It’s hard to believe that it’s already December. I’ve seen a lot of great theater and great performances this year, but here are some of my favorites from 2019.
Jelani Alladin – Hercules
I was lucky enough to win the lottery to see the Public Theater’s production of Hercules this summer, and Jelani’s portrayal of Hercules was joyful and charming. He played so well off of his co-star , Krysta Rodriguez. He met her sass with endearing sincerity. His version of “Go the Distance” was, quite simply, perfect. I hope that the show ends up going to Broadway, so that more people get the chance to see his performance.
Lauren Patten – Jagged Little Pill
I have never seen anyone get a standing ovation in the middle of a show, but that has happened both times I saw Jagged Little Pill after Lauren performed “You Oughta Know.” In her portrayal of Jo, a teen struggling with her parents’ lack of acceptance, she leaves everything on that stage, and it’s incredible to watch. She also delivers many of the best one-liners in the show. I wouldn’t be surprised if she does very well in this spring’s award season.
Beth Leavel – The Prom
Beth Leavel’s performance as Dee Dee Allen in The Prom was unforgettable. Beth took the audience on Dee Dee’s journey from self-absorbed actress to thoughtful and caring mentor and kept them in her corner the whole way. This is not an easy feat when playing a character labeled as a “narcissist” multiple times. Her performance was a comedic master class.
Shoshana Bean – Waitress
I have been a fan of Shoshana since her days in Wicked, and I was thrilled that she was returning to Broadway in my favorite musical. Shoshana brought an incredible balance of strength and vulnerability to her portrayal of pie-maker Jenna. Her voice was also a perfect match for Sara Bareilles’ score.
Eva Noblezada – Hadestown
I was blown away by Eva’s performance in Miss Saigon, and was excited to see what she did next. Her beautiful portrayal of Eurydice in Hadestown is both funny and heartbreaking. Even though I knew how the story was going to end, my heart broke watching the story play out. I highly recommend listening to “Wait for Me (Reprise). Her belt is UNREAL. Her performance inspired me enough to go as Eurydice for Halloween.