"This role is very different from
anything I’ve ever done. Mostly
because there’s nothing to hide
behind. There’s no large costume
or makeup to hide behind. There’s no huge
song to hide behind. No big thing,” says
Shoshana Bean on her latest Broadway role—Susan,
the daughter of Billy Crystal’s Buddy Young
in the musical adaptation of his 1992
film Mr. Saturday Night about an insult comedian looking for a second chance at celebrity while mending his strained relationship with his fractured family.
Bean has become a fan favorite on the Main Stem with credits that include Elphaba
in Wicked and Jenna in Waitress, along
with regional appearances as CC Bloom in
Beaches and Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. A
powerhouse vocalist, the performer sells
out her annual holiday show at the Apollo
Theatre and can often be seen in concert
alongside composer Jason Robert Brown,
who wrote the score for Mr. Saturday Night
with lyricist Amanda Green.
“I think about the larger-than-life characters I’ve been so lucky to play, and this is the closest version of playing myself on stage in a character that I’ve ever come, and it’s terrifying, but I had to take this very serpentine route to be able to show up as myself in a character on stage.”
In the new musical, Susan is 90-days sober and yearning to let go of old feelings of neglect from her once-famous father. “I know what it is to feel like you got to use a bullhorn to get attention sometimes,” she jokes. “I understand what it feels like to feel unseen and/or overlooked...for whatever it means in my life versus hers...I know that feeling... She’s not a caricature. She’s just a human struggling to just try to do better every day.”
Susan the character and Shoshana the performer also intersect when it comes to their relationship with their main scene partner. “We had a chemistry from the beginning,” says Bean of Crystal. “We text. We talk on the phone. I went to his house for Passover. He’s now a father figure in my life.
“However, there was a part of me until recently was still very aware of who my scene partner was and still very much intimidated and really wanting to please him. But he has been insanely loving,” she says. “It’s been one of the great gifts of my life. I won’t even say of my career, because it goes beyond the work. I can tell. I’ll have him for the rest of my life.”