(Clicking on a name bolded in blue will take readers to that actor's entry in the Playbill Vault.)
The National Theatre’s War Horse in London – it was breathtaking!
The dance of death in Grand Hotel. I was glued to my seat and was so moved by that performance.
Caren Lyn Tackett
I watched the musical Tommy from the balcony at the Colonial Theatre as a freshman in college. I loved it so much that I vowed to be a performer and to play that theatre one day.
Watching Chicago at 15
|Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
I saw Prince perform during his Musicology tour. I don't care whether you know his music or not, you cannot sit down at a Prince concert!
Sarah Uriarte Berry
Tyne Daly in Gypsy!
I was feeling like a real misfit in middle school, but when I saw Wicked it made me feel really cool for being different... and you can carve that in STONE!
John Leguizamo’s Sexaholix was outrageously funny. He tickles every bone in my body.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Amazing!
U2 Vertigo Tour at the Staples Center
Logan Marshall-Green in Adam Rapp's The Hallway Trilogy.
Richard II at the Old Globe in London, with Mark Rylance
Seeing John Malkovich in True West was the most visceral performance. It left me changed forever.
Most recently, the revival of The Normal Heart. And an early preview of the original Sweeney Todd.
Kathryn Hunter in The Skriker at the National
Sweeney Todd, when the set collapsed.
Angela Lansbury ad-libbed until she was able to get on stage and finish her song. There was a very long ovation.
Ivanov up at Lake Lucille.
Brian Mertes, an amazing director and mind and man, with his wife Melissa Kievman, put up a Chekhov play at their house in Rockland County every summer. Just one week of rehearsal and one performance.
The community comes out, there's a potluck at intermission, it takes place outside, inside and around their house and this gorgeous lake, using the environment and the atmosphere. Anything goes. ASTONISHING! And Rob Campbell as Ivanov truly blew my fragile little mind.
Uta Hagen in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Chekhov's Platonov, directed by Brian Mertes and Melissa Kievman at Lake Lucille
I saw War Horse in London and cried so hard.
Also, my 6th birthday party at Showbiz Pizza - something about huge mechanical animals as a band just doesn't go away?
|Dirty Sugar Photography|
Bernadette Peters in concert circa 1989 in San Diego, from the front row.
Judi Dench in A Little Night Music at the National Theatre in London.
When I saw Spring Awakening, knowing that I would be on that very stage in just a few short weeks making my Broadway debut.
Janet McTeer in A Doll's House
Tie: Brian Cox in Titus Andronicus at RSC, and Peter and Wendy by Mabou Mines.
Kate Bush at the London Palladium. She is so talented as a writer, a singer and a choreographer — she can do everything. She was unusual for her time, she really paved the way for many singers of today.
When I saw Angels in America in its initial Broadway run
Balm in Gilead, Steppenwolf at Circle Repertory (1984)
Final Saturday night taping of Passing Strange. I’d never seen a roof be blown off a theatre like that before. I was weeping like a baby.
Seeing Spring Awakening for the first time with all of the people who were being considered for the show in the same theater at one time.
I was sitting next to Andy Mientus, in front of Caitlin Kinnunen, behind Krista Pioppi... all of whom ended up becoming great friends of mine. It was the start of a beautiful life in New York City.
Peggy Lee, at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto
I saw Audra McDonald live for the first time at Zellerbach Hall in 2005. My friend, an incredibly talented opera composer named Jake Heggie, had written a piece for her the year prior. He knew what a big fan of hers I was, so he brought me along.
At 20 years old I sat in that auditorium as she sang to all 2,089 of us and it felt like I was the only one in the room. She has a way of engaging audience members in such a personal and dynamic way. I was forever changed.
Knowing the way I felt listening to her sing stories and watching the way that others were affected truly resonated with me as an actress and performer. I count it a blessing that I was given that very lucky ticket to see that incredible performance.
The final performance of A Normal Heart
Nikki Renee Daniels
I saw The Normal Heart last year. I can't remember ever having a more visceral reaction to a play than that one. It blew me away.
Original Broadway cast of In the Heights
Jennifer Laura Thompson
My first Broadway show as an audience member, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. It cemented my desire to be a Broadway performer.
Alfred Molina in Red
Closing night of Angels in America at Signature Theatre Company. I saw my good friends Bill Heck and Maggie Lacey get engaged at the curtain call... an amazing way to end an amazing evening of theatre.
