Their Favorite Things: Spring Awakening Choreographer Spencer Liff Shares His Theatregoing Experiences

Favorite Things   Their Favorite Things: Spring Awakening Choreographer Spencer Liff Shares His Theatregoing Experiences Spencer Liff, choreographer of the critically acclaimed Deaf West Theatre Broadway revival of Spring Awakening, which ends its limited engagement Jan. 24 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, shares the performances that most affected him as part of the audience.
Spencer Liff
Spencer Liff Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard

Probably the first time as a young boy I used the phrase DIVA! Because she was...I also hear she's doing it again in London. I'll be buying a plane ticket.

Glenn Close
Glenn Close

Alan Cumming in Cabaret

He was thrillingly scandalous to me in this role (I was pretty young). I used to volunteer usher when this was playing at The Kit Kat Club so I could see the show for free. I'd also practice my Emcee in the mirror copying his affectations; ok, sometimes I'd do Sally Bowles as well.

Alan Cumming and company in the 1998 production of <i>Cabaret</i>
Alan Cumming and company in the 1998 production of Cabaret

Julie White in The Little Dog Laughed

A master class in impeccable comedic timing and delivery of every single line! She made me love this character and play.

Julie White and Brian Henderson in <i>The Little Dog Laughed</i>
Julie White and Brian Henderson in The Little Dog Laughed Photo by Craig Schwartz

Robert Fairchild in An American In Paris

The second coming of Gene Kelly. He wowed me with not only his remarkable dancing, but also his singing and acting chops. This was a star turn from the former ballet boy, truly the best triple-threat performance seen on Broadway in years.

Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild in <i>An American in Paris</i>
Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild in An American in Paris Photo by Angela Sterling

Heather Headley in Aida

The countless hours I spent with my roommates listening to the cast recording belting along with her at the top of our lungs. Our neighbors loved us! I saw Heather Headley do the role three times on Broadway and was flat out obsessed!

Headley in <i>Aida</i>
Headley in Aida Photo by Joan Marcus

The entire original cast of Rent

Can't pick just one, literally can't. I was 11 years old and camped out on the street overnight for tix (this was before they invented the lottery). I saw the entire original cast, and it was life-changing and eye-opening to say the least.

Taye Diggs, Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Anthony Rapp, Jesse L. Martin and Wilson Jermaine Heredia
Taye Diggs, Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Anthony Rapp, Jesse L. Martin and Wilson Jermaine Heredia Photo by Joan Marcus

Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Ok, maybe I'm a bit biased, as I did spend months crafting the physicality of this performance with him. But when he stepped out on that stage, he was an unstoppable force, each night wrapping the unique audience around his little finger. The energy in the Belasco Theatre around Tony season was electrifying.

Neil Patrick Harris in <i>Hedwig</i>
Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig Photo by Joan Marcus

Sutton Foster in Thoroughly Modern Millie

We both did our first professional jobs together on the road with The Will Rogers Follies in 1992. She was so clearly a star even as a chorus girl, and Millie is when the rest of the world found out. The understudy steps into the role and producers give her the part! How often does musical theater folklore actually play out? It was easy to root for her in real life and in the part.

Ben Vereen in Fosse

He embodies the term "Living Legend." The chance to see him sing and dance in this style was right off my bucket list! His smile can illuminate an entire theater. I recently choreographed a musical Ben starred in — being in a studio and teaching him my steps was out of my wildest dreams.

Audra McDonald in Everything

Ok, specifically Ragtime if I'm choosing! That whole show, that score, all spectacular! But Audra was definitely killing it with this performance. Her voice is like an emotional arrow to the heart!

Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald Photo by Autumn de Wilde
Today’s Most Popular News: