A number of famous faces including Anika Noni Rose, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Danielle Brooks, Viola Davis, and Denzel Washington, have appeared on Broadway, receiving critical acclaim for wonderful performances.
In the April issue of ESSENCE, we highlight three incredible talents who grab our attention every time they take the stage.
From a history-making game changer to a Tony-Award-winning veteran, here are three shining stars you have to see live.
Across-the-pond accolades: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the most celebrated play in the history of the Olivier Awards (the U.K.’s version of the Tonys). A trophy belongs to Noma Dumezweni for Best Supporting Actress as Hermione Granger. This month she reprises her role on Broadway.
On Hermione as a Black woman: “It wasn’t strategic to make her Black. It was more of a dialogue. J.K. Rowling discovered these young, Black female nerds who are so in love with this character and see themselves in her. They felt that she is not the standard heroine, and that’s where I come in.”
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From regional theater to the Great White Way: The New York University Tisch School of the Arts graduate has enjoyed rave reviews for his performances in shows like Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope. After attending an audition for Frozen: The Broadway Musical on a whim, this immense talent powered through several rounds of callbacks to make his debut—in a color-blind casting move—as Kristoff, the rugged mountain man and ice purveyor. “I was doing regional theater and I told my family, ‘Guys, next year Broadway has to happen. That’s my goal.'”
The secret to kissing a princess: “Ice Breakers in spearmint. The princess is allergic to apples, carrots, and pears, so I can’t eat those. I play a sweaty, smelly mountain man, but I’m not going onstage smelling bad. Tom Ford Black Orchid is my scent. My lips have to be moisturized with a little Vaseline, then I’m good to go.”
On being #MadeinBrooklyn: “It’s taught me grit. You need that to survive as an artist. Brooklyn also taught me to code-switch. If I’m with my [Guyanese] family, at the barbershop or at dinner with the president of Disney Theatrical Group, I’m going to act a different way with each audience.”
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Her résumé: This Tony Award-winning actress has stolen scenes and hearts in various productions, including The Color Purple Musical, Once on This Island, If/Then and Ragtime. LaChanze shines once again as the lead in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical this spring.
When it’s showtime: “I tell everyone I love that I’ll see you in a year because the show becomes my life. Everything is tailored around the amount of rest, nutrition and exercise needed to maintain my instrument, which is my body, for eight performances a week.”
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