PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Jenna Leigh Green, Nic Rouleau, Hannah Elless and More Pick Favorite Spice Girls Songs
By Playbill Staff
The New York City return of Broadway Loves the Spice Girls, a celebration of the pop group whose hits included "Wannabe," "Spice Up Your Life," "Stop" and "2 Become 1," will be presented at 54 Below Jan. 13. In anticipation of the concert, members from the cast pick their favorite Spice Girls song as part of this week's Playbill Playlist.
Directed by Kyle Fox with music direction by Benjamin Rauhala, show time is 11:30 PM. Shoshana Feinstein produces.
Interpreting new vocal arrangements of Spice Girls hits will be Ashley Kate Adams (La Cage aux Folles), Darren Bluestone (Avenue Q), Stefanie Brown (Wicked), Caitlyn Caughell (Newsies), Kennedy Caughell (American Idiot), Natalie Daradich (Wicked), Ariana DeBose (Motown), Hannah Elless (Somewhere In Time), Russell Fischer (Jersey Boys), Jason Gotay (Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark), Jenna Leigh Green (Wicked, "Sabrina the Teenage Witch"), Ariana Groover (Bare), Sabrina Harper (Pippin), Liana Hunt (Newsies), Emma Hunton (Witness Uganda), Elizabeth Judd (Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark), Janet Krupin (If/Then), Steffanie Leigh (Mary Poppins), Alice Lee (Bare, Spring Awakening), Kara Lindsay (Newsies), Synthia Link (Bullets Over Broadway), Julia Mattison (Godspell), Gabrielle McClinton (Pippin), Lesley McKinnell (Wicked), Emily McNamara (Gettin' The Band Back Together), Nic Rouleau (The Book of Mormon), Tess Soltau (Far From Heaven), Billy Tighe (Pippin), Stephanie Torns (Wicked), Stephanie Umoh (Ragtime) and Barrett Wilbert Weed (Bare).
The band will feature David Cinquegrana on guitar, Shannon Ford on drums, Gene Rauhala and John Perko on trumpet, Eric Schedin on trombone, Andrew Halchak on woodwinds and music director Benjamin Rauhala on keyboards. Back-up vocals will be provided by Lacey Angerosa, Michael Gioia and Jillian Soares.
Here, music director Rauhala and a handful of the Broadway Loves the Spice Girls cast members pick their favorite song by the Spice Girls and tell us why they made the list.
Orchestrations and vocal arrangements are by Rauhala, with brass arrangements by Schedin.
There is a $15 cover charge and a $20 food/beverage minimum. Visit 54Below.com.
Gabrielle McClinton: "Holler." …Because I heard those girls [Emma Hunton, Barrett Wilbert Weed, Ariana Groover, Alice Lee and Elizabeth Judd] sing it at the first concert and became obsessed! They killed it. That beat! That sass! So funky and different from any of [the Spice Girls'] other tunes.
Jenna Leigh Green: "Wannabe." I'd be lying if I didn't say the OG "Wannabe." In fact, me and a couple of girlfriends may or may not have tried to create our own "Spice Girls" group… and I was always Posh!!!
Hannah Elless: "Say You'll Be There." My obvious choice is "Say You'll Be There" because it is the perfect song to dance to in the car. (AKA, "car dancing.") Also, who doesn't love singing the echo part in the chorus?
Hannah Elless: "My Strongest Suit." My obscure choice is from the concept album of Aida. Remember that? The Spice Girls sang "My Strongest Suit." I wore that song out! Combining Broadway tunes AND the Spice Girls?! Please. My little girl dreams were screaming at the highest pitch possible.
Russell Fischer: "Too Much." It's such a cool throwback to the pop ballads of the 50s and 60s, but also has a 90s groove, like that of the [90s R&B group] En Vogue.
Stephanie Torns: "Who Do You Think You Are?" The music in this song represents the sassy, yet super-fun girl group they were. Also, the lyrics are perfect for our profession because we want to become something and someone, but need to remember who we are!
Nic Rouleau: "Mama." I am the ultimate Mama's Boy. I talk to my mom on the phone at the very least once a day, often more. When I was young, I would sit up in my room playing "Mama" by the Spice girls and "The Perfect Fan" by the Backstreet Boys on loop, over and over: two of the ultimate 90s "I Love Mom" power anthems!
Janet Krupin: "Leader of the Gang." Does "Leader of the Gang" count? They cover an old Gary Glitter song in the move ["Spice World"], and I just always loved that part…Or maybe my young self was just getting all the "feelz" from the men in their ass-less onesies.
Benjamin Rauhala: "Saturday Night Divas. "Saturday Night Divas" is my favorite Spice Girls song, and is actually the reason Broadway Loves the Spice Girls came about! I was writing "Thank You" cards in the 54 Below dressing room last August, and this tune came on. From the very first a cappella "Get down, get deeper and down," I always get pumped up. I posted on Facebook about "Saturday Night Divas" being the best pre-show hype song, and the response from my Broadway actor friends was enormous. I realized very quickly that I wasn't the only one in midtown who still loved the Spice Girls. And, in a very special way, that makes this 54 Below encore concert a homecoming for our show – what a joy!
Jason Gotay: "2 Become 1." I love "2 Become 1" because you actually get to hear the girls sing a little more fully! And, the melody is really catchy, which is, of course, a trademark of their music.
Emily McNamara: "Say You'll Be There." My favorite Spice Girls song is "Say You'll Be There" mostly because I'm impressed at the grammatical corn maze they sing themselves into. For example: "This time you gotta take it easy
Far too much emotioN would make sense or far too many emotions… But far too MUCH emotionS?
"If you, put two and two together
I always thought that two and two together was FOUR. Why is she gonna kick the guy out for not knowing the equation? What kind of crazy Spice Girls math are we doing here? Bottom line is they are making up their own adorable Spice vernacular, and even if it undoes the English language as I know it, I'M ON BOARD!
Ariana DeBose: "Holler." They were nailing it with that one! Very Destiny's Child, but way before the big three came on the scene, really. But, also, it had this amazing Janet [Jackson] feel, a la "Control."
Synthia Link: "Wannabe." …Because to this day, I still know all the words to the "rap" and have a full dance choreographed to the song… I'm not ashamed.
Ariana Groover: "Say You'll Be There." One: the music in that song is so funky. Two: the video was such a 90s girls video. Just pure perfection.
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