Monday, April 4, 2011

Broadway Space's 30 Under 30: They Found The Fountain of Youth!

I always enjoy two things when I Broadway web-surf: sites that are unabashedly "fans of Broadway" all by themselves and "Best of " lists.  And they move right to the head of my "sites I watch every week" list if they are newsy, informed and not just "stage door/rush policy/what does the curtain of X show look like" adoration/complaint forums.  One such site that has all three great qualities - fans, best ofs, informative/no complaints - is the ever-improving Broadway

Recently, they posted their 2nd Annual "30 Under 30" list of Broadway folk, under the age of 30, who have met with success and hold some influence in the Broadway community.  What a terrific idea and how inspiring to read about young folks making a positive contribution to society, rather than the mass media's continued intrigue with Lindsay Lohan and the like.  And also, how inspiring to young people currently on the climb, in college, at audition after audition.  These folks are the future of Broadway and American entertainment.

Both of the Addams' kids (far left) made the list!
Adam Riegler and Krysta Rodriguez

In looking over the list, I think it is great to have included several actors that aren't even in their 20's: Bye Bye Birdie's Allie Trimm (always a delight, and a certain big future), Adam Riegler (talk about an old soul in a kid's body, this Addams Family star could be the next Nathan Lane), Matthew Gumley (another kid who doesn't mug and be cute, but actually ACTS, and was terrific in Elf: The Musical), and the soon to be 20 Spider-Man star, Jennifer Damiano, who is the very definition of grace under pressure.

Allie Trimm, far left, made Bye Bye Birdie and
she was awesomely sweet in 13.

What a year for list-maker John Gallagher, Jr.
From Johnny to Jerusalem ain't a bad trip

And there are certainly several on the list who are currently trodding the boards who have over the recent years maintained a presence on the Great White Way, all deserving of such recognition - Nick Adams (shocking to find that this is his first year on the list), Allison Pill (another terrific actress with a long, storied career in front of her, I hope), Daniel Radcliffe (his turns in Equus and How to Succeed prove that the sky's the limit on Broadway for this guy...let's hope he stays around), John Gallagher, Jr. (a force to be reckoned with since Spring Awakening, his turns in American Idiot, Rabbit Hole, and one assumes Jerusalem prove this guy belongs on the stage doing as wide a variety of things as possible), and Joshua Henry (what a year for this guy - from American Idiot to a Tony-worthy performance in The Scottsboro Boys and back to American Idiot).

Michael Arden:  Where the heck have you been?

But one has to question the criteria for making this list for many of its "30".  Yes, they have all been on the Broadway stage.  But at what point aren't you still a Broadway presence?  When the last show you were in closed 3 or more seasons ago?  Or do you make the list simply because you look good with your shirt off? are "fierce"? Or is it because you are about to depart Broadway and be seen in an upcoming film.  And I'm sorry, going to the West End to create roles does not make you a Broadway star - get on West End's "30 Under 30" list then.  Please don't get me wrong - I have written veritable love letters about Jonathan Groff, Michael Arden and Megan Hilty to name a few.  And I truly have nothing but respect for them as people and actors.  But Spring Awakening left us more than a year ago, and Groff left that even longer ago; Hair came and went while he made movies and did Glee, and Deathtrap was a London thing.  All of that is great for his career, but does not make him an influence on Broadway.  Michael Arden hasn't been on Broadway in a hit show, yet, and hasn't been on that stage since 2007 with The Times They Are A-Changin'.  Touring with La Streisand and doing Aspects of Love at the Chocolate Factory are high profile, but again, no Broadway influence there (BTW, love the Pizza Hut Commercial, Michael).  And Ms. Hilty, who actually made the list because it came out a few days before her birthday, has not been on Broadway since 9 to 5: The Musical.  And before you write, the only reason, and it is slim one, indeed, that I left Lea Michele off this list is because she at least made an appearance on the Tony Awards.

How about these three: Kyle Dean Massey,
Meghann Fahy and Adam Chanler-Berat?

Van Hughes has paid his dues!

So who would I replace these people with?  How about Charlie Williams with 2 Broadway shows, an assistant choreographer credit and time contributed to numerous Broadway charities - Broadway Bares, the Broadway Beauty Pageant, and various walk-a-thons to name a few?  How about Jeremy Gumbs the youngest member of The Scottsboro Boys, and one of the growing number of under-20's actors who didn't go to the Annie school of acting?  And how could they have missed Kyle Dean Massey, who spent a year in next to normal, is a perennial Fiyero in Wicked, and is about to headline the new off-Broadway musical Lucky Guy, not to mention his work for Broadway Cares, the It Gets Better campaign and others?  Or his co-star Adam Chanler-Berat, who was a part of next to normal from day one to the end, and now starring in the hottest off-Broadway ticket Peter and the StarcatchersVan Hughes, who went from stand by to star in American Idiot, via several high profile shows?

And since I am suggesting some guidelines - since your list comes out in March, let's say you can make next year's list if you do anything of consequence on Broadway and in the Broadway community, let me suggest your first "30 Under 30" for this year, Rose Hemingway.  That girl is going places.  And if he's under 30 (I think he is) Andrew Rannells, a star on the rise if there ever was one.  Oh, and I think it's great that you included Reeve Carney on this year's list - he is terrific as Peter Parker/Spider-Man - but how about his alternate, Matthew James Thomas?  He's just as good, maybe even better...

Spider-Men: List-maker Reeve Carney (left) and
Should-be List-maker Matthew James Thomas (right)
do the PR thing with Barbara Walters

Maybe next year, Rose Hemingway! (Mary Faber,
who might also be under 30, should be on the list for sure)
This is your year, Daniel Radcliffe!

Broadway Space, keep doing what you are doing!  But maybe some tighter guidelines for what could be an influential list are in order.  I'm afraid looking fierce and having great abs isn't the criteria that earns you any respect.  That's what gets you on my blog.  :-)

Anyone else they left off the list?  Comments?  Leave one here, email me at or Tweet me!

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