Musical theatre actors and actresses have been major role models to me for a long time. And because I’m pretty busy today, I thought that I’d make a quick list of musical theatre actors and actresses that I love and how I came to know about them and why I like them so much.
· BERNADETTE PETERS – I first was introduced to Bernadette Peters through the Disney movie adaption of ROGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA in which she played Cinderella’s stepmother. I fell in love with the sheer power in her voice and all of the good that she does for the Broadway community. She’s also been in a lot of shows that I love such as INTO THE WOODS and SONG AND DANCE. I think that Bernadette Peters has one of the most inspiring stories of any musical theatre actor. I won’t go into it right now but you can read all about it on the web. In my freshman year of high school, I did a report on Bernadette Peters and it was one of the most fun projects I did for school.
· MARK SEIBERT – Mark Seibert is a German musical theatre actor from Frankfurt. The first time I heard of Mark Seibert was when I was watching the Broadway.com show and they talked about the show that he’s currently in, SCHIKANEDER. I didn’t know what it was at the time. However, the first time I saw and heard Mark Seibert was when I watched the trailer for ELISABETH on YouTube in which he played der Tod (Death). His character is actually what got me into the musical and why it’s one of my absolute favorites. I never cease to be amazed by the things that he can do with this voice. He can sing very classical, modern, and even rock/metal and he always sounds phenomenal. I got one of his C.D.s for Christmas this year and I fell in love with his cover of “Bring Him Home” from LES MISÉRABLES. He can sing in both German and English and he has quite the busy schedule. I’d love to see him live someday. Even though people have been saying that if SCHIKANEDER transfers to Broadway, Hugh Jackman will probably be in the lead role, I hope that they bring Mark over from the Austrian/Wien production. I think it would be great if he could make his Broadway debut and if Broadway would bring someone from Germany over to the New York stage as that isn’t really a common occurrence. I’m really grateful to Mark because in so many ways he has influenced me to step out of my comfort zone (but that’s another story). Oh, and Mark also was the original Fiyero in the German production of WICKED.
· JANA WERNER – Jana Werner mostly does German voiceovers and dubbing for musical movies and Disney musicals. She also has played Fantine in the Berlin production of LES MISÉRABLES which was absolutely amazing. The first time I came across Jana was when I watched the German version of Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. She also sang the part of Christine for the 2004 movie’s German release. Jana is one of the musical theatre actresses that has really pushed me to work at my German and make it better.
· SAMANTHA BARKS – I first was introduced to Samantha Barks when I watched the movie adaption of LES MISÉRABLES in which she played Éponine. She also played another one of my favorite musical theatre characters, Nancy from OLIVER! in a more recent production. People always tell me that I look like Sam (but I think that she’s a whole lot prettier than me). I admire Sam’s determination and down-to-earth attitude and I think that it would be great if I could see her live one day.
· MARK UHRE – I saw Mark Uhre when he was playing Enjolras in LES MISÉRABLES last year and he had one of the most amazing voices I have ever heard and I am so glad that I got to see him perform. When I got back to Seattle from New York, I wrote a letter to a lot of the cast and he actually replied to my letter!
· DREW SARICH – Drew Sarich is super inspirational to me. He’s an American-born singer-actor and he has played in several shows in Germany. I first was introduced to him when I listened to an audio of him as Count Krolock in TANZ DER VAMPIRE and he is, to this day, my favorite Count Krolock. Personally, if I had decided to become a musical theatre actress, I would have liked to have been able to do what he did and go to Germany and perform in a musical like he did. I didn’t even know that he was American until I looked him up in a Google Search. Prior to that I thought that he was German or Austrian.
· AUDRA MCDONALD – Audra McDonald is one of the musical theatre actresses that completely wowed me as a kid. The strength of her voice is absolutely amazing and I still love keeping up with whatever she’s doing. Her voice is stunning and she definitely deserved all of those Tony Awards.
· ANNEMIEKE VAN DAM – Annemieke is one of those musical theatre actors that I wish got more international credit (she, along with others like Mark Seibert) because she’s absolutely amazing. I first found out about Annemieke when I saw some promotion pictures of her in MARY POPPINS. However, it wasn’t until I watched the trailer for the German – Austrian touring production of ELISABETH (the same one that introduced me to Mark Seibert) that I really fell in love with her voice.
Who are some musical theatre actors and actresses that have had a large impact on your life?