2019 Tony Nominees

12.14.18

Brooks Ashmanskas, Beth Leavel & Caitlin Kinnunen Discuss "The Prom"

See the next hit from Broadway’s Musical Comedy Dream Team – the geniuses behind "The Book of Mormon," "Aladdin," "Mean Girls"…must we go on? What happens when four stars leave the bright lights of Broadway and take leading roles in a small-town controversy making national headlines? Big drama. Bigger laughs. And the biggest musical showstopper in years! Join Tony Award nominee Brooks Ashmanskas ("Something Rotten!"), Tony Award winner Beth Leavel ("The Drowsy Chaperone") and Caitlin Kinnunen ("Spring Awakening") as they stopped by BUILD to discuss the show, "The Prom."

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** As Captioned Live ** \M\M

>>> WELCOME TO BUILD. I'M LAURA HEYWOOD. TODAY I HAVE THREE THEATRICAL VETRANCE JOINING ME. THEY STAR IN "THE PROM." I'VE SEEN IT THREE TIMES AND IT'S BEEN OPEN A MONTH. I'M BEYOND EXCITED TO SIT DOWN WITH SUPERSTARS BETH LEAVEL, BROOKS ASHMANSKAS, AND CAITLIN KINNUNEN. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT "THE PROM." \M EVERYONE SHOW THEM ALL IT CAN BE DONE \M \M NO ONE CARES FOR US \M \M MOVING OUT YOU WILL SEE HOW THE WORLD \M \M ONE DAY IT MIGHT COME TRUE IF WE TAKE A CHANCE \M \M BUT UNTIL THAT DAY COMES I SAY CUE THE DRUMS \M \M IT'S TIME TO DANCE \M \M LOVE IS UNIVERSAL \M \M LIFE'S NO DRESS REHEARSAL \M \M IT'S TIME THAT WE OWN IT \M \M AND MAKE IT CLEAR THAT TONIGHT BELONGS TO \M \M MAKE IT CLEAR THAT TONIGHT BELONGS TO \M \M MAKE IT CLEAR THAT TONIGHT BELONGS \M \M TO US \M

>> THIS SHOW MAKES ME SO HAPPY! AND I'M SO HAPPY THAT YOU'RE HERE, BROOKS, BETH, AND CAITLIN. CONGRATULATIONS ON "THE PROM." CAITLIN, WHY DON'T YOU START BE GIVE US THE ELEVATOR PITCH OF WHAT THIS SHOW IS ALL ABOUT.

>> HERE WE GO. IT'S ABOUT A 17-YEAR-OLD GIRL THAT WANTS TO ACHE HER GIRLFRIEND TO THE PROM AND THE PTA SAYS NO AND DECIDES TO CANCEL THE PROM. THE FOUR VETERAN PERFORMERS WHO ARE DOWN ON THEIR LUCK AND IN A BAD SHOW PUT THEMSELVES BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT BY GOING INDIANA AND TRYING TO SAVE THE DAY AND SHENANIGANS ENSHOE.

>> YOU NAILED IT.

>> WELL DONE.

>> WE WOULD HAVE SAID IT'S ABOUT FOUR BROADWAY ACTORS.

>> DEPENDING ON WHO YOU Z ZSH.

>> WHOSE WORLDS COLLIDE. YOU PLAY A 17-YEAR-OLD GIRL. YOU PLAY THE 18-YEAR-OLD -- HEY, HEY.

>> BROOKS AND I AND CHRIS SEAVER AND ANGIE PLAY THE FOUR NEW YORK ACTORS. THE SHOW OPENS WITH --

>> AT AN OPENING NIGHT.

>> AT ELEANOR ROOZ VELT THE MUSICAL, WHICH IS A HUGE FLOP. WE REALIZE WE NEED TO GET SOME MORE -- A CAUSE CELEBRE. WE HERE ABOUT THE SITUATION IN INDIANA. WE GO AND LO AND BEHOLD, WE MAKE EVERYTHING WORSE. WE GO TO SAVE HER AND MAYBE SHE SAVES US.

>> IT'S CLEAR YOUR CHARACTERS ARE A BIT OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE REAL WORLD. YOUR CHARACTER SAID, WE HAD TO TELL THE STORY ABOUT ELEANOR ROOSEVELT BECAUSE NO ONE'S EVER HEARD OF HER.

>> DIDI ENDS UP BEING LOVABLE.

>>. SHE HAS SUCH A NICE JOURNEY, OR DARE I SAY ARC.

>> OH.

>> THANK YOU, I WENT TO ACTING SCHOOL.

>> I JUST THREW UP A LITTLE.

>> YOU'RE WELCOME.

>> SO BROOKS TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER.

>> HE'S HOMOSEXUAL.

>> YES, AND?

>> WHAT!

>> HE'S A COLLEAGUE OF DIDI'S. THEY HAVE DONE A LOT OF SHOWS TOGETHER. HE'S BEEN RELATIVELY SUCCESSFUL ON BROADWAY AND I THINK IS JUST A BIG HEARTED SWEET, FUNNY GUY WHO NEEDS A TUNE-UP ON HIS LIFE SKILLS.

