Spring Awakening's Kyle Riabko Shares His Theatregoing Experiences

Favorite Things   Their Favorite Things: Spring Awakening's Kyle Riabko Shares His Theatregoing Experiences
 
Which production does the singing actor cite as the funniest he has ever seen?
Kyle Riabko
Kyle Riabko Monica Simoes

Kyle Riabko, whose Broadway credits include the original Tony-winning production of Spring Awakening and the Tony-winning revival of Hair, can be heard on Ghostlight Records' Close to You: Bacharach Reimagined, which will be available in digital formats June 24 with two-disc physical copies in stores July 1. Seen in New York and London, the show revitalizes Bacharach's catalog for a new generation with Riabko’s acclaimed arrangements and interpretations. Here, the singing actor reveals the productions and performers that most affected him as part of the audience.

Passing Strange

Chad Goodridge, Daniel Breaker, Colman Domingo, Stew and Rebecca Naomi Jones in Passing Strange.
Chad Goodridge, Daniel Breaker, Colman Domingo, Stew and Rebecca Naomi Jones in Passing Strange. Carol Rosegg

I grew up in the music scene as opposed to theater, and I loved the way this show combined the two. When I saw it in 2008, it started to give me ideas about how I might approach projects in the future.

Death of a Salesman

Philip Seymour Hoffman in <i>Death of a Salesman</i>
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Death of a Salesman Brigitte Lacombe for New York Magazine

I’ll never forget having seen the great Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman. You don’t need me to tell you — he was brilliant.

A Raisin in the Sun

Denzel Washington and Sophie Okonedo in <i>A Raisin in the Sun</i>
Denzel Washington and Sophie Okonedo in A Raisin in the Sun Brigitte Lacombe

Denzel Washington was amazing, but it was Sophie Okonedo’s performance that I loved most about this show.

Hair

Sash Allen (center) and the cast of the 2009 Broadway revival of <i>Hair</i>
Sash Allen (center) and the cast of the 2009 Broadway revival of Hair Joan Marcus

I ended up in this show’s second cast, but I loved it from the moment I saw it. The first thing I noticed was the fact that my favorite drummer of all time, Bernard Purdie, was in the band. Performing with him every night was a highlight for me.

Once

Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti in Once.
Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti in Once. Joan Marcus

It was after seeing this show that I realized the genius of Steven Hoggett, and that he would be a perfect creative collaborator for Bacharach Reimagined.

Follies

Elaine Paige in <i>Follies</i>
Elaine Paige in Follies Joan Marcus

An abstract story about fame, disappointment, disenchantment — all of the themes that go side by side with a life in show business. A great performance by Elaine Paige, who I ended up becoming friends with in London.

The Book of Mormon

Nikki M. James, Andrew Rannells, Josh Gad and ensemble in The Book of Mormon
Nikki M. James, Andrew Rannells, Josh Gad, and ensemble in The Book of Mormon Joan Marcus

The second funniest thing I’ve ever seen in a theater.

One Man, Two Guvnors - The National, London

James Corden in<i> One Man, Two Guvnors</i>
James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors Johan Persson

The funniest thing I’ve ever seen in a theater.

Peter and the Starcatcher

The cast of <i>Peter and the Starcatcher </i>
The cast of Peter and the Starcatcher Joan Marcus

I loved the scrappy, homemade energy of this show.

Porgy and Bess

Audra McDonald in <i>The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess</i>
Audra McDonald in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess Michael J. Lutch

You can’t go wrong with Gershwin!

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