The Boys Next Door at the old Lamb's Theatre over 20 years ago. I have a disabled brother, and seeing that play rocked my world.
Elizabeth A. Davis
Bowfire at the NJPAC: violin & fiddle virtuosos that ALSO tap danced like insane people. It sort of made me want to quit the business, they were so good.
Jefferson Mays in I Am My Own Wife
Len Cariou in Sweeney Todd
Anne Pitoniak in 'night, Mother
Ivo Van Hove’s Hedda Gabler at NYTW. The distillation of both the character choices and design elements to their essential qualities felt so smart and fresh to me.
Diary of a Madman
John Doyle's production of Company, with Raúl Esparza and Barbara Walsh. It was great theatre. As it should be, music was an integral part of the drama in this staging.
Even the orchestrations spoke to character relationships. Loved everyone in it and every moment of it. Mr. Esparza was beyond, beyond, beyond.
My family and I saw the revival tour of Show Boat at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. At the finale, the full company performed "Old Man River," and I get chills just thinking about it.
Performance? Well that would be Mink DeVille at the Roxy in L.A. Willy DeVille walked out on stage and lit up a cigarette. That's all he had to do for me.
My most exciting night I ever spent in the theatre? Easy. A one-night-only benefit concert honoring the Museum of the City of New York starring Mary Martin and Ethel Merman. These two stars standing on a Broadway stage belting out every hit they ever had. A priceless memory.
Brian Dennehy in Salesman and Liam Neeson in The Crucible.
Lily Tomlin's The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life In The Universe. Changed my life, literally.
Seeing Hairspray for the first time. I remember getting goosebumps watching the show and saying, "I'm going to be in this show some day!"
Heath Lamberts as Cyrano de Bergerac at the Royal Alex in Toronto.
Hair at the FOX. I was probably 10 and this particular tour decided to do the nudity in full light downstage for most of "Where Do I Go" - much to my mother's chagrin.
I grabbed the opera glasses and saw as much as I could before she dragged me out of my seat and up the aisle. Clearly, theatre would be my calling after that.
The Color Purple. I was dating my (now) husband and he just sobbed at the end. I loved him even more for that.
Godspell at the Muny! It was my first time going to the Muny and it was magical!
I caught the out-of-town tryout of Ragtime in Toronto when I was eleven and it changed my life. I had never been so affected by a performance and it made me understand the power of musical theatre as an art form.
The first time I saw Les Miserables, at the Broadway Theatre, I was blown away and wanted to be a part of that show!
Well, it's so gay, but I have to say Streisand in Funny Girl. I can still feel the excitement of watching her spin magic on that stage and the sound that was coming out of her. Unforgettable.
And I did see the original Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which produced gasps from the audience about every 3 minutes.
Recently, One Man, Two Guvnors. I was EXHAUSTED from laughing after the first act alone. And then came act two! Abdominals and cheeks have still not recovered.
I saw Beyonce in concert the weekend she launched her “Back to Business” tour last Memorial Day, and it made me realize that not only am I untalented and lazy, but I can never complain about my workload in any Broadway show again.
Beyonce reached out and touched a woman’s face in the front row, and the woman immediately started throwing up and praising Jesus and I totally understood her compulsion.
Cate Blanchett in Streetcar was pretty magical.
While in college I performed at the opening of a new theatre in Dayton, Ohio, and also performing was Ray Charles (obviously). I snuck into the orchestra pit and watched him sing "Georgia" from the best seat in the house.
John C. McGinley
David Dukes and Richard Gere in Bent
Chita Rivera's last performance of A Dancer's Life. I was in college with no money and I spent 100 dollars to get a ticket. That had to have been all the money I had for that week. I remember thinking, "My parents are going to kill me!" But I had to see her.
The Seven Streams of the River Ota by Robert Lepage
August: Osage County at Steppenwolf Downstairs Theater in Chicago, 2007.
James Earl Jones and Mary Alice in Fences. I moved downstairs for the second act and was blown away.
And - my dad again - watching Cuckoo's Nest as a youngster. I couldn't stand up for the ovation because I was so affected by it.
A performance of August: Osage County. I saw it with my good friend Jenna Ushkowitz. At the end of each act, we clenched each other's arms and let out all the air and noise we had been bottling up because of how incredible the play was.
The ensemble performing it was breathtaking. I'll never forget it. Also I still remember snippets of seeing Beauty and the Beast with my parents and being AMAZED by it at age 5.