Five Killer Pairs Who Originated Starring Roles in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Broadway Musicals
April 28th, 2016
by Josh Ferri
Alex Brightman is as close to a rock god as one can get in musical theatre leading the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical School of Rock, and his co-star Sierra Boggess serves you classic Broadway leading lady with twist of today’s sitcom queens.
These two stars are the latest in a long line of actors whose careers were made originating roles in new Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals on Broadway. Below we #TBT to four iconic acting pairs who launched into superstardom thanks to ALW.
Jesus Christ Superstar, 1972
Ben Vereen (Judas Iscariot)
Photo by Friedman-Abeles
A replacement in Hair, Ben Vereen shot to stardom in 1972 as the rock star who betrayed Christ in Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. The role won Ben Vereen a Theatre World Award in ’72, and he received his first Tony nomination. The following year, he would go on to win the Tony Award for Pippin.Yvonee Elliman (Mary Magdalene)
JCS remains Yvonne Elliman only Broadway credit, though she appeared in several productions around the world and earned a Golden Globe nomination for reprising her role in the film. Her signature song, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”, peaked at #28 on the US pop charts. Later in the '70s, she scored a number 1 hit song with “If I Can’t Have You” off Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
Mandy Patinkin (Che)
Doesn’t it blow your mind a little bit to think Evita was Mandy Patinkin’s first musical on Broadway…and his sole Tony Award?! After Che, Mandy went on to finish the hat, lament Lily’s eyes, throw a wild party, sword fight in The Princess Bride, avoid advances from drag Babs in Yentl, and keep Claire Daines' crazy in check on Homeland.
Patti LuPone (Eva)
The role of Eva Peron was Patti LuPone’s entry into a club of Broadway divadom that (thanks to a long, acclaimed career) she has since become the queen—cue side eye from Bernie—so listing credits is fruitless right now.
Betty Buckley (Grizabella)
After starring roles in 1776 and Pippin, Betty Buckley took her career to the next level as the first Grizabella the Glamour Cat. She won a Tony Award and her performance of “Memory” from that night remains one of the best clips anywhere on YouTube. #DatTouchMePawDoe
Terrence Mann (Rum Tum Tugger)
The mischievous cat was Terrence Mann’s first starring role on Broadway, setting the stage for his iconic leading roles in Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Rocky Horror Show, Pippin, and his current gig in Tuck Everlasting.
The Phantom of the Opera, 1988
Sarah Brightman (Christine Daae)
Sarah Brightman made her West End debut in ALW’s Cats and her Broadway debut in his record-breaking musical Phantom. After departing the musical, Brightman sailed onto a successful recording career, selling more than 30 million records and being named by Billboard magazine as ‘the most important classical crossover artist from the United Kingdom’. #NotToMentionAllTheSpaceDrama
Michael Crawford (The Phantom)
British TV audiences knew Michael Crawford for his series Some Mother Do ‘Ave ‘Em, he won an Olivier for Barnum, and, of course, there was the Hello, Dolly! film, but originating the role of The Phantom catapulted Crawford into the stratosphere and cemented his place in Broadway history. He played the Phantom for over 1,3000 performances, won an Olivier and a Tony Award, and even performed “The Music of the Night” at the Inaugural Gala for President George H. W. Bush.
See Alex Brightman & Sierra Boggess knock it out of the park in 'School of Rock' at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre.