Yes, it was so disappointing that Parade didn’t run longer. I remember crying every day of that last week driving in to work (not to mention in the wings and in my dressing room) because I knew I’d never get to play that role again. It was such a special experience. As far as why it wasn’t the commercial success we all dreamed of … I’m not sure I can really answer that. The NY Times review was not helpful, of course, but I think it had more to do with behind-the-scenes financial issues. It’s no secret that 1998 (when Parade opened) was the year that Garth Drabinsky declared bankruptcy. His company had been a big investor in the Lincoln Center production, and when that happened I think it was impossible for them to recover. Unfortunate bad timing for all of us. Show business is a business after all, and that dictates what runs and what doesn’t.
Do you think if Parade was revived right now it would be a bigger success?
Wow, I have no idea! I will always believe in the brilliance of that piece. I think Jason Robert Brown’s score is phenomenal. I think Alfred Uhry’s book is genius. And I think with Hal Prince at the helm, they created a work of art. I do hope there will be a Broadway revival someday, but it will be hard for me to watch because I’ll want to jump up and sing those songs!
Why do you think that 1776 is still as relevant as it is in 2017?
I think it’s all about democracy in action! We certainly have a population with very different views right now, as they did then. When we look back on the start of this country and this government we sometimes forget what a political struggle it was! Compromise is a very necessary (but uncomfortable) part of a growing government. And we’re still growing! Maybe this all-female version is a subtle hint about what it might take to improve our chances going forward.
You played Abigail Adams on Broadway in 1997, did you ever watch the show from the wings and wish that you were able to perform the music written for John Adams?
Yes, but even before that! I used to watch the movie version of the show on TV when I was a kid and, even though I had no idea I would end up in this business, there was something SO inspiring about William Daniels. I just wanted to be as passionate as he was in that role!
Why is this production of Sweeney Todd so different from the many other productions we have seen?
Oh, I think it will be very different. Of course the material is so exciting, and always will be in any form. But this production coming over from England will put the audience right in the middle of Mrs. Lovett’s pie shop, and everyone will be a part of the action! Also, the actors will not be using microphones! I’m so thrilled about that part. I can’t wait! Broadway voices up close and personal in their unaltered state!
How are you preparing to take on one of the most iconic roles in theatre history as Mrs. Lovett?
So far I’m just getting nervous and staring at the cover of my script. I need to start actually singing it soon!
If you could play any role in any show ever created, which would you play?
I’ve always wanted to play “Rose” in Gypsy. I think I still have a few years left to do that. Hopefully there will be a production of it somewhere in my future.
What do you wish you could tell your younger self that was first starting out on Broadway?
Gosh, that’s a hard one! I guess I would say “Be grateful for the amazing experiences along the way. Great shows don’t happen every day, and your chances of being in one of them is slim, so when you are one of the lucky ones … try to enjoy it. It won’t last forever.”
A college student at SUNY Purchase, I see many shows on Broadway annually and love theatre.