Talent to watch out for in New York this season

Sierra Boggess
“The Little Mermaid”
Casting director Tara Rubin brought Boggess to the attention of the Las Vegas team behind “The Phantom of the Opera,” who made her their first Christine, and she also introduced the actress to “The Little Mermaid” gang over at Disney. “The Prince falls in love with Ariel because of her voice, before he even meets her,” Rubin says, “and Sierra had that special sound that made us gravitate to her.” Opens Dec. 6 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater.

Erin Davie
“The Glorious Ones”
Sitting at the helm of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s new musical, director Graciela Daniele needed a young actress who could play the ingenue in a 16th-century commedia dell’arte troupe but one with enough smarts to emerge as a scribe in the show’s second act. Davie has the chops to make the switch work. Plus: “The character of Isabella writes the play ‘The Moon Woman,’ and Erin does have that quirky, ethereal quality,” says Daniele. Opens Nov. 5 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center.

Robin de Jesus
“In the Heights”
De Jesus travels with the new tuner by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes from Off Broadway to Broadway, having created the role of Sonny, the bodega worker, at the O’Neill Musical Theater Conference. “We showed up in Connecticut, and there he was,” recalls director Thomas Kail. “Robin is expert at managing these verbal explosions as his character struggles to be understood.” Opens March 9 at the Richard Rodgers Theater.

Deanna Dunagan
“August: Osage County”
Anna D. Shapiro, the director of Tracy Letts’ new play, calls it simply “one of the most challenging roles written for a woman,” and crix have already compared Violet Weston to such other tormented matriarchs as Mary Tyrone and Amanda Wingfield. Playing Violet requires, says Shapiro, “constantly flipping into and out of a fierce, narcissistic vulnerability.” Dunagan delivered the necessary fireworks in Chi, and now faces her Gotham debut after more than two decades of acclaimed work on the stages of the Windy City. Opens Nov. 20 at the Imperial Theater.

Alice Eve
“Rock ‘n’ Roll”
After stints at the Royal Court and on the West End, Eve makes her Broadway debut with Tom Stoppard’s look back at rock behind the Iron Curtain. Her first audition for Trevor Nunn was actually a video. “She had recorded the wrong section, converting a speech of the 38-year-old character into a teenager in the process,” says the director, who was delighted by the happy misunderstanding. It showed that Eve could easily essay two characters, which she does in “Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Opens Nov. 4 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater.

Halley Feiffer
“None of the Above”
When Feiffer first auditioned, playwright Jenny Lyn Bader hadn’t yet seen her “girlfriend” cameo in “The Squid and the Whale.” But the actress came highly recommended — and not because she’s Jules Feiffer’s daughter — to play a 17-year-old “who opens the door expecting a drug dealer and instead gets her SAT tutor.” “Halley is one of the few young actors who understands theatrical style,” says Bader. “She can create believable heightened reality and ground it in truth. It’s reality a little bit tilted.” Opens Oct. 10 at the Lion Theater on Theater Row.

Christopher Fitzgerald
“Young Frankenstein”
He was duly applauded for his work in “Amour” and “Wicked,” but the former closed within days of opening and who was looking at any of the guys in the latter? In Mel Brooks’ sophomore legit effort, Fitzgerald can’t help but be noticed as the ultimate sidekick. “The role of Igor is the Shakespearian fool, and Chris makes the character three-dimensional,” says director Susan Stroman. “Most important, he has great chemistry onstage with Roger Bart.” Opens Nov. 8 at the Hilton Theater.

Leslie Kritzer
“A Catered Affair”
Debbie Reynolds played the spunky daughter in the 1956 movie; Kritzer leaves her friend-of-Elle Woods role in “Legally Blonde” to star in the Broadway tuner by Harvey Fierstein and John Bucchino. “It is primarily the role for an actress as opposed to a singer-dancer,” says director John Doyle. “The actress must be someone who has a lot of spirit, who fights to get out of her family situation and also has a voice in the family. Leslie auditioned, she was terrific, and we gave her the role.” Opens April 17 at the Walter Kerr Theater.

James Snyder
“Cry-Baby”
It’s the heartthrob role that Johnny Depp used to parody his teeny-bopper “Jump Street” persona. Now, after some minor TV and movie projects, Snyder makes his Broadway debut in the tuner version of John Waters’ 1990 movie comedy. The legit producers first saw Snyder in the New York reading for “Rock of Ages,” to open Off Broadway next year sans Snyder. “We knew then, this guy needs to be the lead in the next big musical,” says casting director Bernard Telsey. “He has charisma.” Opens in April on Broadway.

Sarah Steele
“Speech & Debate”
According to helmer Jason Moore, Roundabout’s casting director Carrie Gardner fought for Steele to headline Stephen Karam’s new play, about three overachiever high-school misfits. No wonder Steele’s character lunches alone: She’s writing a musical version of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” “Sarah plays the truth of it, even when she plays larger than life. That’s what makes it so funny,” says Moore. “All of her exterior theatrically is designed to hide vulnerability.” Opens Oct. 29 at the Roundabout Underground.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more
Post A Comment 0