Broadway Historian and podcast guest Jennifer Ashley Tepper shares with us fifteen hidden gems of this Broadway season.
"As Tony Awards weekend is upon us, here are 15 things I really appreciated this season that people aren't talking about as much, which I want to give a shout-out to:
1. The non-Linney and Nixon actors in The Little Foxes who are ALSO doing the show in two different versions.
2. The dressers at Hello, Dolly! (and everywhere)- for lightning-quick invisible work in pretty much every scene, making the most lavish show of the season look terrific.
3. The producing and publicity team at Oh, Hello (and everywhere) for getting different high profile guests for every performance, an incredibly difficult hamster wheel of a task, that brought buzz and fun to the season.
4. The musicians at Sunset Boulevard (and everywhere) for making the music in every musical shine to an outstanding degree, being the backbone of the performance, and in some cases like this one, even being on stage.
5. The stagehands and stage managers and staff at Groundhog Day (and everywhere)- for getting that technically complicated set to run at a theater that is almost 100 years old and not made for automated turntables and other 2017 devices.
6. The associates!!!!!!!!!!! One of the least thanked groups, who make Broadway RUN. The associate directors! The associate scenic designers! The associate producers! ALL Y'ALL. BRAVO.
7. The house staff at The Great Comet (and everywhere) - for navigating the unprecedented nature of this immersive show and working hard so that audiences are accommodated, safe, and having a great time.
8. The understudies - who have KILLED the game this season, from Stephanie Umoh hopping on as Trina in Falsettos as the second cover with zero rehearsal and script in hand, to Andrew Call jumping into Groundhog Day to blazing acclaim when Andy was injured, to those very special swings, covering many roles in one of the hardest jobs there is.
9. The casting directors at Come From Away (and everywhere)- for creating stage pictures that look more and more like the world looks, and taking the initiative and being proactive in advocating to cast actors of every race, body type, sexuality, gender, age, nationality, ability, and more.
10. Every cast or team member who has taken extra time to sign a Playbill, answer a tweet, or take a selfie on the street- especially those who have to navigate a bonkers insane stage door each night to do so (I'm talkin to you Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen)... where 95% of the fans are lovely and 5% are wildly rude. In how many non-theatrical professions do people spend an extra hour, right after getting off work, doing something they're not required to, to make people happy, even though it's often challenging?
11. The sound designers and technicians at The Encounter (and everywhere) for doing 100 things that no one understands, which are absolutely essential to a positive theatre experience. Barely anyone not in the sound field comprehends the specifics of each sound design and all of the skill and technological know-how and navigation of elements that goes into it. ("Can't they just prevent the staticcc? Can't they just turn on the micsss??") You are heroes.
12. The digital teams - you are breaking new ground for the theatre, and keeping our art form up to date with others... something essential to Broadway in 2017. One of the reasons theatre is hot right now in the way it is, and as many people have jobs as they do, and as many theaters are filled? It's not just the live TV musicals, and Hamilton. It's twitter and facebook and instagram and snapchat and tumblr and youtube and digital lotteries and mobile platforms and web design and theatre sites and google ad words. #DigitalTeamsFTW
13. The press folks who are at every opening, every event, every roundtable - taking photos, taking videos, writing articles, crafting content. They never sleep, they are rarely thanked, they are incredibly talented, and they should all walk down the red carpet while we shoot pics and applaud.
14. Every intern in every theatre office who is workin' 8am-midnight, doing all the grunt work, hoping to be a bigger part of this world someday. Keep working hard. You will be.
15. The audiences- especially those going to see shows that aren't based on recognizable brands, or didn't get the best reviews... because they sound interesting and worthwhile. Especially those seeing their first Broadway show, or those who saved up for months to afford to see one. Especially those who come back year after year, and don't text during the performance. We love you.
This weekend is for EVERYONE who loves the theatre, not only the nominees!! HAPPY TONY AWARDS WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!"