Bent Broadway is Back at The Wood
The Charles R. Wood Theater will host Bent Broadway on Friday 9/16 and Saturday 9/17: a cabaret featuring 15 local vocalists living out their dream roles! Now an annual event, Bent Broadway began in 2021 nearly selling out the one-night-only performance.
“Wow! The Wood Scored…And what a deserving crew: 14 known and unknown singers came out of the woodwork to pour out their hearts with remarkable talent, some for the very first time on stage, a truly shared moments from all sides. This observer was brought to tears of joy.”Cathy DeDe, The Chronicle
Critics and audiences alike pushed for the return of Bent Broadway and the Wood is thrilled to present the triumphant return, meeting the audience’s need with two performances.
The call for auditions that took place in August asked folks to join the Wood Theater in throwing traditional casting practices out the stage door and audition without boundaries. The idea came from former Wood Theater Director, Dan Slavin, who had seen MisCast and, like many others in the industry, seen too many talented folks end up in an ensemble or without lead roles for a variety of reasons. The idea was presented in 2021 to current Director, Emily Murphy, who loved the idea and quickly pulled together a team to make it happen. In addition to providing an outstanding night of talent and inspiration, the creative team hopes this event will open up a conversation about traditional casting and provide more opportunities for actors of all shapes, sizes, races, gender identities and ages.
“This show strikes a personal chord with me, having been told in High School that my ‘size’ didn’t ‘fit the vision for a show’ leaving me out of shows entirely, then casting me the next show in a lead role – so long as I was the comedic relief” says Executive Director of the Wood Emily Murphy. “Unfortunately several cast members came to us with very similar stories. I don’t think educators realize how significant statements like that are to a young performer who will now carry that with them – if they aren’t good enough to be loved on stage, are they good enough to be loved in real life? We are in the business of theatrics, but I don’t think such a statement is too dramatic to make.”
The event’s audition notice stated: “Have you ever felt like you’re missing out on your dream role because of unfair casting? Have you been typecast or not cast because of your physical appearance (weight, height, race) regardless of your talent? Do you think you’ve aged out of your role’s range? Does your gender identity not match the role’s intended gender? Whatever your reason is, we want to give you the stage to fulfill your dreams! We will cast a group of folks to highlight their talents at an accessible, fun cabaret evening of music!”
The cabaret featuring a cast of 15 will include twelve solos, two duets, three small ensembles and four group numbers. Singing hits from: American Idiot, Beautiful, Bridges of Madison County, Funny Girl, Grease, Hercules, Jesus Christ Superstar, Kinky Boots, Mamma Mia, Mean Girls, Miss Saigon, Newsies, Oklahoma, Pippin, Something Rotten, The Book of Mormon, The Greatest Showman, Wicked, Willy Wonka, Wizard of Oz & more.
The outstanding cast features a few brand new names of folks who have never performed on the Wood Theater stage, alongside several folks who you may recognize from shows past. The cast includes: Justin Fuentes, Stephanie Grzegorzyk, Michelle Huck, Mike Johnson, Riley Keyser, Michael Nichols-Pate, Allison Rambler, Beverly Seinberg, Fiona Taylor, Sara Terry, Kevin Trapasso, Brandon Uhe, Margaret Warrington, Phoebe Wells and Emily Whipple.
Auditions for the show were “blind,” having prospective performers sing behind a curtain to allow the panel a non-biased decision. After singing at auditions, the prospective vocalists were asked to tell the audition panel what inspired them to audition. The stories were everything from being too “overweight” to play a named character or love interest, to wanting to see more diverse representation on stage.
Five of the 2022 cast are returning from 2021’s Bent Broadway after feeling so empowered by their
experience last year. The returning group will sing a song together, join new cast members in smaller
ensembles, and even explore gender-bent vocal parts with a female identifying cast member singing Tenor where she feels most comfortable.
The Creative Team includes Matthew Gaulin as Music Director, Emily Murphy as Director/Producer and Shelley Fairbanks as Assistant Director/Producer.
Tickets are on sale NOW and are just $15 at www.woodtheater.org/events or by calling (518) 480-4878. All proceeds benefit the Wood Theater.