didn't even matter that it was so cold because it was the place I wanted to live and where I hoped my dreams would come true. It was special.
Worst NYC Moment: Again, there are many! [Laughs.] Shortly after that memory, I moved to New York, and it was a spring day, and I was sitting in Central Park, writing my mother in the Midwest a letter and saying, "Oh, it's so nice here," and then it turned out there was a man indecently exposing himself just down the hill at several of us women, and then the cops came. It just became very dramatic. So, that! [Laughs.]
Best NYC Moment: Oh my God, it's so general… I don't know — this is so terrible — but I feel like something amazing happens every day in New York. There's a guy with a metallic jacket on a Segway going down Columbus Avenue. Everyday something crazy happens like that. I'm going to have to get back to you!
Worst NYC Moment: Probably getting hit on my bike by a taxicab. [Laughs.] It was fine — I didn't get hurt or anything, but I was driving along Central Park South, and we were stopped at a light, and a passenger got out of the taxicab and opened up the door, and I went right into it. I wasn't really hurt, but I did fall off my bike. He felt so terrible. He was like, "Oh my God. I'm so sorry." I was like, "I'm fine. I'm not hurt. Just look out your window before you open up the door." But that happens all the time I guess!
Best NYC Moment: Well, I think it would have to be when I came out of my stage door from my last Broadway show, Porgy and Bess. All the fans are there asking for our autographs. It just makes life worth the living — it's all about the fans who love Broadway shows and signing autographs. That's great. I love that!
Worst NYC Moment: I guess it would be when I was hurrying to catch a train, and I took a tumble — boom! [Laughs.] It was terrible. Terrible. I fell in the subway. So embarrassing, but I survived.
Best NYC Moment: My best New York City moment was when I came [for the first time]. I'm from Northeast Tennessee originally, so of course I came up here with my mother to audition for school, and the first place we went was Times Square, and I was afraid to talk because I was afraid anyone would notice my southern accent, and I would be instantly ostracized. But, when I found out that New York is full of people that are different — everyone is different; there is no normal — that was a great relief to someone like me.
Worst NYC Moment: [My] worst NYC moment probably had to take place in the subway. I got kicked in the face by one of the break-dancing teams. Yes, I am a cautionary tale. That was probably the worst!
Best NYC Moment: Years ago, when my dad was still alive and I was in college, we were riding the subway together. And, there was a beautiful watch he got me, and it was cracked, and he said, "You're going to lose that watch." And, I said, "No, I won't!" Of course, that night — cut to me on 11th Street at midnight with a flashlight, looking for my watch. [I didn't find it, but] I don't think I ever told him though.
Worst NYC Moment: Yesterday, when that junkie drag queen kept saying to me, "Theresa! Go, Theresa! Go, Theresa!"
Best NYC Moment: My best New York City moment is probably flying into New York City to begin my career — on the airplane from Texas — and meeting a woman on the plane who gave me her phone number. We had a date in New York, and six years later we got married, and we're still married. That's my wife, Eileen — meeting her on an airplane flying into LaGuardia [is] probably the best New York City story I have.
Worst NYC Moment: There are not that many. I love the city so much!