THEIR FAVORITE THINGS: Tony Nominee, Passion Star and 54 Below Headliner Melissa Errico Shares Her Theatregoing Experiences

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24 Oct 2012

Melissa Errico
Melissa Errico
Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Playbill.com's feature series asks members of the theatre community to share the Broadway performances that most affected them as part of the audience.

This week we spotlight the choices of Tony nominee Melissa Errico, who will take on her first major Stephen Sondheim role in New York in 2013 when she co-stars in Classic Stage Company's production of Sondheim and James Lapine's Tony-winning Passion. Prior to that, the acclaimed singing actress will play New York's newest nightspot, 54 Below, Oct. 30-Nov. 3.

(Clicking on a name bolded in blue will take readers to that actor or show's entry in the Playbill Vault.)

 

Janet McTeer in A Doll's House.

 

"There was something so audacious about her performance. It made me so tense. When she walked out on her husband and children, I was overwhelmed. I had never seen unhappiness like hers."

 

 

Mark Rylance in Jerusalem

 

"When he was banging on the drums, calling on his ancestors, I felt the whole potential of the art of theatre. It can be so realistic, so scaled to human passion, one man's soul. It can also enter the realm of spirits and ghosts, gods and magic. I actually felt like maybe the gods were going to come into the Music Box Theatre!! He convinced me!"

 

 

Natalia Makarova in On Your Toes.

 

"This was the night I decided that theater was where I wanted to spend my whole life. Natalia Makarova was incredible. Her entrance was amazing, she was lying in the bed reading the newspaper and all you saw were her legs up in the air. And, she was doing little 'changements dans l'aire' (little switches with her toes) and got 'entrance applause.' Needless to say, the 'Slaughter on Tenth Avenue' dance was overwhelming. She was lying back, Lara Teeter was dragging her along with her fingers touching the floor, and she did those kicks. Eros!"

Laura Benanti in Gypsy.

 

"She brought that character to life in every way. I saw the progress of that character in every way; she was perfection (and Patti LuPone's amazing portrayal was the ideal complement). Laura, as Louise, managed to be plain somehow and then the most gorgeous, strong, angry and sexual creature. Her famous striptease performance was such a declaration of self. It was so full of meaning and humanity. Laura rocked my world."

 

 

Audra McDonald in Carousel.

 

"I was just about to star in My Fair Lady when I saw Audra in this. In her performance of 'Mister Snow,' I thought this woman is taking a classic and bringing new life to this, this is fantastic. I guess I can't say I discovered her, but I thought I did! When she said, 'Well, Mister Snow, here I am!' and opened her legs and lay on the hill, it was so silly and zany. What she brought to a classic musical was beautiful and vibrant."

 

 

Venus in Fur.

 

"That was my first date night out after having three kids. And, it felt like an adult night out! And, it was fresh and clever and completely unpredictable. I think what I most loved about Nina [Arianda] is how she portrayed the chaos of auditions and the confusion of subways and issues it takes to get ready for an audition. (With three little kids at home, I've felt similarly!) I think what tickled me was a spirit of bedlam in her. Thank you Nina, I needed the laugh... and it was sexy!"

 

 

Donna Murphy in The People in the Picture.

 

"Watching Donna tackle a musical that was new, complex and ambitious gave me an even deeper appreciation for her. She takes such good care of her audience — she always knows what the story needs. I was so moved by her ability to simply put on her glasses and transform to the elderly Bubbie. Donna makes me want to weep; she seems to know what it takes to be alive. She can carry so much on her slender shoulders!"

 

Victoria Clark in The Light in the Piazza.

 

"I was spellbound by the score to this show. Adam Guettel created something absolutely unique and extraordinary, and Victoria Clark took that final song to the level of the heavens. It began with the spoken line, 'Yes you can.' Then she sings...! I felt her 'well of wishes.' 'Still you have to look and look and look.' And, the orange dress! Oh my!"

 

Christine Ebersole in Grey Gardens. 

 

"Let's face it, this is one of the performances that simply define stardom. It was crazy and perfect. I laughed so hard, and I wept like a baby."

 

 

Betty Buckley in Cats. 

 

" I remember the way the theatre felt. It was scary, it seemed dark and dirty and messy. Everyone was scary to me. I was so young. It was truly another world. I mean, they were cats! And, I was a little girl. But it was simply incredible. You knew they were human beings but they seemed like cats. It can sound silly now, but to a child, this is wondrous. And, Betty Buckley was a goddess cat. A voice that can touch you beyond words."


 

 

Katie Finneran in Noises Off. 

 

"I simply remember her falling down the stairs. I laughed so hard. She was near-sighted, right? It was like she had unscrewed herself and was just wild wires flying everywhere. She embodied the hysterical silliness of that wonderful play. Fantastic!"


 

Claudia Shear in Blown Sideways Thru Life Off-Broadway

 

"Unforgettable. Every story was true. Everything rang with fantastic honesty, and Claudia was riveting. She took you on a journey though her New York, her life. Never have I felt the biographical power of theater like this. One woman telling her story, transfixing us with the places she'd been, the troubles, the triumphs. It's a major moment of theatre history."