Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton
This dude has been one of my biggest inspirations since I saw In the Heights. He represents so many awesome things in musical theatre. And when I saw Hamilton, I felt like the show’s music and message spoke straight to my soul. His origin story and this show reminded me to “tell your story…” and to “…not throw my shot” at leaving “my legacy.”
The cast of the revival of 42nd Street
It was one of the first Broadway shows I ever saw. I sat front row center loge, and I still remember that exhilarating moment when the curtain rose to reveal all those tap-dancing feet. All different colors. Tapping together to reveal this glorious force of classic golden age musical theatre tap. I was in heaven. Coincidentally, I was cast in the first national tour of the same show, two years later.
Nathan Lane in The Nance
I was always a fan of Nathan Lane since I heard his voice on the Guys and Dolls revival cast recording. And then I saw The Birdcage, which made me an even bigger fan. But his role in The Nance was an amazing showcase of what this man can do. His vaudeville-style songs and dances were simply great, and his acting just moved me to tears. He’s just one of the best out there.
Brent Carver in Parade
This is a ’cheat cause I never saw the show live, just the Tony performance. But even so, I felt so much when I heard Brent sing “This Is Not Over Yet.” I knew very little about the story, but I got most of it just from hearing him sing that song. It became one of the first songs I recorded in high school as a hopeful music theatre actor.
Deven May in Bat Boy The Musical
Brian d'Arcy James in Sweet Smell of Success
Jim Borstelmann in Chicago
I was a chunky 195-lb. martial artist/musician/singer/wannabe dancer when I saw Jim dance in the ensemble of this show. I noticed he was built more like a lean football player compared to the other skinny dancers. He was amazing and he danced the Fosse style with such strength and subtlety. He gave me hope that I could be a professional dancer one day and do Fosse. Then, I did exactly that.
Stanley Wayne Mathis in Kiss Me, Kate
He was an amazing triple threat. He was so funny and charismatic in his scenes, sang with a bold soaring tenor voice, and danced with Broadway electricity flowing through his body. He is extraordinary.
Alan Cumming in Cabaret
Bertie Carvel in Matilda
As Miss Agatha Trunchbull, he was brilliantly funny, terrifying, and rooted so deep into this character. His characterization blew me away. It was so inspiring to watch, and it made me want to not only be in that show but to also take on more challenging character roles like Miss Trunchbull.