I saw this production in Toronto before it officially came to Broadway, but it did come so I included it! I knew nothing about the show before I saw it. I cried at least four times in the first act...mostly because of how beautiful, charming, winning and hurt Audra McDonald’s portrayal of Sarah was.
Marin Mazzie as Mother… Ragtime (Toronto)
In the second act, Marin Mazzie (as Mother) sings "Back to Before” — it was just her, on stage, alone. No fancy set pieces; no people to sing to; just her, lamenting on where her journey had taken her. An anthem of revelation, mixed with just a hint of regret. Such power.
The whole production was riveting, but the number "Waiting for the Light to Shine" was like being on a roller coaster. When the song is usually performed, it builds to a powerful moment where the orchestra drops out and the cast sings a cappella. In Deaf West’s production, the gospel-style song builds and builds to that moment, but instead of just the orchestra dropping out, so did the singers...and the song continues with both the deaf and the hearing actors performing the lyrics in American Sign Language (ASL). I could not breathe. It was like I was going over the highest hill on a roller coaster. So simple, yet such an impact.
That voice — he uses it like a comic weapon! The depth of emotion he brought to playing a woman who loves her family so completely — searching and finding her dreams… you never once questioned if it was a man in a dress. You only saw Edna.
Such a smart and funny show! Jefferson Mays plays eight characters in the show. I was in awe at how complete each character was. The audience members next to me did not even realize that he was all those people. A great compliment, I think.
I saw the show at Bucks County Playhouse, but everyone involved had been on Broadway. I've seen Kevin Cahoon in other shows and was blown away by how immersed he was in the role of Dr. Frank-n-Furter. Another transformation that was solid. His choices were funny, inventive, and true to character. He was sexy and in full command of the room.
Vicki Lewis as Gloria Thorpe… 1994 revival of Damn Yankees
Are you kidding me with that voice on "Shoeless Joe"?! I’ve never seen or heard anyone belt a song with such ferocity. I loved her attack on the role.
Energy, energy, energy. Full and utter commitment. He told a story few had known and we got lost in his enthusiasm.
Sara Ramirez as the Lady of the Lake.... Spamalot
Another performance that was funny and smart, with a vocal range that went from slight operetta to down-and-dirty grinding. She blasted us with her talent and we were blown away. I remember thinking, "Who are they ever going to get to replace her when she leaves?"
The Entire Company… The Lion King
The Opening number! I saw the show when it first opened. I was in the second balcony...pretty much in the clouds. I watched the show and enjoyed it but felt like I was missing something. I went back the next day and got standing room tickets. I stood dead center and as the opening number started, the sun was going up, Rafiki started singing, the giraffe walked onstage...and I was hit in the back of the head by the breathtaking sound of the cast as they made their entrance from the back of the house and down the aisle. So many animals! There were hyenas, a rhino, birds, antelope and an elephant! I found myself crying. I had no idea why I was crying...except that the experience was reaching into me like no other.