Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Back in Time: 1985-86: The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Part III

In Part III, the third of four in this series, looking back at the cast of The Mystery of Edwin Drood reminds me of Broadway history and Broadway's future. This cast is but one snapshot in time where you find people at the end of their career, people at the height of their career, and people with their whole career in front of them.

Even the ensemble of this amazing show turned out some pretty amazing talent.

Judy Kuhn: Alice/Miss Isabel Yearsley/Succubae/Citizen of Cloisterham

  • Before Drood: Miss Kuhn worked as a production assistant.
  • During Drood: The Mystery of Edwin Drood marked her Broadway debut as an actor.
  • After Drood: She created the role of Bella in Rags, a fast flop, but cult favorite. Then, in perhaps her biggest success, she created the role of Adult Cosette in the Original Broadway Cast of Les Miserables - Tony nomination. (Her most recent Broadway stint was as Fantine in the revival of that show.) She also starred in the revival of She Loves Me (Tony nomination), and created the role of Florence in the Broadway production of Chess (Tony nomination), introducing the song, "Someone Else's Story." She also starred as Betty in the pre-Broadway production of Sunset Boulevard. Pregnancy deterred her from creating the role on Broadway. Disney fans know that Judy is the singing voice of Pocahontas. (Photo above by Martha Swope: Judy Kuhn, right, in the original company of Les Miserables.)

Rob Marshall: Dance Captain/Assistant Choreographer/Client of the Princess Puffer/Mr. Christopher Lyon

  • Before Drood: Young Mr. Marshall appeared in Cats, the revival of Zorba, and the Original Broadway Cast of The Rink.
  • During Drood: He assisted Graciela Daniele with choreography and was the show's dance captain.
  • After Drood: Not much... Choreographer: Kiss of the Spider Woman, She Loves Me, Damn Yankees, Company (1995 revival), Victor/Victoria, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Co-Director/Choreographer: Cabaret. Director/Choreographer: Little Me. All of that garnered him 4 Drama Desk nominations and 7 Tony Award nominations. Oh, yes... he also directed a little movie called Chicago, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, and for which he was nominated as Best Director. His next big projects are Nine and Pirates of the Caribbean IV. Not bad for an ensemble guy, huh? (Photo above from Getty Images.)

Donna Murphy: Beatrice/Miss Florence Gill/Succubae/Citizen of Cloisterham

  • Before Drood: Donna was in the ensemble in They're Playing Our Song.
  • During Drood: Ms. Murphy understudied the roles of Helena Landless and the Princess Puffer, and ended up replacing Betty Buckley as Edwin Drood!
  • After Drood: Her career really took off! Passion (Tony Award), The King and I (Tony Award), Wonderful Town (Tony nomination), Lovemusik (Tony nomination). Ms. Murphy also appears regularly on TV and in film, including Spider-Man II. She just signed to be a voice in Disney's new animated musical, Rapunzel. (Photo above from CBSNews: Donna Murphy, center, in Wonderful Town)

Other ensemble members included: Karen Giombetti, Charles Goff, Susan Goodman, Nicholas Gunn, Herndon Lackey, Francine Landes, Peter McRobbie, Brad Miskell, and the swings were Laurent Giroux and Michele Pigliavento. Ronn Carroll was a standby.

Soon: Part IV: The Principal Actors.

Comments? Leave one here or write to me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com.

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