Broadway Scene Stealers: The Women

By Ben Rimalower
22 Aug 2013

Eartha Kitt
Photo by Carol Rosegg

8. Eartha Kitt, The Wild Party

The late legendary international chanteuse Eartha Kitt graced Broadway only briefly in the short run of Michael John LaChiusa's The Wild Party, directed by George C. Wolfe in 2000. (Kitt also earned huzzahs as the second Liliane La Fleur, after Chita Rivera, in the 2003 revival of Nine.) There was a lot of star wattage onstage in The Wild Party, including the dynamic Mandy Patinkin and Toni Collette as the leads and supporting cast including such heavy-hitters as Tonya Pinkins, Marc Kudisch and Norm Lewis. Nonetheless, Kitt was an icon so ingrained in our collective consciousness, it's impossible to even trace the full reach of her influence and impact. Her big song, "When It Ends" (rendered an instant classic by deliciously distinctive delivery), of course, stopped the show cold, but so did her every move or utterance. I will never forget the joy and terror of watching her skulk across that stage, eyes gleaming with profound fire. All hail the Queen.