Mean Girls Star Grey Henson’s 10 Favorite Theatregoing Experiences

Favorite Things   Mean Girls Star Grey Henson’s 10 Favorite Theatregoing Experiences
 
The Tony-nominated actor recalls performances by Christian Borle, Alice Ripley, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and more.
Favorite_Things_Graphic_Grey Henson.jpg

In the hit musical Mean Girls at the August Wilson Theatre, Grey Henson plays the quick-witted Damian Hubbard, a role that brought the young actor Tony, Drama Desk, and Helen Hayes Award nominations for his performance. Henson, who made his Broadway debut as Elder McKinley in The Book of Mormon, also appeared in the national tour of that Tony-winning musical and guest-starred in the TV comedy Suburgatory.

We recently asked Henson to pen a list of his most memorable theatregoing experiences. His choices follow.

Annie Get Your Gun (Bernadette Peters revival)

Annie Get Your Gun_73rd Anniversary Lookback_Annie Oakleys_X_2019
Bernadette Peters (1999) The Irving Berlin Music Company

This was one of the first Broadway shows I saw. I was probably nine years old and in town competing in a ballet competition with my dance studio from Georgia. During intermission my mom convinced me to write Bernadette a note, inviting her to my competition performance the next day. We gave it to security thinking nothing would happen. At the stage door after the show, she came right up to me and told me she was sorry, but she couldn’t make it. (LOL, of course.) She wished me luck and we took a picture. Dreams!

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Cast of <i>The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee</i>
Cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

I saw this when I was in high school, and it really made me want to pursue acting professionally. A bunch of weirdos acting like kids and being hilarious? Sign. Me. Up.

Next to Normal

Alice Ripley, Aaron Tveit, and J. Robert Spencer in Next to Normal.
Alice Ripley, Aaron Tveit, and J. Robert Spencer in Next to Normal Joan Marcus

I drove from Pittsburgh to New York with a bunch of my classmates from Carnegie Mellon our freshman year to see Broadway shows. Alice Ripley’s performance in this blew our tiny little acting school minds.

Christian Borle in Peter and the Starcatcher

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Adam Chanler-Berat, Christian Borle and cast in Peter and the Starcatcher O&M Co.

He slammed his hand in the trunk, and I fell in love. Genius.

August: Osage County

A scene from <i>August: Osage County</i>.
A scene from August: Osage County. Michael Brosilow

This was another show I saw on a trip from Pittsburgh with college buddies. A heavy, three-act play that felt like 20 minutes. I didn’t want it to end.

Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill

Audra McDonald in <i>Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill</i>
Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

I saw this production the week before I made my Broadway debut. I sat at one of the café tables on stage, and whenever I made eye contact with Audra, I felt the spirit of Billie Holiday saying something like, “Welcome to Broadway ... you will never be this good.”

Hamilton (Opening night at the Public)

Renée Elise Goldsberry and Lin-Manuel Miranda in <i>Hamilton</i>
Renée Elise Goldsberry and Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton Joan Marcus

Gavin Creel brought me along as his plus-one to this little, unknown Off-Broadway show. When Renée Elise Goldsberry started singing “Satisfied,” the entire audience audibly gasped. Incredible.

Jennifer Simard in Disaster!

Jennifer Simard in <i>Disaster! </i>
Jennifer Simard in Disaster! Jeremy Daniel

I get to work with the genius that is Jennifer Simard every night in Mean Girls, but I truly fell in love with her when I saw her star turn in Disaster!. Musical Comedy Gold.

Zachary Quinto in The Boys in the Band

The_Boys_In_the_Band_Broaway_Production_Photo_2018_041 The cast of THE BOYS IN THE BAND, Photo by Joan Marcus, 2018_HR.jpg
Cast Joan Marcus

I’ve always admired his acting chops, but I couldn’t take my eyes off him in this play. Gays supporting Gays in Gay plays.

Sara Bareilles in Waitress

Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles Josh Lehrer

This show always makes me cry, but to see the songwriter perform her own material was just next level. Also... how dare she be an amazing actress!?

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