Boggess, who played Fantine in the West End production of Les Misérables and starred opposite Tyne Daly in the heralded Broadway revival of Master Class, will bring her many talents and her critically acclaimed concert evening to Playbill Travel’s Broadway on the High Seas July 2018 cruise to Iceland; she will be joined on the voyage by fellow Broadway favorites Judy Kuhn, Rob McClure, Jarrod Spector, Carmen Cusack, and two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole. Visit PlaybillTravel.com for booking and information.
We asked Boggess to pen a list of her most memorable nights in the theatre; her responses follow.
First preview on Broadway of The Little Mermaid
It Shoulda Been You on Broadway on June 26, 2015
Les Misérables on the road first time I ever went on
This show was something I had dreamed about doing but also never imagined it would actually be something I would ever be a part of! I was fresh out of college, and I had booked this job on the national tour of Les Miz to understudy Cosette and be in the ensemble as the “hair hag.” Yes, that’s right, the “hair hag” was the name of my track! And, I had been in heaven just rehearsing the thing for a couple weeks, and watching literally from the barricade in the wings to learn from the girl I was replacing on the road. The first night I went on, I remember the feeling of stepping onto the turntable, and as it was turning downstage the orchestra was playing, and everything, of course, felt like it was happening in slow motion! And, suddenly it’s my solo line: “and in a bed!” That was it! And I was so nervous and so excited and felt like I cannot mess this up! I didn’t want to be the one responsible for messing up Les Miz! You know? It was seriously unforgettable… and the cast was so supportive because I was so young and so excited that I was getting to be a part of Les Miz, and I remember one girl saying to me before I went onstage, “You are about to be in LES MISERABLES!” It was such a cool moment of recognition that you get to be part of the history books now!
First time singing The Proms at Royal Albert Hall 2010
Guys and Dolls at Carnegie Hall
Well, this was truly a night for the books. First of all, directed by Jack O’Brien, who is my all-time favorite director and maybe one of the greatest humans on the planet; then Nathan Lane, who is iconic in the part of Nathan Detroit, playing opposite the gorgeous-in-every-way Patrick Wilson; and then Megan Mullally, as Adelaide, who is one of my favorite actresses of all time… at Carnegie Hall playing Sarah Brown, a role I have always dreamed of playing… with full orchestra… it was a recipe for awesomeness. I remember stepping out onto the stage as Sarah and thinking, “ This might be what heaven feels like!” The energy of the place was electric, and during the final bow I was looking down the line of fellow actors and thinking, “Wow, this is my team! These are my people! This is real life right now!” It was just one of those nights that my college-musical-theatre-major-self would never have believed if I had told her!
The Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall
This is hands down one of my favorite nights in theatre in my life. Ramin [Karimloo] and I have been close friends for years, and we trust each other so deeply onstage, and we both just knew we were going to be there for each other in such a major way as Phantom and Christine. It was like this spiritual understanding that we owe this to each other and the characters. So that night we gave this performance as if our lives depended on it. It was like we left our artistic souls on the stage that night. I felt drained and elated all at the same time. It felt like Christine and I became one… it was almost like it was my responsibility to honor “her” with all of my soul that night. I knew that we were not only doing this for the thousands at Royal Albert Hall but also being broadcast live to cinemas all around the world… The amount of people who love this show and this character… it was a huge responsibility, but I almost felt as if my life had been preparing me for this. It truly was one of those moments that I couldn’t recreate if I tried. It was everything aligning at once. And, I remember singing “Think of Me” knowing Michael Crawford was in the audience, and I imagined that I was singing for him! And, then when I got to “Wishing…,” I thought, “This is for everyone who has lost someone and is struggling with letting go.” It just was a moment that was bigger than me, and when I came out to take my final bow, I don’t think I have ever felt more joy and elation in my entire life. Just absolutely pure ecstasy! This one… this show… this character… that moment, was unforgettable.
There may be no singer who loves to perform classics from the American Songbook more than Marilyn Maye, the 89-year-old phenomenon who offered a series of four concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Appel Room the weekend of October 27, and that enthusiasm is infectious. Backed by the impressive, 17-piece Tedd Firth Big Band, Maye, whose textured voice remains in remarkable shape, dazzled the sold-out crowd with a 90-minute program that explored her “Secret o’ Life,” which is to focus on the good. In fact, one of Maye’s many offerings of the evening was a song simply titled “No Bad News.” For someone who is so optimistic—her mantra, she says, is Jerry Herman's “It's Today”—she is surprised that her most-requested song is the torchy “Guess Who I Saw Today.” However, after hearing Maye’s perfect delivery of the jazz standard, one can understand her audiences’ predilection for the tune.
Two of the evening's many highlights came from the musical theatre: a belty “If He Walked Into My Life” from Jerry Herman's Mame and one of the finest renditions of Ballroom's “50 Percent” that this writer has heard. In fact, Maye treated the latter as its own mini-drama, building to an exciting, full-voiced finale. Other high points: a wonderful take on “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” that began with simple guitar accompaniment; a terrific medley of tunes from Maye's favorite composer, Johnny Mercer; and a Fats Waller medley that allowed Maye to display both her wonderful timing and sense of humor.
The veteran performer, whose delivery of lyrics is so welcomingly conversational that it often seems she is creating them spontaneously, concluded her evening with a touching rendition of “Here's to Life” before an encore of the aforementioned “It's Today.” Throughout the evening, Marilyn Maye joked that her middle name is “Medley,” but I'm pretty sure it must be “Marvelous.”
Visit Maye’s page in Playbill Universe for her upcoming concert dates.
Senior editor Andrew Gans is also the author of the monthly Their Favorite Things column.