A cold has taken over the Walter Kerr. Tony Award nominee Stephanie J. Block, who plays Marvin’s wife Trina in the Broadway revival of Falsettos, has been out of the show sick with sinusitis. So has her understudy, Courtney Balan. But the show went on, and Stephanie Umoh was the one to save the day.
According to Umoh’s public Facebook post, she had a two-and-a-half-hour staging rehearsal before going on as Trina in Falsettos—script in hand—for the 2 PM matinee October 15.
Press representatives for Lincoln Center Theater confirmed that Block was forced to miss two performances (October 15 and October 18) due to sinusitis and that understudy Balan is also sick and unable to perform. Umoh is the production’s second female understudy and went on in the role.
An audience member at the October 18 performance told Playbill.com that director James Lapine addressed the crowd before the start of the Tuesday night show and said that a cold is circulating through the cast. He said that Umoh primarily covers the roles played by Betsy Wolfe and Tracie Thoms, but that she would go on for Block’s role with limited rehearsal time.
Umoh used the script for most of the show, but the audience cheered throughout. At the end of the evening, Christian Borle pushed her out for a solo bow.
Audience members tweeted about Umoh’s performance, and Block chimed in to congratulate her fellow cast member.
When the understudy is ill & an understudy to a DIFFERENT part goes on holding pages. And you are blown away by the talent. Wow. #Falsettos
— Sara Newman (@DisforDoula) October 19, 2016
— Stephanie J. Block (@StephanieJBlock) October 15, 2016
Umoh will go on as Trina at the October 19 matinee, but a press representative has confirmed that Block will return to the show for the October 19 evening performance.
On Umoh’s Facebook, she said that a nightmare turned into a dream come true at the Walter Kerr October 15 and added that she made history as the show’s first black Trina.