As curtains get set to rise up and down Broadway, audiences can't wait to once again revel in the groundbreaking plays and musicals that bring them to their feet night after night. But what about the artists who star in these productions? What are they most looking forward to about the reopening of Broadway? Playbill asked a host of actors heading back to the New York stage that very question. Their answers follow.
Jeannette Bayardelle (Girl From the North Country)
"Community is so important in theatre. The thing that I look forward to most in the reopening of Broadway is creating art on stage with a community of actors. Although isolation during the pandemic helped saved lives, we need to fellowship with one another to help give us a better quality of life. It’s going to feel really good being back on stage with my North Country family. Together, we will help heal each other and the world one show at a time."
Jewelle Blackman (Hadestown)
“I have so many feelings with Broadway reopening and getting back to work. From excitement and anxiety to joy and fear. I’m excited to reunite with my Hadestown fam and share this beautiful piece of art with the audience again. But there is also a feeling of caution. Of stepping back into an industry that has not always been kind and forthcoming and accepting and appreciative of all people who make up this theatre community. The veil has been pulled back, and it is upon the shoulders of those who have reaped the benefits to make substantial change and right those wrongs.”
Nadia Brown (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
"I am most looking forward to returning to the show of my dreams with a new sense of purpose, determination, and self. I have grown so much over this pandemic, and I can't wait to share who I've become on stage!"
Ben Crawford (The Phantom of the Opera)
“Like every single artist during the pandemic, something was missing from my life; it feels in some way that we get a chance to be whole again.”
Erin Davie (Diana)
“I’m looking forward to experiencing in the room—the awakened and intensified gratitude we all have built up over this time for being together and having a shared creative experience. It’s going to be powerful, and those of us who get to go right back to being on stage understand the importance and the honor of being able to usher in this newfound energy.”
Jeanna de Waal (Diana)
“I am most looking forward to seeing my cast mates again. There is no better feeling than being part of an ensemble. I am looking forward to the whirlwind of previews and press and opening, and I am also looking forward to settling into my eight-show-a-week routine—everything from where I get my pre-show coffee to establishing the regular post-show haunt.”
James Harkness (Ain't Too Proud)
"That question is impossible for me to answer in the way asked. There is no one thing that makes Broadway 'Broadway' (insert all of the jazz hands, kicks, riffs, belts here). All its parts make it the magic it is. For me to say I'm most looking forward to performing for an audience says performing in a rehearsal room with and for the whole team is not as important somehow. To say I'm most looking forward to seeing my family again will negate something else a little, too. But as I type this, maybe the closest answer I can come up with is that I'm most looking forward to seeing it…all. And not it back so much—as forward."
Joel Hatch (Come From Away)
"I love the sound of an audience before a show. Each audience has its own personality, and I can’t wait to stand backstage and listen in those final minutes before we start the show."
Adrianna Hicks (Six)
"I think I’m most looking forward to 1.) Working onstage with my sisters again and 2.) Getting to hear everyone’s journeys over the pandemic and all that they’ve learned from it. I am so grateful for the community of women surrounding this musical and can’t wait to share the stage with them again."
Judy Kaye (Diana)
“I’m looking forward to the whole deal: the thrill and welcomed familiarity of coming in the stage door, reacquainting myself with my little dressing room (I had just started decorating it.), meeting my fellow cast members for a hug and wish for a good show. But, most of all, I can’t wait to hear that downbeat! A Broadway orchestra, live and in person. I will feel reborn!”
Jenny Jules (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
"There are so many feelings, so much has happened. Chiefly I feel like I will get my sense of purpose back with Broadway reopening.
I have truly missed my community."
Andrea Macasaet (Six)
"I am most looking forward to getting to go to work every day and making a paycheck! Haha! The excitement of Six opening on Broadway has been rumbling over the last year, and I can't wait to finally celebrate it and live out my Broadway debut year as epically as I can. I am so excited for that curtain to drop and to see faces in an audience taking in the light that is Six."
Rob McClure (Mrs. Doubtfire)
“The first 'House to Half.' That moment the lights dim and we all collectively lean in. After more than a year away, I know that moment will be electrifying for everyone, onstage and off. I’m also eager to see the art that is birthed of this hiatus. The world has changed in countless ways since March 12th, 2020, and I’m hopeful that the theatrical landscape has been paying attention and will tell stories in ways that reflect our growth as people, artists, and empaths.”
Sahr Ngaujah (Moulin Rouge!)
"I'm hopeful that the healing process can begin for the millions that suffered during the isolation and who lost loved ones in the past year. Perhaps we can offer a distraction, a spark of joy, or simply good, old-fashioned human interaction."
Ricky Rojas (Moulin Rouge!)
“It’s going to be great to perform again and feel creative purpose again, but the thing I'm looking forward to most is being on stage with my friends… my bohemians.”
James Romney (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
"I am most looking forward to getting to do what I love with people I love. To make beautiful art and share it with our audiences once again."
Austin Scott (Girl From the North Country)
“There’s nothing like getting to live something out in front of a Broadway audience. I miss those transcendent moments when the theatre goes completely still and I’m able to lose myself in the story and the character. I feel so charged and full when I’m on stage, and I can sense that every single heart in the theatre is along for the ride with me. I’m so grateful to be able to experience that again soon.”
Q. Smith (Come From Away)
“What I'm looking forward to most is hearing, once again, the roaring audience. Hearing their laughter, their excitement as they settle into their seats, and the applause at the end of the show. I will never, ever take the sound of an audience for granted. So grateful to be going back to work!”
James Snyder (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
"I’ve missed the community here the most. I’m looking forward to seeing all my brilliant friends making their own type of magic on stage."
Lillias White (Chicago)
"The most important thing I’m looking forward to are the people: the audience, that roar, that cheer, those smiles that you can barely see from the stage but you feel them.”
Bobby Wooten III (American Utopia)
“Being a part of American Utopia in a post-2020 America allows me to push another dream of showing what a potential America can be.”