Broadway veteran Jim Walton, who created the role of Franklin Shepard in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, returned to the New York stage last November in the Tony-winning Come From Away at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Walton, who plays the role of Nick, has also been seen on Broadway in Sunset Boulevard, Stardust, Sweeney Todd, The Music Man, Guys and Dolls, Bye Bye Birdie, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, On the Twentieth Century, 42nd Street, Perfectly Frank, and She Loves Me. (Walton's niece, Emily Walton, recently joined him in the cast of the critically acclaimed Come From Away.)
We recently asked the Broadway favorite to pen a list of his most memorable theatregoing experiences. Walton’s choices follow.
Len Cariou in Sweeney Todd
A bravura performance in one of my all-time favorite musicals. He actually scared me during the great “Epiphany.”
Gregory Hines in Sophisticated Ladies
This man’s versatility and joy in performing was a huge highlight through Act One. And, I believe Act Two began with him playing the drums. Amazing!
Lonny Price in “MASTER HAROLD”… and the boys
I confess I’m partial to colleagues, but Lonny’s emotional range was on full display in this amazing show.
Chip Zien in Into the Woods
Or really, Chip Zien in anything. He’s such a natural actor, and always a lesson to observe, hilarious and heartbreaking in this.
Boyd Gaines in The Heidi Chronicles
Again, Boyd Gaines in anything is worth seeing. I first saw him in this phenomenal Wendy Wasserstein play.
Donna Murphy in Passion
Her brave performance led me to reflect on the nature of love, of falling in love, of why and how those connections happen. What a talent.
Elaine Stritch in Elaine Stritch At Liberty
I admired her courage to take on a one-person show in her later years. She was absolutely brilliant.
Noah Racey in Never Gonna Dance
Noah gave what I still feel to be the best song-and-dance man performance on a Broadway stage in this sadly short-lived musical.
Beth Leavel in The Drowsy Chaperone
Beth is so talented and hilarious. Her performance and this musical are what musical comedy is all about.
Reed Birney in A Small Fire
This man is an amazing actor. Though I’ve seen him in numerous plays, his performance in this, opposite the great Michele Pawk, was just outstanding.