Tony nominees Beth Leavel and Brooks Ashmanskas play two Broadway stars attached at the hip in Broadway’s The Prom and, during the Tony Awards press junket, the two real-life stars played true to that inseparable form.
Though they’re known for comedy, both note dramas as the show that impacted them the most in the video above.
“The original production of Sweeney Todd. A Chorus Line,” says Ashmanskas.
“I was gonna say A Chorus Line!” says Leavel. “I was in college and I wasn't living in New York. We came in on a bus and I remember sitting and watching A Chorus Line and feeling things I had no idea were possible.” But it also makes sense. A Chorus Line was built off of the stories of its original ensemble and The Prom was built for its stars, as well.
“To have songs like that written for you, it's like thank you Matt [Sklar] and Chad [Beguelin] so very much,” Leavel told Playbill on her opening night. “They know my voice and they write it for me, they write it for my comedy, they write it for my storytelling.” But Sklar and Beguelin also relied on Leavel as a thermometer for what would work for Dee Dee, noting that in their early development she was coming off mean and Leavel helped the team shape her into someone ill-informed, rather than vindictive.
The Prom was a fully collaborative effort; Ashmanskas recalls working with director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw to stage “Barry’s Going to Prom.” Ad libbed lines in the rehearsal room have been written into the script. While Leavel and Ashmanskas know when to contribute, they also know when to listen. That push and pull leads to a beautiful partnership, onstage and off.
Videography and video editing by Roberto Araujo.