Where Are They Now: The Original Broadway Cast of Brooklyn The Musical

Special Features   Where Are They Now: The Original Broadway Cast of Brooklyn The Musical
 
Before they reunite October 21 to benefit Covenant House, find out where the cast of the longtime favorite are now.
in <i>Brooklyn</i>
Brooklyn: The Musical

Brooklyn bowed October 21, 2004 at the Plymouth Theatre—later renamed (and currently known as) the Gerald Schoenfeld. With a book, music, and lyrics by Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson, the show followed a group of five homeless musicians known as the City Weeds who transform a street corner under the Brooklyn Bridge into their play space.

The show within the show followed Parisian singer Brooklyn who was orphaned and lives in a convent where she discovers her vocal talent, becomes a star, goes on to sing at Carnegie Hall, and later competes against diva Paradice at Madison Square Garden.

Members of the original cast, including Eden Espinosa, Karen Olivo, and Ramona Keller will reunite October 21, 2019, in a 15th Anniversary Reunion concert to benefit Covenant House Foundation.

The show ran through June 26, 2005, and starred some of the biggest vocal powerhouses on Broadway—lesser knowns who have since become Broadway’s shining stars.

See where all of the original the stars of the cult favorite are now:

Eden Espinosa, Brooklyn
Since Brooklyn closed, Espinosa performed the role of Wicked’s Elphaba to critical acclaim on Broadway, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. She performed at Reprise in LA the role of Flora in Flora the Red Menace. She then was Maureen in the closing cast of Rent on Broadway. She released an album of reimagined modern Broadway songs, Look Around, for which she won an independent music award. Some of her favorite roles have been Eva Peron in Evita, Mary in Merrily We Roll Along, and Sadie Thompson in Michael John LaChiusa’s Rain. She has voiced many characters for Robot Chicken over the years. Most recently has voice the character of Cassandra for Disney’s Tangled the Series on the Disney Channel. She release her second album Revelation of all original songs and is currently developing the new musical Lempicka directed by Tony Award Winner Rachel Chavkin.

Ramona Keller, Paradice
Brooklyn marked Keller's third Broadway show; she originated the role of Ms Paradice. In 2005 she joined Hugh Jackman for the opening of the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas in a show called In Time. In 2006 she reprised her role as Radio 1 at the London National Theater in Caroline, Or Change. In 2010, she toured with Jason Howland's production of Handel's Messiah Rocks!. In 2015 she performed as Ronette in New York City Center's Encores! production of Little Shop of Horrors alongside Ellen Greene and Jake Gyllenhaal. In 2016, she played Amira in the Public Theater's production of Party People'directed by Liesl Tommy. In 2017, she played Muzzy in the Goodspeed Opera House production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. In 2018, she play the role of Margaret in Danai Gurira's play Familiar at the Old Globe in San Diego. Keller has performed with several symphony orchestras including the New York Pops, Bay Atlantic Symphony, Grand Rapids, Phoenix and Lake Charles Symphony Orchestras to name a few. She also appeared on the TV shows, Unforgettable and The Good Fight. She was most recently seen in the Public Theater's production of Hercules at the Delacorte Theater in New York City in the role of Muse Thalia.

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Karen Olivo, Faith
Olivo’s star has shot to the heavens since appearing in Brooklyn. She originated the role of Vanessa in In The Heights. She starred as Anita in the 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story, which earned her a Tony Award. She was part of the company of Lynn Nottage’s premiere of By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at Second Stage. She then starred in Murder Ballad Off-Broadway. Though she took a hiatus from the spotlight beginning in 2013, taking time to teach, she did return to New York for the Encores! production of tick...tick...BOOM! alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom, Jr. She was a series regular on Harry’s Law and a recurring character on The Good Wife. She made a big comeback as Angelica Schuyler in the original cast of the Chicago production of Hamilton. She currently stars as Satine in the spectacular spectacular Moulin Rouge! at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, a role she originated and played in the out-of-town tryout at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre.

Kevin Anderson, Taylor Collins
Prior to his role in Brooklyn, Anderson starred as Biff in the 1999 revival of Death of a Salesman alongside Brian Dennehy’s Willy Loman. (He made his Broadway debut in 1989’s Orpheus Descending, and, fun fact, originated the role of Joe Gillis in London’s Sunset Boulevard.) Since Brooklyn, Anderson appeared on the Main Stem in 2008’s Come Back, Little Sheba. In 2009, he originated the role of Andy Dufresne in the stage adaptation of The Shawshank Redemption, which later transferred to London’s West End. He is a member of Chicago’s Steppenwold Theatre Company. He voiced the role of Mr. Arable in the 2006 film Charlotte’s Web. He also appeared in films Dockweiler, Curse of Chucky, Salomé, and Heaven Is for Real.

Cleavant Derricks, Street Singer
After departing Dreamgirls with a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Derricks continued his career on Broadway, originating the role of Charley in Big Deal and bowing as part of the original cast of Brooklyn. Derricks also appeared on screen in the original Roseanne, Charmed, and The Equalizer. He is best known for Sliders and Moscow on Hudson and worked as a music arranger on the 2006 film adaptation of Dreamgirls.

