Friend of the podcast Antoine L. Smith (Miss Saigon, The Color Purple) tells the tale of performing his understudy track at Broadway in Bryant Park last summer.
As a performer, any opportunity to perform is a gift. And I never take any of them for granted. Sometimes you get paid to do so, and sometimes you don't. But the ones that you don't get paid for can sometimes be the most rewarding.
Performing at Broadway in Bryant Park is one of those such free performances that you get so much out of. It's a very unique experience in the fact that you are first of all performing for a pretty packed park of "Broadway Enthusiasts". Far more people than your typical Broadway theater can hold. And the stakes are very low. Meaning you are just out there having a great time with your cast. For a mass amount of people that really want to see you. You can call on crowd participation if you want. There are no costumes, wigs, or makeup if you choose. Which makes it just a little more freeing and relaxed. But there is still plenty of sweat considering it's the dead of summer. But still an amazing time. And did I mention it's FREE TO THE PUBLIC????
Broadway in Bryant Park also gives the understudies or the standbys an opportunity to be out in front. Because they are usually the ones that step in for this event. Sometimes the stars of the shows will also come out and perform. I had the privilege to step into the role of "Harpo" with my co-star Carrie Compere (Sofia Understudy) as Sofia and sing the arousing "Any Little Thing" for our performance of The Color Purple. The crowd showed us so much love, it was almost overwhelming.
At this point the show was so well received that where ever we performed the people would go crazy. And Bryant Park was no different. The love of community that comes from this event is unparalleled. People are genuinely there to support the Broadway Community/The Arts. I mean they would have to be to let the sun beat down on them all afternoon....LOL!
I am truly grateful for this series that Bryant Park does. Not only to showcase the shows. But to show that people do love and need the ARTS!
Listen to our podcast episode on Broadway in Bryant Park here.