Two-time Tony winner Judy Kaye, who can currently be seen playing Madame Morrible in the international hit musical Wicked at Broadway's Gershwin Theatre, shares the performances that most affected her as part of the audience.
Colleen Dewhurst in A Moon for the Misbegotten
Passionate and human. I finally got to cruise with her for The Theatre Guild and know her as the indefatigable president of Actors’ Equity Association. What a woman and artist!
Thrilling and heartbreaking! He had me pinned to my seat at the then Uris Theater, with fear and sensuality. He still does. I had the supreme joy of playing Lovett opposite him in London, a dream come true. His recent, brilliant stint in his one-man show Broadway and the Bard confirmed what I have always believed. Len Cariou is the finest actor in the English-speaking world.
Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd
She is always wonderful. Always! But, her Lovett remains the model for which all of us strive. Funny. Dangerous. And, altogether marvelous. I want to be her when I grow up.
I came to NYC for a visit, already smitten with the theatre. I sat in the first row of the mezzanine at the Winter Garden Theatre and was taken completely away by her astonishing performance. I felt like I really knew her. And, years later (before playing Rosie in Mamma Mia! at that theatre), while I was playing Emma Goldman in Ragtime (at the now deceased Shubert Theatre in L.A.), she visited my dressing room after the performance. I still can't get over that.
Carole Shelley in The Play's the Thing at BAM
I was preparing to understudy Madeline Kahn in On the 20th Century, and I saw Ms. Shelley in her glorious performance as the great actress Ilona. Carole so completely inhabited the role, a role not unlike Lily Garland, that it gave me courage to go for it, so to speak. And so, when the time came, I did. Thank you forever, Carole Shelley.
Larry Kert in Company
His performance gave me such longing, that an actor could have such an effect on an audience. And, he was one of the funniest, most irreverent people I ever knew. After years of working with him, sailing the wide world with him for The Theater Guild, and knowing him, I still miss him terribly.
Brian Stokes Mitchell in Ragtime
His performance of Coalhouse, observed from both the house and from the wings, gave me such joy! His braverism, as Madame Morrible says, in that classic and timeless piece of American culture, forever secured his place as a major star of the American theater.
Donald Corren in Souvenir
While many in the audience of that wonderful play by Stephen Temperley thought that it was a one-woman show about the famously bad singer Florence Foster Jenkins, it was actually a play about Cosme McMoon, her brave and steadfast accompanist, and his relationship with the lady. Of course, my observations of Donald’s work were from beside him. But, he was, from every angle, perfection in every way.
Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Of course, every performance of hers is perfection. No news there. But, each performance is so fully realized. She is a tower of strength and vulnerability all at once.
Truly a brave and fully realized performance. I can't wait to see what else he brings our way!
I've run out of space, but I must mention:
Sydney Lucas in Fun Home
Michael Cerveris in Fun Home
Judy Kuhn in Fun Home
Zero Mostel in Fiddler on the Roof
The entire cast of Hamilton, you have changed everything!!!!
In truth, I am a composite of every performance I have ever witnessed.