Anne L. Nathan's Broadway Scrapbook: It Shoulda Been You, Once, Assassins, Millie & More
July 8th, 2015
by Anne L. Nathan
How cool is this? Half the Broadway shows Anne L. Nathan has appeared in have won the Tony Award for Best Musical or Best Revival. She's had a really killer Broadway career, which currently includes stealing the show as Broadway's favorite drunk and randy cougar, Aunt Sheila, in the musical comedy It Shoulda Been You.
Below, Nathan shares with us her Broadway scrapbook—filled with rare photos and untold stories—from her #blessed career.
Assassins (Emma Goldman), 2004
Stephen Sondheim—idol. Everyone says that but truly idol. Like in my bio for Mame in high school, it said, “Anne hopes one day to meet Stephen Sondheim and Bruce Springsteen.” So, seriously idol. And for my opening card to him, I sent him the bio from my high school production of Mame that said (and this is a quote), “Anne hopes to live in a penthouse apartment with Stephen Sondheim, Bruce Springsteen and Bette Midler one day.” Which is extremely strange because it’s not work with them but live with them.
This was our closing night party for Assassins. Jeffrey Kuhn and I had been friends for years (we did Ragtime together), and we were just like, “sad face, happy face.” Not an amazing story but an amazing picture—it shows Stephen Sondheim’s wacky side.
It Shoulda Been You (Aunt Sheila, Mimsy), 2015
Harriet Harris took this photo. I always wear slippers because Aunt Sheila has to wear the really high heels, so I always walk around in slippers until the very last second.
I love Aunt Sheila because I’ve never played a part like her before. I’ve never played a middle-aged cougar drunk. And what I love about her the most is that she’s totally happy—she thinks anything can happen. She really thinks she’s sexy and that she’s going to meet a guy and it’s going to be awesome.
I have a costume change that is door to door 30 seconds and it’s fantastic.
These women are so different, and people truly don't know I am playing both roles. I come out to the stage door and every day someone says, “Why didn’t you take a bow?” Because they don't think Aunt Sheila takes a bow.
Can I just be a goofball here and say I’m doing a scene with Tyne Daly and Chip Zien?! (I would say Adam Heller but he’s been my friend for 25 years so it’s not quite as exciting though I love it.)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (Miss Flannery), 2002
This was us getting ready. We just got off the bus and we were going in to do our number at the Tonys. We were so happy. It was such a happy time.
That Tony night was one of my top five exciting moments for sure—it was such a great night.
It’s every kid’s dream come true to tap dance in a Broadway musical comedy and then on the Tonys. Rob Ashford gave me a big gift doing that; it was really sweet.
This was the photo that was used in the CD jacket.
I love this look so much, and this hair…people still talk about that hair. Here, I’m in the wig room getting ready for the show. That wig happened because Michael Mayer had a very specific idea about that wig. They had a naturalistic hairdo at some point and Michael drew this. He really wanted it to be crazy.
Once (Baruška), 2012
This is a scene from downtown. It had changed a lot. There was a point where I would come right behind her during this moment and say some really rude thing. That’s when they thought that character should be wacky and funny, and it was very strange dialogue.
I loved working with that Cristin Millioti. She’s so great.
What I loved the most was the music. Getting to play with fellow musicians every night and getting better as a musician was very exciting. I had always been a musician and I had played in bands in high school. I remember getting the score, and I hadn’t been that exited about anything, I don't think. I had to work much harder to keep up. It was very challenging and really rewarding.
I love the character; I love that she didn’t care what people thought about her. I don't generally stay long like that, but I had such a good job there and they were so kind to us, I stayed. It seemed to be the right thing to do and I don't regret it.
We look so tough and badass. I played piano and I learned the accordion for the show. I’m not great but I did a good enough job to play for the show. You know when I said the Millie night was a highlight? The recording night was one of the other highlights.
Ragtime (Brigit, Baron’s Assistant, Ensemble), 1998
I hated that costume so much, I was the only girl. I don't know why I had to do it. It was all men and me. Those costumes were so heavy and that hat we wore was so horrible.
This was taken toward the end of the run in Toronto because Alton Fitzgerald White is in it and Heather Headley was in the chorus of Ragtime out of town before she got Lion King. It was a weird experience because we spent a whole year in Toronto before we came here; that part was a little grueling sometimes, to be away for so long. But that show was quite special and we went through a lot with it.
Sunday in the Park with George (Nurse, Mrs., Harriet Pawling), 2008
I’m here with Ed Dixon and I love that costume so much. I love the Roundabout and I love Studio 54. I remember in that scene, I had to eat a pastry so they gave me fat free Cool Whip, and I got so sick from eating it every night I had to have a spit bucket offstage.
We were a very close group. I think when you get to do that show you automatically become close because so many people love it, and it's definitely my favorite show. So in this photo, Chris Gattelli had to give me lessons on how to delicately get down in a humongous dress and sit on the world’s tiniest stool that was one foot off the ground. I couldn't do it now. I think now I’d be like, “Oh no. That stool? No way.”
You only have until August 9 to see Anne L. Nathan slay as the legendary Aunt Sheila in 'It Shoulda Been You' at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.