THEIR FAVORITE THINGS: Pippin Star Erik Altemus Shares His Theatregoing Experiences

By Andrew Gans
October 30, 2013

Playbill.com's feature series Their Favorite Things 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 singing actor Erik Altemus, who plays Lewis in the Tony-winning revival of Pippin at the Music Box Theatre.



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

 

Derek Jacobi in King Lear at the Donmar Warehouse, London

 

"I saw this production before it came to BAM and was profoundly moved by it. I was so emotionally shaken by Jacobi's performance that I openly wept all the way thru dinner afterwards."

 

 

The Canvas Priming Scene in Red

 

"I'll never forget the surge of excitement I felt as Alfred Molina and Jonathan Groff (I saw the production in L.A.) began to prime the canvas. As the music swelled, I was hit by the beauty of what was happening before me, the past and the present coming together to create art. A brilliant moment in theatre history."

 

The Chandelier Crash in The Phantom of the Opera

 

"How can you love theatre and not be in awe of this moment? Pure theatricality at its best. I first saw Phantom when I was a little kid, and it definitely was the show that gave me 'the bug.' I tried to recreate my own version in my garage, but let me tell you, a kite isn't as effective as a chandelier."

 

The Time of Your Life in San Francisco (playwright William Saroyan pictured)

 

"I saw this play in San Francisco when I was 16. I remember it being the first play that I really connected with. And the set was incredible! There were these huge construction beams that jetted out into the theatre, and the show started with two guys sitting on one, high above the audience."

 

 

Rachel Bay Jones in Pippin

 

"It's hard to put into words how I feel about Rachel's performance. All I can say is that she has inspired me deeply. She has the ability to connect humor with the emotional pain in Catherine, and the result is something so beautifully moving. I often find myself watching her from the wings, completely in awe. . ." 

 

 

The Normal Heart

 

"What a cast! I thought this was some of the best ensemble work I've seen on a Broadway stage."

 

The Light in the Piazza

 

"I was already a huge Adam Guettel fan, and this production made me even more of one. The soaring melodies and complex harmonies still give me goosebumps."

 

Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Three Sisters

 

"The night I saw the Classic Stage Company's production of the Chekhov masterpiece, Maggie Gyllenhaal was sick and losing her voice. However, she went on and totally used it to great success. I felt like I saw a very special version of what was already a stellar piece of theatre. A deep, raspy voice just seemed to work for her Masha."

Sunday in the Park with George

 

"This was the first Sondheim show I had seen on Broadway, and I still can see the silhouettes of the company re-creating Georges Seurat's famous painting. It was such a satisfying moment when it all came together and you saw the painting come to life."

 

 

Jessie Mueller singing "Every Night at Seven" from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever 
 

 

"Talk about a career-defining moment. I could tell when I saw On a Clear Day... that Jessie would be a star. Her voice was like butter with some jazzy brass thrown in. Her performance was fearless and riveting."