"Measure in Love": Joanna Gleason, Idina Menzel, Kelli O'Hara, Tony Danza, Robin De Jesus and Over Three Dozen More Reflect at Thanksgiving

News   "Measure in Love": Joanna Gleason, Idina Menzel, Kelli O'Hara, Tony Danza, Robin De Jesus and Over Three Dozen More Reflect at Thanksgiving
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Playbill.com reached out to members of the New York theatre community, including actors, musicians, writers and more, to share with us what they are most grateful for this holiday season.

Nick Adams
Nick Adams

Actor Nick Adams, Wicked, Priscilla Queen of the Desert:
I'm thankful for my health, my Wicked family and to be a part of such a fulfilling musical that has taken me on an adventure all over the country.

Playwright Douglas Carter Beane, Cinderella, The Little Dog Laughed:
I am thankful that I write plays that people connect with and enjoy. For that I am thankful every day, every moment. I'm thankful that my ten-year-old son Cooper almost always agrees with my casting choices because it's bloody hell when he doesn't. I am thankful that The Band Wagon was so much fun and I got to be with Tracey Ullman a lot. I am thankful that of all the composers I work with, I get to sleep with the cutest one. I am thankful for the Scranton Shakespeare Festival for reminding me of the pure joy of theatre. I am thankful I am finishing Mark Fisher Fitness "Snatched" just in time for mashed potatoes and gravy.

Actress Sierra Boggess, The Phantom of the Opera, The Little Mermaid:
I love that there is a day in the year where we are literally getting to sit down and acknowledge how grateful we are! I am grateful for this life! I am grateful that we all get to walk alongside each other on this planet! I am grateful that we get the chance to grow and learn and inspire and be inspired at all times! I am grateful for the unlimited potential to strive to be our best selves! I am grateful for my cats; they make my life better because of their existence! I am grateful for my friends and my family and all the animals in this world! May we continue to help each other out always!

Actress Laura Bell Bundy, Legally Blonde:
There really isn't anything in my life that I don't feel thankful for. Even the uncomfortable and "bad" have a shiny, silver lining. Life is GOOD! But I'd say I'm most grateful for the opportunities I've had to "play" by consistently working on my craft, travel, LOVE, family, UBER, Thom, Asmeret, Tiffany, Brooke, Tracy Jai, Paul and Wade. Actor Tony Danza, Honeymoon in Vegas:
I have so much to be thankful for. I have healthy children, I have my health, I live in the greatest city in the world, and I continue to be lucky. Our show on Broadway is a gift, which I receive every time I get to do it. This list could go on, but I would finish it with: I am so thankful for all the wonderful people in my life — my family , my friends, the people I work with and, of course, the incredible ensemble of Honeymoon in Vegas.

Carly Hughes
Carly Hughes

Actor Robin De Jesus, In the Heights, Wicked:
This year I'm grateful for so much. My mother is living stateside again, my family is healthy, I'm healthy, my friends are awesome, my boyfriend is amazing, I have work, I still have goals that I haven't met in my career, but I'm happy with the ones I have. I feel driven by the desire to improve myself. Not because I think little of myself, but because I think I deserve it. There's so much I want to achieve and experience in life, and I think I'm heading in the right direction.

Actress Natalie Charle Ellis, Les Misérables:
This year I am thankful for a dream coming true. I made my Broadway debut, opened a new Broadway show and performed on the Tonys in the revival of the first Broadway show I ever saw — in the same theatre I saw it in… Les Misérables. Pretty darn thankful.

Actor Jonathan Freeman, Aladdin:
I feel privileged to have had a life in the performing arts for my whole life. I am thankful that my parents Gloria (age 91) and George (age 94) not only encouraged me, but are still here to enjoy it with me. Just a few nights ago at dinner — Andreas Deja, Richard Sherman and myself all agreed that we felt lucky to have had such wonderful careers that enriched our lives, and how thankful we all were for that. I am so thankful to count Richard and Andreas among the numerous talented friends that the business has given me!

Actress Gaelen Gilliland, Honeymoon in Vegas
This year, I'm extremely thankful for being newly engaged!!! I have a wonderful fiancé who's also in the biz (Andrew Miller-Props at If/Then), and we both are so thankful to be working in this exciting community. It's my favorite time of year to be in NYC and so very festive to celebrate with my Honeymoon in Vegas family! 

