THE LEADING MEN: Lucas Steele Proves His Mettle in Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

By Wayman Wong
02 Aug 2013

Christopher Sieber and Lucas Steele in The Kid.
Photo by Monique Carboni

Jill Eikenberry, who played Dan's mom, said you and Chris taught her so much about how young men come out to their families. That same year, there were an alarming number of gay teen suicides, so Dan and Terry posted an inspiring video called "It Gets Better" on YouTube to give hope to young people.

LS: And our musical even had a song called "It Gets Better."

If you could tell those teens that "It Gets Better," what would you say?



LS: Growing up is a beautiful thing. You owe it to yourself to be around for that awesome moment when you evolve. It's a long process. Just getting out of high school, your world changes. My heart breaks when I see someone take their life so young. I never felt that. I had a great time in high school. I was the prom king. I had a lot of friends. I wasn't bullied. Years later, when I came into my own, I talked to my family about it. It wasn't the easiest moment, but they're good people and they love and support me.

Finally, tell us about The Threepenny Opera. You played two roles in the ensemble: Harry, who wore sweatpants, and Velma, who wore orange Speedos and high heels. But what do you remember most about Alan Cumming and Cyndi Lauper?

LS: We had an incredible time offstage. When you're chilling with Alan and Cyndi, the world is a different place. We'd party in Alan's dressing room (at Studio 54) and stay until 1:30 or 2 in the morning. Other times, we'd pile into an SUV, usually Alan or Cyndi's car service, and hit a club or two. We got to skip the line, meet awesome people and one of them would take care of table service. So we were having a blast and not paying for anything. (Laughs.) I was with creative people who didn't care what other people thought. And I think that's when I first started feeling, ''Oh, wait. I've been putting boundaries on myself.'' One night, over a beer, Cyndi and I were talking about the business, and she said, ''YOU don't ever need to settle.'' And I have to say that changed my life.

Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 plays through Sept. 1. For more info, visit kazinonyc.com and lucassteele.com.

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Billy Magnussen

Tony nominee Billy Magnussen, who plays the sexy boy toy in Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, caps off his fairytale year by leaving the Chris Durang comedy on Aug. 4 to film "Into the Woods." He'll be Rapunzel's Prince in Rob Marshall's star-studded version of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's 1987 musical, with Meryl Streep playing the Witch.

"Omigosh, I'm so excited," Magnussen said. "And do you know who I owe the credit to? Meryl Streep. She came to [Vanya] and was the sweetest thing. She's the one who whispered into Rob Marshall's ear and then he came to see me. I love Meryl. She doesn't play a character. She owns it. She's gonna kill it as the Witch. And that's cool that Chris Pine is Cinderella's Prince. He's so great in the 'Star Trek' movies. I'll get to sing 'Agony' with him, and in college, the only song I ever worked on was 'Agony.' That's awesome."

Magnussen, whose randy and outrageous role of Spike will be taken over by Creed Garnick, admitted, "It's a bummer to leave Vanya. Julie White just came in to play Masha and kicked ass. Honestly, I've been so blessed and honored. I'll miss all the cast and crew. We're family. And I'll miss motorboating Kristine [Nielsen] the most." (Laughs.)

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Jonny Orsini and Nathan Lane in The Nance
Photo by Joan Marcus

If you haven't seen Douglas Carter Beane's The Nance at the Lyceum, you've still got until Aug. 11. Two-time Tony winner Nathan Lane gives the season's dramatic and comic tour de force as Chauncey, a gay 1930s sketch comic who's skittish about love.

Meantime, a galaxy of stars has been stopping backstage to say "Hi, simply hi" to Lane and his company of cutups. Jonny Orsini, who plays Chauncey's hunky young lover, said, "It's been incredible. We've seen Victor Garber, Mel Brooks, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Cynthia Nixon, Kristine Nielsen, Alan Cumming and Danny Boyle, whom I'd love to work with. And it was funny, but both Dr. Spocks from "Star Trek" — Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto — came on the same night. Jerry Lewis was pretty cool, and I was blown away by Ian McKellen. And I have quite the schoolboy crush on Krysta Rodriguez. She's adorable and so sweet!"

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Matthew Morrison
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Broadway and TV star Matthew Morrison recently proved that the show — and the "Schue" — must go on after he paid a touching tribute to his Glee co-star Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson and died of a drug overdose on July 13. At the July 17 closing of his latest run at 54 Below, Morrison announced: "This week, I lost a good friend of mine: Cory Monteith. On Glee, he was like a son to my character [Will Schuester], but in real life, he was like a brother to me. I had to do two shows the day after he passed, and it was one of the hardest things for me. I questioned whether to cancel the shows, but more than any time in my entire life, I realized that day that singing was therapeutic and I really dealt with all my grief in those performances. It was amazing."

The Tony and Emmy nominee added, "We usually start the show with a rowdy bang, but tonight, we're gonna start with a song for Cory." With his beautiful voice brimming with emotion, he crooned "What I Did for Love" from A Chorus Line, accompanied only by the plaintive piano of Brad Ellis. Morrison received a rapturous round of applause from the soldout house, which included Glee co-star Darren Criss. He then wowed the crowd with the high standards he set for himself on his new CD, "Where It All Began." Bravo!

Got comments or questions? E-mail me at waymanwong@hotmail.com.

Until next month, let's hear it for the "boys"!

Wayman Wong originated "The Leading Men" column and wrote it from 2003-2006. He also has been a longtime editor of entertainment at the New York Daily News and an award-winning playwright.