Their Favorite Things: Tony Winner and Allegiance Star Scott Wise Shares His Theatregoing Experiences

Favorite Things   Their Favorite Things: Tony Winner and Allegiance Star Scott Wise Shares His Theatregoing Experiences Jerome Robbins' Broadway Tony winner Scott Wise is back on Broadway, playing several characters in his 14th musical, the World War II-set Allegiance at the Longacre Theatre. The triple threat shares the performances that most affected him as part of the audience.
Scott Wise
Scott Wise
Scott Wise
Scott Wise

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Billy Porter Singing "Beauty School Dropout" in Grease

Billy is always electrifying. His voice seems to have no limits. With his powerful presence, he is etched in my mind as a legendary performer. "Beauty School Dropout" has always been a fun number, but add to that a driving beat, tight harmonies, and partner Jessica Stone's humor and sincerity, you have an unforgettable performance.

 

 

Jennifer Holliday Singing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls

I'm sure Jennifer is on many people’s list of great performers, but I have never seen anything like it before or since. This young 21-year-old woman standing at the end of the stage singing with the power of a locomotive train brought the audience to a frenzy with insane screaming and clapping. By the time she sang the last "Me.......," people didn't know what to do with themselves. Jennifer's voice made history. Nothing like it.

 

 

Betty Buckley Singing "Memory" in Cats

Betty is great in everything. I have been very lucky to have been in three shows with Betty, and there is no such thing as a light performance with her. She is a legend hands down. Watching her and knowing her, you know that whatever she does it is FULL OUT AND GREAT! It was truly a gift to be in Cats, and watch her sing "Memory" eight times a week.

 

 

Hinton Battle in The Tap Dance Kid

Everything this man does is great, but as a dancer no one has matched him yet. The man had a unique power that I have never seen in a dancer since. To see him on stage live is free-flowing heaven! Add to that great singing and acting……Where did this man come from?! He earned three Tony Awards, and hopefully there is more to come from him! Without a doubt, this man is a true triple threat.

 

 

Bernadette Peters in everything she has ever performed!

An obvious legend without a doubt. I've had the privilege of doing two shows with her, Song and Dance and The Goodbye Girl. Whether on stage with her or watching from the house or wings, she delivers a song like no one else. She can make us laugh, and she can make us cry. She is the epitome of beauty and charm, and she is sublimely sexy! I still have a hard time just going up to her and saying hello. I get starstruck every time.

Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters Photo by Andrew Eccles

Robert Lindsay in Me and My Girl

Okay! This man is nonstop entertainment. From beginning to end watching him in Me and My Girl was amazing. Endless bits, singing and dancing and more and more bits. A theatrical artist if ever there was one. He held me riveted to my seat from beginning to end wondering, "What Will He Do Next?" A true gift to theatre.

Robert Lindsay and Emma Thompson in <i>Me and My Girl</i>
Robert Lindsay and Emma Thompson in Me and My Girl

Lea Salonga Singing "Higher" in  Allegiance

I'm sure that I, like so many people, fell in love with Lea Salonga in Miss Saigon and then Les Miz. But now I'm lucky enough to work with her in Allegiance. The song "Higher" keeps me hanging in the wings every show. A voice like butter fills the stage. I'm also privileged to watch her work. We are creating a new show right now, and every night she goes on stage with whole scene changes, song changes, and dance changes and knocks it out of the park …. everytime! I am also lucky enough to have her (for a brief moment in the show) sing to me. I will never forget it.

Lea Salonga in <i>Allegiance</i>
Lea Salonga in Allegiance Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Michael Jeter Singing "We’ll Take a Glass Together" in Grand Hotel

Who did not love the amazing performance by Michael Jeter in Grand Hotel? Seemingly without bones in his body, he languished his body across an invisible bar. The character, the commitment and the sheer fun all made for an amazingly unforgettable performance. God bless him. We miss you.

 

 

Savannah Wise Holds in Rock of Ages

Okay, I know she's my daughter, but still as a parent it is unbelievable to sit in a Broadway house and watch your little girl become someone else. As I watched the show over and over, I said to myself, "Where in the hell did she learn to do that?!" It was unreal to see my sweet little muffin become this wailing Rock Star, bringing down the house! Nothing like it!!! I will never forget it!!

 

 

Jerry Lewis Singing "Good Old Days" in Damn Yankees

They don't make 'em like that anymore. Jerry performed with a sense of style that seems to have been lost on our modern stage. Every night Jerry had a moment in "Good Old Days," where he was given full license by director Jack O'Brien to cut loose a little. We watched from the wings every show. He is a true master. No two shows were alike. He could entertain like no one else and make you laugh with an endless array of insanely funny jokes, cane tricks, stories, dances and songs. Completely old school. No school like it!

Jerry Lewis in <i>Damn Yankees</i>
Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees

The  honorable mentions could go on for days. But I am happy with this group of ten. After 35 years on Broadway, I've seen and experienced a lot of great performers. And I definitely have my own point of view as to what makes a great performance. There is nothing else like the human experience of live theatre! What will be next!?

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