Actress Joanna Gleason, Into the Woods:
Life expands and contracts, and you feel it more strongly as you get older. I'm so grateful for the old friends who keep indelible what we shared over the years, and for the new friends who challenge, inspire and connect me to the world of tomorrow. You live your dreams by waking up! Actress Montego Glover, Memphis:
Among the many things I'm thankful for I would add: the peace of mind that comes from being a real grown up; a safe, quiet place to go at the end of my crazy days; the willingness to try; and good wine.

Actor Albert Guerzon, Honeymoon in Vegas
I'm thankful to be working. I know how it feels to go for a long while without a good contract. I'm really grateful to be challenged with people whom I respect and to come home to my wife at the end of a long day. 

Actress Jackie Hoffman, On the Town:
A gig.

Actress Carly Hughes, Pippin:
This year has honestly been one of my most joyous, successful and blessed years for many reasons. I am thankful for all the amazing opportunities my career has brought forth and all the life clarity/peace that has been given to me, my family and my friends.

Caissie Levy
Caissie Levy

Actor Adam Jacobs, Aladdin:
I am thankful for what every working Broadway actor is given — to be in that unique position to affect thousands of people's lives in a positive way on a weekly basis, whether it be by giving somebody the experience of their first Broadway show or inspiring young artists to pursue careers in the arts, or by bringing joy, laughter and tears to audiences who leave the theatre smiling or viewing the world slightly differently. It never hurts to remind ourselves that we are the lucky ones. (Although sometimes it hurts when you're sitting in an ice bath after a five-show weekend…)

Actor David Josefsberg, Honeymoon in Vegas
1. This show which I have been involved with for nine years finally coming to Broadway!
2. My amazingly supportive wife
3. My healthy, TALENTED kids!
4. My parents and sister-in-law, who watch the kids when I am incognito
5. My Fantasy Football teams this year! Woo-hoo, three playoff teams
6. Did I mention my beautiful, supportive wife?!
7. Jason Robert Brown and Andrew Bergman for writing an amazing show (and giving me the best stuff to do in it)
8. Getting ready to be the BEST softball team this year in the Broadway Show League… You heard it here first… I guarantee a championship!
9. Being part of such an amazing cast…headed by the boss Tony D!

Actress Janet Krupin, If/Then, Bring It On:
I'm thankful this year for Iron Bar. It's like my home away from home in midtown. The whole team, especially Ray the manager, there has been so welcoming to me and to [my band] Trillium. Plus…their nachos. I'm thankful for their nachos.

Actor Stephen Kunken, Enron:
Raising a five year old in a house with two working artists can be nail-biting at times. At the end of this year in particular, I marvel not only at what we managed to cram in, but how rewarding it all was. None of that would have been possible without our support system of friends and family who provide seamless, loving care to our daughter, Naomi. When the going gets rough and Mom and Dad are stuck in techs, on sets and toiling in ten-out-of-twelves, this list of theatre "aunts," "uncles" and "guest stars" comes through every time. It's a veritable who's who of theatre elite…but they check their egos somewhere on the B61 bus out to Red Hook and scoop up our kids time and time again with love and laughs. It would literally be impossible to do what my wife and I do without these incredible people, and I'm grateful for their love, their generosity and their willingness to play a huge part in supporting not only our art…but our family.

Actor Raymond J. Lee, Honeymoon in Vegas
This year has been an extra special one for my husband and me because we brought our daughter home on Aug. 7, and we cannot imagine life without her.  We are extremely thankful for all our friends and family, who continually gave us strength throughout the entire process, and to Spence Chapin, for everything they have done. We can't wait to spend many Thanksgivings together watching her grow up! Actor Telly Leung, Godspell, "Glee":
I'm thankful for so many things - but recently, I spent some time in San Francisco (I was singing at Feinstein's at the Nikko), and I got to visit the Castro and go to the location of the camera shop that used to be Harvey Milk's headquarters... Being in that space reminded me to be thankful for those that have come before me, who've sacrificed so much and paved the way for me to be who I am today.

Actress Caissie Levy, Les Misérables:
Thanksgiving rules, especially for this Canadian girl. It's far and away my favorite/favourite holiday. I love doing shows over Thanksgiving and having the chance to reflect on the good fortune I've had to be part of Broadway history and to play a slew of incredible roles. It's really such an honor. This year, I'm most thankful for my husband, David. He is, hands down, the best thing that's ever happened to me. Well…that and tofurkey.

Taylor Louderman
Taylor Louderman

Actress Taylor Louderman, Peter Pan Live!, Bring It On:
The holidays are my favorite time of year! I am so thankful to be a part of the Peter Pan Live! adventure. The opportunity to bring live theatre into the homes of Americans all over the country, especially kids who may not have the chance to see a Broadway show, is a dream come true! I hope it is as magical for them as it was for me. And, of course, I'm thankful for my family and friends back home in Missouri; love is the greatest gift of all, and for that we can all be thankful.

