Playbill.com's feature series Their Favorite Things asks members of the theatre community to share the Broadway performances that most affected them as part of the audience.
This week we spotlight the choices of Broadway singing actress Natalie Toro, who recently released a holiday recording, "Just in Time for Christmas," which features duets with Ryan Kelly and Grammy Award winner Jon Secada and is available on iTunes, Amazon.com and other online outlets.
"I am going to talk a little of my first experience at the theatre when I went to the opening night of
Little Foxes with Madame Elizabeth Taylor back in 1981. Her performance lit my soul in a way that was indescribable. This is the first time I was close to any kind of celebrity, except in the bathroom line during intermission where the one person behind me was Liza Minnelli."
"Then I was hooked! In late 1981, I was in the audience listening to Jennifer Holliday move the audience right out of their seats in
Dreamgirls. Let me tell ya, I wasn't looking into doing musical theater at that age, but it was
that moment that I said, 'Oh, hell yeah, I wanna do this!'"
"Christine Ebersole in
Grey Gardens had me transfixed and glued to her every move. How she lived those two roles and almost sacrificed herself to play 'Little Edie' was a performance that will live with me forever."
"Another fav were the two performances of Victoria Clark and Kelli O'Hara in
Light in the Piazza. Together they infused a struggle in their relationship that kept me holding my breath. When Victoria sang 'Fable,' I was crying."
"Could not even go on without mentioning
Angels in America. For people that know me personally, I will go see anything that might even resemble an Angel in the plot. This ensemble cast was a huge success. This play stayed with me for a very long time."
"Speaking of Angels, I have to mention the play
Marisol by Jose Rivera. The whole time, the lead character is talking to an Angel in this absurd science-fiction style of a play. I haven't seen a production of this anywhere, but I sure wish I could."
"Another ensemble piece that I thought kicked some serious booty was the revival of
Godspell. They got mixed reviews but the bottom line is how you feel when you walk out. Uzo Aduba was particularly fun to watch as I felt like I wasn't sure what her story was throughout. And not in a bad way at all, just was curious the whole time. Love when an actor grabs me like that."
"Can we talk about
Avenue Q? I
love anything with cartoons and/or puppets. I will admit that I had me a small cocktail before the show and OMG! If it was the cocktail, which I know it wasn't, I laughed my face to a frozen smile."
"I played Evita opposite Raul Esparza. So it is no surprise that I went to see him in
Company on Broadway. I have never seen a production of this show before, except for the one they did in my college at The Boston Conservatory. I think what got me the most was how many Broadway actors play instruments and not just one. I was really enjoying the play and the singing and Raul. But man alive! How did these guys play and sing and act and be the entire orchestra??? I used to study at The Manhattan School of Music for piano. I am talking way back. I left that show so jazzed about going home and brushing the cobwebs off from my piano and playing that baby once again!"
"My all-time favorite performance was Glenn Close in
Sunset Boulevard. The passion, the strength, the absolute insanity had me at the tip of my seat. I was scared. I know Ms. Close would never break the fourth wall, but I felt like she was looking right through me. The tingle in my body was intense. Her fierce acting skills made me forget where I was or who I was. That was a life event for me and I hope one day, I can thank her personally!"