By Michael Gioia
05 Mar 2013
|Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
The Hammerstein Ballroom was decked out in shades of red and white — the signature colors of the award-winning MCC Theater, the Off-Broadway company that specializes in showcasing new work — as the "Miscast Class of 2013," under the music direction of Phil Reno, took their seats on the Hammerstein stage.
Spring Awakening Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff, who closed last year's Miscast gala with a show-stopping rendition of "Anything Goes" — complete with Tony winner Kathleen Marshall's choreography and backup dancers from the Tony-winning musical's ensemble — kicked off the evening. Before explaining his 2013 song choice, the Miscast vet gave a "shout out" to Tony Award winner Judith Light, the evening's honoree who was recognized for "her illustrious screen and stage career, her work with MCC Theater, and her impassioned advocacy of several causes, including Arts in Education."
Sierra Boggess quickly took center stage following the well-received Groff-Borle duet and explained that her song choice was influenced by her involvement with the musical theatre staple Les Misérables. Boggess, who began her stage career as an understudy for Cosette in the U.S. national tour of Les Miz, expressed that she was always "overlooked" for the role that she was dying to play. When she returned to the musical in 2012 — joining the West End company at the Queen's Theatre — she took over the role of Fantine. However, she always wanted to take on the part that her fiancé, Tam Mutu, plays now (in London) — Javert. "This is my audition!" she said, before launching into a soaring rendition of "Stars."
Nicole Parker, who has appeared in Broadway's Wicked and The People in the Picture — and is known for her spot-on celebrity impersonations — created a solemn tone at the Hammerstein with an intimate and captivating performance of "I Cannot Hear the City" from the Marvin Hamlisch-Craig Carnelia-John Guare musical Sweet Smell of Success, which she first discovered while watching a PBS tribute to Hamlisch on New Year's Eve.
The first major highlight of the evening was a duet between Newsies Tony Award nominee and "Smash" star Jeremy Jordan and Cheyenne Jackson, recently of the short-lived comedy The Performers, who sang the roles of Daisy and Violet, respectively, in the Side Show power ballad "Who Will Love Me As I Am?" The tune garnered multiple shouts and applause as the keys were elevated throughout — ending in the key originally performed by Tony nominees Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner. Also, to pass as conjoined twins, a small platform was brought on stage to raise Jordan's height to match with Jackson.Continued...