Actor and songwriter Douglas Lyons, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical:
I'm thankful for The Book of Mormon first national tour, which introduced me to my [songwriting] collaborator Ethan Pakchar.

Actor Rob McClure, Honeymoon in Vegas
I have so much to be thankful for this year: This extraordinary show. This phenomenal cast and crew of friends. And, my wife Maggie Lakis is currently doing Allegro down at Classic Stage Company. For the first time in a while, we are getting to spend a lot of time together. I'm really grateful. 

Actress Elle McLemore, Heathers: The Musical, Bring It On:
I am thankful for my friends, family, good coffee, corn nuts and being a part of an amazing community of gypsies that has equal opportunities and passionate performers on both sides of the country!

Actress Idina Menzel, If/Then:
I'm so thankful that I get to do what I love for a living; thankful for my If/Then family; thankful that my son comes to visit and will grow up around theatre people, the best people in the world. Actress Marla Mindelle, Cinderella:
The things I'm thankful for? Well, I'll get the small stuff out of the way. Dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's, "Friends" reruns, rediscovering the singer Jojo, emojis and "Showgirls" the movie. Okay. Now for the bigger stuff. This year, and every year, I'm always thankful for my family and friends. It seems so simple, but they are the best things about my life and make it wonderful, crazy and full of joy.

Actress Patti Murin, Lysistrata Jones:
This year, I am incredibly thankful to be spending the holidays doing a fantastic show that celebrates the holidays (Holiday Inn at the Goodspeed Opera House) and also to be close enough to spend Thanksgiving Day with my family. Being able to watch my nieces and nephew grow up is something I never take for granted, and Thanksgiving is always a great day to marvel at how they have changed over the years. And, also, I am beyond grateful that I get to spend every day with my boyfriend, Colin, and our puppy, Milo.

Kelli O'Hara
Kelli O'Hara Photo by Monica Simoes

Actress Julia Murney, Wicked:
I'm so very grateful for family (both chosen and inherited), music and pie. Not necessarily always in that order.

Actress Deirdre O'Connell, By The Water:
There are so many things I am grateful for. Wow… Here's a short list: My partner and true love, who runs a high school and has thousands of funny, awful, beautiful stories every day to remind me what goes on in the big old world… My knees for staying strong enough to carry me up to my rent-stabilized walk-up, so that I can afford to be in plays… My brother and sister who pick up the slack of caring for our parents so I can be in plays… The people I run away and work on Chekhov with every summer who are the craziest, bravest, sexiest, smartest… My dressing roommates from Circle Mirror Transformation, who have stayed a dear and loyal and beloved little family… Writers, writers, writers: Lucy Thurber, Mona Mansour, Annie Baker, Hamish Linklater, Sarah Schulman, Bob Glaudini, Lisa Kron, Melissa Ross, Andrea Lepcio, Sharyn Rothstein… The new family being made nightly in By The Water, a big-spirited group of manly men and tough funny broads who I am lucky to be getting on the Staten Island Ferry with each night.

Actress Kelli O'Hara, The Bridges of Madison County, The King and I:
Thanksgiving is the smell of home, the memory of my grandparents, the laughter at "the kids table" and the blissful tryptophan coma. Thanksgiving is the orphan meal in NYC, the combination of our traditions and the leftovers gobbled up by the crew. It's a marker; a marker that the years keep passing, and things will always be changing. It's bittersweet. But I love it. Actress Brynn O'Malley, Honeymoon in Vegas:
We're in the middle of previews right now for Honeymoon in Vegas, which is an incredibly stressful and exhausting time for everyone involved. Although most of our cast, creatives, designers and stage managers have stayed with us from Paper Mill, we do have a lot of new people joining us for the Broadway run. I cannot tell you the number of said new people who've recently exclaimed, "I've never had so much fun working with people on a show!" or "Working on this show feels like going to a party every day!" or "This is the best group of people I've ever worked with!" And my response has been, "I know, right? And you know what's great? This is 'us' at our absolute WORST!" When you're in a show, especially a long-running one (fingers crossed), your day-to-day enjoyment of the job really becomes about the people. And, this year I am so unbelievably grateful to be working with the most generous, positive, hilarious group of humans on Broadway.

