10 Current Broadway Replacements You Have to Go Back & See Live
February 25th, 2016
by Josh Ferri
It’s been a hot minute since we shined the well-deserved spotlight on Broadway’s killer replacement stars (sorry we missed you Brandy Norwood, Jessica Keenan Wynn, and Kyle Taylor Parker!!)
Ya see the bummer about replacing on Broadway is that even when you give an amazing, game-changing performance, you’re ineligible for any big awards and your performance is rarely re-reviewed by fancy outlets like The New York Times; so the only way these sensational replacement performances live on in their rightful infamy is by word of mouth, illegal YouTube videos, and a BroadwayBox list about 10 replacement stars who are just slaying the house down—presented alphabetically.
Wayne Brady as Lola in Kinky Boots
Ok ’ll admit, I was a little cautious when Brady was announced to replace Billy Porter (why not RuPaul or Nathan Lee Graham?!), but damn if that Wayne Brady didn’t bring such star quality to the role of Lola. The dichotomy between the masculine and feminine was so interesting to play with, and the audience went berserk for him in the big numbers. Bravo Brady.
The Hair and Hardbody alum is always a treat but her radiant Miss Honey is next level. She makes it all so believable. Case found something in Miss Honey that makes her so relatable, and beyond lovable.
Nikki Renee Daniels as Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon
Daniels gives you vocals for days in “Sal Tlay Ka Siti”—wait for that “fly”. She brings such a warmth to the role, and she’s so funny—her comic timing is wonderful.
For a Broadway debut singing the song everyone walks in knowing and expecting at a Broadway level, Ms. Lark should take a big bow. Her Eponine is as close to flawless as you’re bound to find. It also helps that her dynamic with Chris McCarrell is really rich and sad.
Making your Broadway debut in a Tony-winning role is not easy but Tyler Lea is so completely committed that you forget you’re watching an actor at work. Every movement and every line is exactly what the role calls for. He just embodies Christopher.
Gavin Lee as Thenardier in Les Miz
The roaring laughter you hear at the Imperial Theatre is all for Olivier and Tony nominee Gavin Lee and his inspired Thenardier. He seems off-type on paper but in the show he’s a revelation. From “Master of the House” to “Dog Eats Dog”, it’s A+ all around.
Hoon Lee as the King of Siam in The King and I
Hoon Lee brings a humor and charm to the King that just lights up the entire Tony-winning revival. His magnetism elevates all the relationships with the musicals’s three women: Anna, Lady Thiang, and Tuptim. It’s like when the Beast becomes super adorable in Beauty and the Beast and you’re like, “Just go for it, Belle!”
The Chenoweth prototype is thrown out the window because Carrie St. Louis has created a Glinda all her own, and bless her for it. Her stunning “Thank Goodness” was as big a showstopper as “The Wizard and I” or “No Good Deed”, and her final scene with the Wizard and Morrible was beyond everything.
Gabby Pizzolo stepped into Fun Home’s most buzzed about role and knocked it out of the park. She’s endearing, she’s smart, and she’s so human.
NaTasha Yvette Williams as Matron Mama Morton in Chicago
NaTasha Yvette Williams is very good to Mama with those vocals that make you clutch your pearls and mouth “yas”; then the book scenes come and she’s hi-larious. Williams’ Mama is guilty of stealing this long-running show.
These dynamic 10 deserve to be seen live by you, so get on it!