THEIR FAVORITE THINGS: The Last Five Years Star Adam Kantor Shares His Theatregoing Experiences

Favorite Things   THEIR FAVORITE THINGS: The Last Five Years Star Adam Kantor Shares His Theatregoing Experiences's new feature series, Their Favorite Things, asks members of the theatre community to share the Broadway performances that most affected them as part of the audience.

This week we spotlight the choices (in chronological order) of singing actor Adam Kantor, who co-starred opposite Betsy Wolfe in the acclaimed Second Stage Theatre revival of The Last Five Years. Kantor and Wolfe will revisit Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown's score in a concert version of that musical Oct. 16-19 at 54 Below; the evenings will celebrate the recently released cast recording on the Ghostlight label. (They will also perform the musical in concert at Boston's Huntington Theatre Company Nov. 23-24.)

Adam Kantor
Adam Kantor

(Clicking on a name bolded in blue will take readers to that actor or show's entry in the Playbill Vault.)


Noises Off  on Broadway 2001 

"There are two times in my life when, while completely sober, I have laughed to the point of simultaneous asphyxiation and urination. The first was in 1999 seeing the South Park movie in theatres, during the song 'Uncle Fucker.' The second was in 2001, while watching Katie Finneran in Noises Off on Broadway. Her character had some crazy eye problem, and it ruined me."



Long Day's Journey Into Night on Broadway 2003


"Vanessa Redgrave, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brian Dennehy and Robert Sean Leonard performing O'Neill's play was my first introduction to this masterpiece and to the potential emotional wreckage that occurs when great acting meets great writing. I sat in the last row of the balcony, and was blown away by the profundity of the play and the performances - particularly Vanessa Redgrave's, which I'll never forget."


Les Misérables  on Broadway 2003


"The best thing about live theatre is that it's live. This means that the audience plays a crucial role. And I have never seen the role of the audience played better than at the final public performance of the original Broadway production of Les Misérables on May 18, 2003. We crazy-screamed, we ugly-cried, it was a moment for the ages. Oh, and the show was really, really good, too."


Sweeney Todd at New York City Opera 2004


"Experiencing Sondheim's masterpiece for the very first time, and through the lens of Hal Prince’s original staging, glued me to my seat. How a musical could be so dark, clever, scary, hilarious, twisted and altogether beautiful is something still enigmatic to me. And, Elaine Paige was a fantastic Mrs. Lovett."



Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami ("A Mirror of Osaka") in Lincoln Center 2004 


"I remember watching this ancient Kabuki play, performed by this revered Japanese company in a tent in Lincoln Center, and feeling completely mesmerized. The production was highly stylized, entirely in Japanese, and totally thrilling. I loved getting a tangible sense of Theatre as a timeless and universal means of storytelling. And, also, the fight scenes rocked." 



The Seagull, National Theatre 2006 (adapted by Martin Crimp, directed by Katie Mitchell)  


"This, to me, was quite possibly my most favorite theatergoing experience of all time. I saw it with some fellow students from BADA in London, and we all couldn’t move after the curtain came down. We did not want to leave the theatre. Ben Wishaw and Juliet Stevenson poured their souls into a production that (hopefully) made the ghosts of Chekhov and Stanislavsky very, very proud. Each character had so much at stake, and such rich inner life. I wish I could go back and re-watch this production, and I hope to do this play one day…"


Romeo and Juliet in Central Park 2007 


"Michael Greif's production at the Delacorte contained all the magic, beauty, blood and fire of this play, in the most sublime theatrical venue New York has to offer, smack in the middle of Central Park, and free to the public! The performances were stellar, the design was beautiful, and I finally understood this play in a way I had never before. I left Central Park deeply moved, and convinced that Shakespeare In The Park is the greatest thing about New York City."


August: Osage County in Chicago 2007


"It was the summer between my junior and senior year at Northwestern, and a bunch of us decided to go downtown to Steppenwolf to see an early preview of some new play directed by our faculty member Anna Shapiro. That play was August: Osage County. Little did we know what we were in for. Holy balls."

Rent on Broadway 2008 


"I was a big, big fan of Rent while growing up in New York. I loved seeing the show and listening nonstop to the cassette tapes (yep). For my 14th birthday my friends upgraded me to the CDs (purchased from Sam Goody of course). I remember sitting in the Nederlander in March 2008, watching the show, knowing that just a few weeks later, I’d be up there playing Mark and making my Broadway debut. That was pretty unreal."



Our Town Off-Broadway 2009


"Without giving anything away, since I know it will continue to have life, suffice to say that David Cromer’s brilliant production serves up a visceral climax like nothing I've ever seen. It’s too 'real' for words…"


Metamorphoses in Chicago 2012


"Mary Zimmerman rocked my world combining two of my most favorite things of all time – Greek mythology and theatre. (If only the swimming pool were filled with Harmless Harvest Coconut Water, she would have nailed three favorite things.) I flew to Chicago in 2012 to see this production at Lookingglass since I had missed it in New York and had always wanted to see it. I'm a humongous fan of her work, which is consistently brilliant, stunning and profoundly moving."



Death of a Salesman on Broadway 2012


"This slayed me. I was slain. Watching this production was the first and only time I have actually allowed myself an ugly-cry in a theatre. It was the first time I had ever seen this play, and it hit me real hard. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Andrew Garfield, Linda Emond and Finn Wittrock gave magnificent performances, and I loved how Mike Nichols used the original set, lighting and sound design. It was so haunting, and packed a real punch…oof."



The Glass Menagerie


"Celia Keenan-Bolger gives a performance in this revival that is so brilliant, I am still trying to wrap my head around it. She manages to create a Laura who is so small and afraid, so crushed by the weight of her own helplessness, so painfully shy; and yet her spirit resonates so fully and powerfully throughout the theatre. We empathize with this creature so, so much. The production is beautiful, and the entire cast is magnificent. But seeing a friend knock your socks off gives you a special sense of pride and inspiration."

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