Nic Rouleau
Nic Rouleau

Actress Courtney Reed, Aladdin:
This year I am thankful for too many things to mention! Here is the "Cliffs Notes" version: My incredible family that gives me more love and support a girl could ask for! Brock Harris, my forever #MCM and best boyfriend in the world…no seriously he is! My amazing circle of friends that continue to make me laugh so hard, my abs hurt! And of course my dream job of playing Princess Jasmine on Broadway! Literally the best year ever! Life. IS. Good!

Actor Nic Rouleau, The Book of Mormon:
This year, I am thankful for my Mission Companion and my partner-in-crime Ben Platt. It's been thrilling to share such a journey with him, both onstage and off. Thanks to The Book of Mormon, I have found a lifelong friend and, for that, I am truly thankful. I am also thankful for gluten-free Dominos pizza.

Actor George Salazar, Here Lies Love, Godspell:
I'm thankful for my family and friends! No dream is too big or too ridiculous when you have good, loving people supporting you and lifting you up along the way. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Actress Keala Settle, Les Misérables:
I'm thankful that I'm alive… able to BE. Living is one of the greatest adventures ever!

Actor Scott Stangland, Once
I think the one thing I am most thankful for this year is the fact that I made my Broadway debut in Once. Having moved here from Chicago, I'm extremely thankful for the new theatrical family I've gained over at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre. But most of all, I'm thankful my family from Oregon made the long trip out to see it before it closes. Actress Elizabeth Stanley, On the Town:
This season (it is sort of stating the obvious), but I feel very thankful for work in town; this "work" feels like play much of the time, and for that I also feel very lucky. My friendships, especially my girlfriends, continue to make my heart swell. I am incredibly touched by their thoughtfulness, honesty, strength, support, and humor. Growth and time — both make things better: Plants, pets, people, relationships, skills, feelings, perspective. Warmth. I like it hot! A sunny spot is always my favorite. It's pretty basic, but I'm so thankful for the sun's radiance (and even better, a moment when I can steal a nap in it!). HOPE. Some days it's what gets me through. Okay, I could go on. But I'll stop there before I wax too poetic.

Actor Brendon Stimson, Honeymoon in Vegas
I'm thankful to be performing again on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! Also, hugely thankful for my wife, Catherine Charlebois, and my family, friends, cast mates and crew over at the Nederlander. And, at the current moment, I'm thankful for the peanut butter M&Ms that got me through tech. 

Actress Erica Sweany, Honeymoon in Vegas
I am thankful for the arts in my life and the support I have from my family. I am thankful for an inspiring and loving husband. 

Alton Fitzgerald White
Alton Fitzgerald White

Songwriter Will Van Dyke, the associate conductor of Kinky Boots:
This year I am most thankful to be with my family and friends. I had the incredible opportunity to go to Korea for six weeks this fall to set up the first international production of Kinky Boot, but it meant I could really only connect with people from the States for a few hours a day over FaceTime. It was an incredible experience, but being so far away reminded me how much I love my friends and family and how thankful I am for their support!


Actress Adrienne WarrenBring It On:
I am thankful for health, love, light, family and…coffee. I am also thankful for my ability to dream and the desire to go after those dreams everyday!

Actor Alton Fitzgerald White, The Lion King:
This Thanksgiving and every day, I am grateful for my family in New York City and especially my family of origin in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since Christmas has become so overtly commercial, Thanksgiving has become the favorite holiday in my family. No matter where in the world I am working, I make it a point to try my hardest to be home with them in Ohio to celebrate our love and gratitude for one another!

Actress Teal Wicks, Wicked:
I am grateful for the incredible support system I have of friends and family from the West Coast to the East Coast. I sometimes think I can take on the world alone, but when I start to waver and lose hope I realize there's no reason to do it alone when I have a community of loved ones to lean on for support and who inspire me to take the leap. They fly across the country to cheer me on in a show and fly back the next day. They are willing to have deep conversations via paper and pen when I'm on vocal rest. They make sure I never run low on coffee beans or wine. They give me courage and they make me humble. And, I am incredibly grateful for that. Gobble, gobble, bring on the pie! Actress Remy Zaken, Spring Awakening:
It really does take a village to make an actor, so I am grateful for my wonderful team: Matt Farnsworth, who keeps my voice in top shape; Jen Waldman, Mark Shanahan and Steve Pacek, who keep my acting skills sharp; and for my awesome agent Nancy Carson, who just gets me. I'm thankful for my wonderful friends Alex, Catherine, Kevin, Liviya, Carrie, Zachary and Sara, who make sure to come support every performance. I'm thankful for my amazing parents, who support me and believe in me and inspire me. I'm thankful for my brother, who is an excellent listener and sounding board. And, I'm thankful for my brightest star, who pushes me to be better.

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