You’ve learned about the nine Broadway shows that closed before making it to opening night, but there are some shows that didn’t even make it that far. On March 21, Feinstein's/54 Below presents Broadway Bound: The Musicals That Never Came to Broadway, featuring songs from these unheard musicals sung by Broadway talent.
Original cast members Patti Murin and Bryan Feckhart from Nerds, Cady Huffman from All About Us, Loni Ackerman from How Do You Do, I Love You, and Jill Paice from Rebecca will share songs from the shows they were a part of, but never got to perform on the Main Stem. While audiences never got to see these musicals, these actors were prepping material and in the rehearsal room. They reveal their favorite moments from these shows and the moments they wish audiences had gotten to see.
Patti Murin, Nerds
Rehearsals were pure joy. Casey Hushion, our fearless director, posted a new motivational quote every day on the callboard. Everyone's ideas were heard and often tried. It felt like a big room of color and positivity. [We had] no inkling whatsoever [that we wouldn’t get to Broadway]. It was such a miracle that we were all of a sudden going to Broadway that there was no room for doubt. It was basically full speed ahead until it wasn't. [As for moments I wanted audiences to see]…Too many to count! I was going to fly, Benny Elledge sang an entire segue number ON A SEGWAY, Lindsay Mendez sang while wearing headgear, Gates and Jobs fought an epic lightsaber battle, and we were all badass hip hop dancers. None of this is a lie.
Bryan Fenkart, Nerds
Rehearsals were a true joy. It was a fiery, excited, hungry young cast, working on irreverent, quick-paced, topical material. A recipe for, if not success, at least a ton of laughs. It appears as if NO ONE except lead producer Carl Levin knew anything about the enormous, yawning budget abyss the show had sunken into. That includes the other producers, director, stage management, cast, etc. We were all operating under what we thought was the relatively safe assumption that we were about to enter tech. Silly us. [As for what I was most excited for], I'd say it's a tie between the epic final Jobs-versus-Gates lightsaber battle (for selfish reasons), and what would or should have been the Broadway debuts of Bennie Elledge and Rob Morrison as Woz and Paul Allen, respectively. I'd say audiences were robbed, but you can't be robbed of something you never had, so I will simply say they were unknowingly deprived of some truly remarkable and layered performances.
Jill Paice, Rebecca
There were no rehearsals. No warning that the show wouldn’t happen. The press found it deliciously interesting, and they were right to be fascinated by the gory details which caused the crash of Rebecca. Even today, some things remain unresolved, and the rumors persist. But for those of us who lost our jobs, our health insurance, our means of living, it was devastating. It broke down my self-esteem, my belief in the business. It took me nearly a year to find my footing again. At the end of the day, we are okay. Our lives, our careers carry on. But I think it is important to remember the individuals who have suffered these disappointments. I recently watched Lonny Price speaking as a young man when he was being interviewed for Merrily We Roll Along in Best Worst Thing that Ever Could Have Happened. He said: “If I get hit by a bus the day after opening night, I don’t think I’ll care, because at least I got to do this.” I think that's where our shared disappointment will always resonate in a deep, quiet, lonely place because we never got the chance to play these parts.
Loni Ackerman, How Do You Do, I Love You
I was 18—right out of high school. My first Equity rehearsal paycheck [came]; I joyfully chirped, “Wow, we get paid for rehearsal?” The late, great Mary Ann Niles shouted, “OK, WE GOT A GREEN ONE HERE!” That was 50 years ago. But one of our first [out-of-town] reviews read “Goodbye, I Hate You,” which was a pretty clear signal we weren't going forward. I was going to make my Broadway debut playing Phyllis Newman's baby sister. Phyllis was brilliant in the role. I was sad we wouldn't great to bring that relationship to New York. But, on Tuesday, we finally get to reunite!
Broadway Bound plays Feinstein’s/54 Below March 21. For tickets and information visit 54Below.com.