THEIR FAVORITE THINGS: If/Then Star James Snyder Shares His Theatregoing Experiences

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16 Jul 2014

James Snyder
James Snyder
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

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 James Snyder, who is currently starring opposite Idina Menzel in the new musical If/Then at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

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

Hugh Jackman in The Boy from Oz

"I was already a huge fan of his Curly in Oklahoma!, and, of course, how can you beat Wolverine? As someone I looked up to and was hoping to emulate, he commanded the audience, and his obvious joy for the stage could be felt from the cheap seats where I sat. This was also the first show I saw by myself, having just flown in for one of my first NY auditions. It was a reaffirming experience. I left saying, 'I want to do that.'"

 

 

Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal in Rent

 

"It's surreal being so close with Anthony now, having grown up on the OBC recording and spending hours learning guitar and piano accompaniment so I could impress my friends. I got to see Anthony and Adam's last Broadway performance of Rent at the Nederlander. The energy was palpable. I was just about to start Cry-Baby, and it felt full circle. . . little did I know I would end up with Anthony on the next show! Maybe I should think of it as more of an upward spiral."

 

Idina Menzel

 

"Idina Menzel - Hey, remember that time Idina sold out Radio City Music Hall? Me, too. She is so fantastic with keeping her concerts intimate, and considering RCMH fits almost 6,000, that is quite a feat. She is such a pro and to see her do her thing with something other than If/Then and do it soooo well, I couldn't have been prouder. Plus, most of our cast was there, so it felt like a family affair."

 

 Norm Lewis as El Gallo in The Fantasticks

 

"My first equity show and I was fresh out of USC. What a great time at Sacramento Music Circus (I know it's not Broadway but, come on, it was Norm Freaking Lewis). He couldn't have been nicer, and I gotta say, to work with someone like Norm is like learning from the best."

 

 

Vanessa Redgrave as Prospero in The Tempest at The Globe Theatre in London

 

"Nothing like gender bending from the best, with the best, at the original. I stood at the edge of the stage and took it all in (plus a little bit of spit)."

 

 

 South Pacific at Lincoln Center

"Can I just say that entire production was breathtaking. From Paulo to Kelli to Matt to Danny to the sets, to the Orchestra, to every grain of sand on that set. Breathtaking. It was one of those shows I wish I could relive time and time again. R & H would have been proud, to say the least.”

 

 

Brooks Ashmanskas in Bye, Bye Birdie at Sacramento Music Circus

 

"No matter how you screw up the spelling of his last name, for my money, there is no one funnier than Brooks. I will never forget the first time I went to the theater and was floored by a performance. It was another time I said. . . I MUST do that. In another full spiral moment, 10 years later I got to play Birdie at the Kennedy Center with him as Albert and got to tell him that in person. Although, Brooks, if you are reading this, nothing compares to your performances on the porch of your house at Williamstown Theater Festival."

 Opening Night of the Revival of Hair in Central Park

 

"My great friend and college roommate Bryce Ryness (who was nothing short of brilliant as Woof) had a ticket for me. It was supposed to pour rain that day, and I was anticipating a tragic holding of the show; luckily, the only thing that held was the rain. . . until. . .As the lights dimmed on the final image of Jonathan Groff and an American Flag, the hard beat of rain approached quickly from behind the audience – in a rush of rain and emotions, the bows began and continued in the mud of the Delacorte Theater. It was the most magical opening I have ever experienced."

 

 

Laura Benanti in Gypsy

 

". . . gotta be honest, kinda had a huuuuuge crush on her for a couple years after that."

 

 

Last, but certainly not least, Matt Walker, Beth Kennedy and Rick Batalla of the Troubador Theatre Company in Comedy of Aerosmith

 

"This LA theater company, based at Garry Marshall's Falcon Theater, has won nearly every LA theater award possible. The first show I saw was Comedy of Aerosmith; per usual, they take an amazing mix of a classical text (Comedy of Errors) and add a crazy mix of songs from a contemporary music artist (Aerosmith). This show had everything I love about theater, Shakespeare, rock music, tons of comedy, improv, acrobatic movement and a shameless drive to entertain the hell out of an audience. I was fresh out of college, and after seeing the show felt compelled to write the director/star Matt Walker a letter. They, like so many great West Coast acting companies, are proof LA theater is alive, vibrant and relevant."