The Shows That Got Away: 10 Musicals The Ensemblist Wish They Saw at the St. James Theatre
September 8th, 2015
by The Ensemblist
Broadway history takes center stage at 54 Below on September 13 as podcast faves The Ensemblist (Mo Brady and Nikka Graff Lanzarone) and The Bowery Boys (Tom Meyers and Greg Young) team up to celebrate the rich history of the gorgeous St. James Theatre, and joining them to perform some of your favorite St. James anthems are Krystina Alabado, Jason Gotay, Angie Schworer, Grasan Kingsberry and Lauren Elder. In anticipation of the big concert, Mo and Nikka each shared with BroadwayBox five shows that got away—musicals they wish they had seen live at the St. James.
Mo Brady:American Idiot, 2010-2011
I saw this production three times but it's still my favorite Broadway show I've seen since moving to New York. Also my best friend was in it, and there's nothing like seeing your best friends make their dreams come true. Can I just see it again?The Secret Garden, 1991-1993
This score still blows my mind. I was introduced to it as a kid doing summer stock and have been haunted by the music ever since. I'm still dreaming of seeing a production of this on Broadway—imagine what the special effects would be like 25 years later?!?Two Gentlemen of Verona, 1971-1973
I have a (not-so) secret fascination with pop musicals of the 1970s—which is why I'm so stoked to see The Wiz back! It would so entertaining to see an ultra-period, disco-infused show like the ones that played Broadway in that decade.Oklahoma! , 1943-1948
How neat would it have been to watch popular entertainment change before your very eyes? Watching the curtain raise not to an overture, but to a single man's a cappella voice! I would want to be there on opening night, though. The crowds of ticket buyers circling the block the next day would be too much for me.The Merry Malones, 1927-1928
A new George M. Cohan musical, opened Erlanger's Theatre (now the St. James) in 1927. Imagine what it must be been like to see the very first performance in that beautiful house!?
Nikka Graff Lanzarone:Oklahoma!, 1943-1948
Mo stole everything I was going to say about Oklahoma! But I couldn't agree with him more—and I'll add another million points for seeing Agnes de Mille ballets with fresh eyes, not knowing what was going to happen next.The Pajama Game, 1954-1956
In honor of Labor Day weekend and #AskIfItsEquity, I'm gonna say The Pajama Game. Not only do I adore that show, but I am a Fosse girl through and through— and watching "Steam Heat" for the first time must have been pretty incredible to see!Tommy, 1993-1995
I admit it—I saw this production of Tommy when I was a kid, and it forever changed me and the way I thought about musical theatre. Everything about it was truly mind-blowing, and I wore out that cast album (and yes, even had the book. It's still somewhere in my parents' house). Those ensemblists turned into mega-stars, but they were already mega-stars to me because they were in Tommy. I'd love to go back in time and see it again, knowing what I know now.My One and Only, 1983-1985
Come on! Tommy Tune and Twiggy! Adrian Bailey! Ron Dennis! Need I say more?Subways are for Sleeping, 1961-1962
I admit, I find myself fascinated by this show, and would have loved to see it play out with the magnificent Carol Lawrence. I'd also love to have seen Phyllis Newman's Tony-winning performance, as well as Michael Bennett and Valerie Harper as ensemblists!
Head to 54 Below on September 13 to take a journey through the history of the St. James Theatre with The Ensemblist and the Bowery Boys.