Manoel Felciano, Ensemble/Swing
Felciano has made quite a career for himself since Brooklyn. He bowed as Toby in the 2005 revival of Sweeney Todd on Broadway—which earned him a Tony nomination—before performing as the swing in Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick’s Disaster!. He appeared in the original Broadway cast of Amélie and recently replaced as Horace Gilmer in the smash hit play To Kill a Mockingbird at the Shubert Theatre. Over the years, Felciano has also guested on series such as Elementary, The Blacklist, and the new Evil.

Haneefah Wood, Ensemble
Wood appeared in Brooklyn as an ensemblist and the understudy for Paradice. Most recently in theatre, she appeared in the 2009 national tour of Rent as Joanne. But Wood has been scooped up by the television world. She has guest starred on series like Nurse Jackie, White Collar, and Life in Pieces. She did appear as Blanche in Grease: Live and guested on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. But Wood has been a series regular on Zoe Ever After, One Day at a Time, Baskets, and Schooled. She will be a regular in the new series Truth Be Told, which premieres on Apple TV+.

Julie Reiber, Swing
BKLYN marked Julie Reiber’s Broadway debut and she had been very busy ever since! She immediately jumped over to All Shook Up at the Palace Theatre to finish that run there. Julie then joined the original LA production of Wicked, standing by once again for her friend Eden as she had in BKLYN. She continued on her Wicked journey following that run by joining the Broadway company of Wicked and playing Elphaba over 100 times in her time with the show. Before heading back to Broadway, she made a stop at the famed Guthrie Theatre to play Rose Stopnick in one of her most favorite shows Caroline or Change. Julie then got married and had her first daughter, starting her most favorite job ever as Mom. As soon as her first daughter was two year old she joined the Broadway company of Newsies and closed that show out. Family time took over again and Julie had her second daughter. Then like clockwork, when she was two years old, Julie booked the hit show Come From Away on Broadway, which she is still performing in currently while its going on its second year.

Caren Tackett, Ensemble
Post-Brooklyn, from the years 2005 - 2012, Caren (Lyn Manuel) Tackett performed in the Broadway shows “Rent” (Maureen & Mrs. Cohen), “The Times, They Are A’Changing”(briefly��),”High Fidelity” (Sarah) and “Hair” (Sheila), as well as the Off-Broadway show, “Once Around the Sun” (Skye). Caren also produced several readings and showcases of her original musical “Born Blue.” After marrying Jeremy Tackett in 2005 and having their lovely daughter Ravyn Sioux in 2007, Caren took her mini-tribe on the road with two tours, “Rent, the Broadway Farewell Tour” (Mrs. C) and the “Hair,North American Tour” (Sheila). In 2012, Caren pulled a complete 180, uprooted and moved to Manitou Springs, CO, to focus on her family, her writing and Jeremy’s career as a biodynamic farmer. She recorded four original albums and completed two theatrical pieces, “Slide; a tale of mental illness,” and “Bleeding Purple” (based on true stories of domestic violence) while working as head of the theater department at a local arts conservatory, teaching theater and creating original pieces with students aged preschool through college. Caren also began studying the art of falconry and is now a licensed falconer which involves training, rehabilitating and releasing raptors, specifically red-tailed hawks. In 2018, Caren brought her family back to her hometown in MA to live closer to her parents after her father survived a massive stroke. She re-entered the NYC theater community in July of 2019 as a writer when her musical “Slide; a tale of mental illness” was selected for a concert presentation at NYMF, from which Theatermania named one of her songs, ‘Thorazine Shuffle,’ in their ‘Top 5 Best Songs at NYMF’ article.


In the 15th Anniversary reunion concert:
Will Swenson, replacement ensemble
Swenson joined the cast in March 2005. Since making his Broadway debut with Brooklyn: the Musical, Swenson has been seen on Broadway seven more times! Favorites include Inspector Javert in Les Misérables, Tick in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Earl in Waitress, playing opposite Sara Bareilles, and his Tony-nominated performance as Berger in Hair. Last year, Will won an Obie Award for his role as Satan in Jerry Springer: The Opera. He’s been busy in the film and TV world playing roles in The Greatest Showman, The Kitchen, This is Where I Leave You, The Switch, Law & Order, The Good Wife, and The Code among others. Upcoming, Swenson be seen as a new colorful character in the upcoming season of Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. He is currently shooting a new crime-thriller drama for Netflix. Best of all, in his words: Swenson has about a thousand children who are all amazing, and he’s married to global super-power Audra McDonald. He also wants you to know has a dog, but he is just average.

Quentin Earl Darrington
Darrington actually made his Broadway debut as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in the 2009 revival of Ragtime. He performed as Old Deuteronomy in the 206 revival of Cats and, most recently, starred as Agwe in the Tony-winning revival of Once On This Island. Over the years, Darrington has also taken the stage in short runs like Encores! A New Brain, Manhattan Concert Productions’ The Secret Garden, and more. He has guest starred on series such as Madam Secretary, Elementary, and The Code.

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