Broadway Scene Stealers: The Women

By Ben Rimalower
22 Aug 2013

Ann Harada
Photo by Carol Rosegg

2. Ann Harada, Avenue Q

I'll never forget the first time I saw Ann Harada in Avenue Q. From her hilarious entrance screaming at her husband to take out the "lecycuraburs," the quadruple whammy of comedy, character, heart and belting that Harada brought to the role of Christmas Eve, the Japanese immigrant social worker with no clients and unemployed fiancé and lots of bills to pay, struck many chords on many different levels. The genius of Avenue Q is how many different levels it can work, from the crudely funny to the genuinely touching, and Harada (just as ridiculous in her kimono and polyester slacks as any puppet and, yet, human) was the heart and soul of the show. This was never more true than in big-and-then-bigger Judy Garland-esque torch song, "The More You Ruv Someone," but it was also abundantly clear as she stole scene after scene. Her failure to be nominated for a Tony was another major fail on the part of the nominators that will surely one day be corrected.