STAGE VIEWS: Avenue Q Tony Nominee Stephanie D'Abruzzo

Special Features   STAGE VIEWS: Avenue Q Tony Nominee Stephanie D'Abruzzo
 
Playbill.com's new series features brief chats with Broadway actors commenting on their recent theatregoing experiences, what productions they are looking forward to and more. Here, via e-mail, we speak with singing actress Stephanie D'Abruzzo.

Stephanie D'Abruzzo
Stephanie D'Abruzzo Photo by Meredith Zinner

What show recently impressed you?
I am embarrassed to admit that I have not seen much at all this season, but I was struck by the revival of Follies. When people think of contemporary musicals that capture the current society at the time they were written, they usually point to rebellious, young shows like Hair or American Idiot. But Follies is one of those traditional, grown-up musicals that must have been so striking for audiences in 1971, knowing that the great paradigm shift that was happening within the show — the crumbling of the old showplaces and people — was actually happening outside, too. The crowds for the original Follies probably passed the wrecking balls for the old theatres as they made their way to and from the Winter Garden. And when you think hard about it, this is common in plays but quite rare in musicals, to capture a specific "right now" as it's happening, and then eventually become a time capsule for that moment in history. Most non-period musicals are rather generic in their now-ness.

As familiar as I was with the score, none of this occurred to me until I saw this revival, looking like a beautiful but fragile, dust-covered curiosity that may or may not survive the changes in musical theatre that are happening now.

Which made me connect it a step further: Is there ever going to be another new musical worthy of Bernadette Peters? Or is her kind also passing into history too soon, along with the Weismann Follies?

What production are you most excited to see?
Oh, William Shatner's one-man show, of course! Two hours of that ego and those stories live on stage simply must be seen, even if he doesn't sing "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." And, if he decides to go sans pants — a la Stritch — it'll be absolutely legendary.

What play/musical would you most like to revive on Broadway, and which role would you want to play?
Excuse me while I chuckle at the sweet naïve notion of this question. Okay, I'm done chuckling and now I am sheepishly serious. One of my desired revival roles is Mary in Merrily We Roll Along. Yeah, I know. It's being done at Encores! Another is Ella in Bells Are Ringing. Again, I know. Done last year at Encores! It'd also be big fun to play Alexa in As Bees in Honey Drown, or Doris in Same Time, Next Year. And looking forward to my inevitable aging, in a decade or two perhaps I could take stabs at Vera in Mame, Pennywise in Urinetown, or even Christopher Durang's Sister Mary Ignatius. (Now it's the Internet's turn to chuckle.) Of course, Broadway may say no, but perhaps regional theatre will allow.
But, really, roles in new work are always something I covet most, especially by great voices like Theresa Rebeck. I've often said that perhaps my dream role hasn't been written yet. What are your current/upcoming projects?
I'm working on some "Sesame Street" segments this winter, which are always fun. I'm also hoping to nail down a date or two to be in some of Scott Siegel's Broadway Hootenanny nights at Feinstein's. But, mostly, I'm pounding the pavement.

I'm also trying to do a little regular writing. Thanks to Playbill.com making me a guest-blogger for a week in August of 2010, I was nudged into starting my web...blah...log (now at stephaniedabruzzo.blogspot.com), where I try to post entertaining essays and tidbits at least once a week. Don't worry. It's not a real blog with feelings or product reviews or ads. It's just a place for me to be creative and expressive without having to audition to do so.

***

Stephanie D'Abruzzo received a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut in the Tony-winning musical Avenue Q. Her Off-Broadway credits include Avenue Q, I Love You Because, It Must Be Him and several productions for the York Theatre Company's Musicals in Mufti series. D'Abruzzo also appeared in a regional production of [title of show], and her numerous TV credits include "Sesame Street," "Scrubs," among others.

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