>> YOU TWO HAVE 13 AND 14 BROADWAY CREDITS RESPECTIVELY. DID YOU FEEL AT ALL LIKE YOU WERE CAST TO PLAY YOURSELVES?

>> YES.

>> YES.

>> ABSOLUTELY. IT WAS WRITTEN FOR US, WHICH IS A LITTLE SCARY.

>> YES, BECAUSE THE WRITERS ARE INSANE.

>> A HEIGHTENED VERSION. I LIKE TO CALL DIDI MY EVIL TWIN.

>> A TUNED UP VURGS OF OURSELVES.

>> NEITHER OF YOU HAVE THAT EGOTISM. YOU'RE BOTH VERY SWEET.

>> THANK YOU.

>> THANKS.

>> WHAT I THINK IS SO BRILLIANT ABOUT THIS SHOW, WHICH IS WHAT GAVE ME PAUSE WHEN I FIRST HEARD ABOUT IT IN ATLANTA -- WE'LL GO BACK AND TALK ABOUT THE ORIGIN I HEARD IT TALKED ABOUT SIMULTANEOUSLY AS A COMING OF AGE STORY, A REAL POLITICAL ISSUE AND THEN AT A SENDUP OF BROADWAY THAT WAS ALMOST SATIRICAL. I WAS LIKE, HOW COULD THEY DO BOTH AT THE SAME TIME? MAYBE PICK ONE AND GO WITH THAT. YET WHEN I SAW IT IT'S LIKE TWO DIFFERENT KIND OF FABRIC WOVEN TOGETHER TO MAKE THE RIGHT TAPESTRY.

>> THAT'S BEAUTIFUL. I'M GOING TO CROSS STITCH THAT.

>> CAITLIN, DID YOU WORK ON TWO DIFFERENT PARTS LIKE THE INDIANA TEENAGER STORY SEPARATELY, OR DID IT ALL COME TOGETHER AS ONE?

>> IT ALL CAME TOGETHER AS ONE. I DON'T THINK THERE WAS A POINT WHEN WE REALLY SPLIT THE TWO. THEY ACTUALLY WORK TOGETHER REALLY WELL. AND YOU CAN'T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER IN THE SHOW.

>> YEAH, I DON'T THINK IT WOULD BE NEARLY AS SUCCESSFUL IN THE SHOW.

>> IT WAS INTERESTING TALKING TO WHO DID THE MUSIC AND THE LYRICS BECAUSE THEY HAVE WRITTEN A SHOW THAT REPRESENTS HER AND A SCORE THAT REPRESENTS THE BROADWAY PEOPLE, SO IT'S AN ELECTIC BLENDING AS WELL AS EMOTIONAL BLENDING OF THE PEOPLE IN INDIANA AND US CRAZY PEOPLE FROM BROADWAY.

>> YOU GUYS FIND A LITTLE HEART AND YOU FIND A LITTLE ZAZZ.

>> YEAH.

>> I WAS ACTUALLY TALKING TO MAT SKLAR WHO'S A FRIEND OF MINE. THERE WERE DIFFERENCES IN THE NUMBERS BACK THEN. BROOKS, WAS THERE A NUMBER THAT CHANGED IN ATLANTA -- NO, IN THE LA LAB? HE TOLD ME THERE WAS ONE. MAYBE I'M LEANING YOU DOWN A ROAD.

>> THE OPENING SECTION OF THE SHOW HAS WHAT WE NOW HAVE ON BROADWAY IS THE 75th VERSION OF IT. WE ARE ALMOST NOT EXAGGERATING. REHEARSALS AND LABS AND THEN WORKSHOPS AND OUT OF TOWN -- YOU KNOW, ALL THE REHEARSALS HERE -- EXCUSE ME. I HAD A STROKE. BECAUSE IT'S, YOU KNOW, THAT TIME OF DAY. I DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS EITHER.

>> STROKE TIME.

>> THERE WERE SO MANY DIFFERENT VERSIONS. I THINK I'M STROKING OUT BECAUSE I GET THAT FEELING THAT BETH AND I HAD IN ATLANTA WHEN WE CHANGED THE LYRICS AND TRIED TO DO IT THAT DAY.

>> I HAD THE CHANGE MISMY BRA. THEN WE WOULD GO OUT LIKE, HELP ME.

>> WHICH DAY IS IT? WHICH LYRIC IS IT?

>> SO THAT NUMBER, DEFINITELY, RIGHT UP UNTIL IT PREVIEWED HERE.

>> HOW LONG AGO WAS THAT THAT YOU WERE IN THE FIRST LAB?

>> WELL, THE FIRST, LIKE, READING OF IT WAS --

>> IT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO.

>> IT WAS SEVEN YEARS AGO.

>> WHERE WE DID JUST THE FIRST ACT. NO MUSIC. THERE WAS ONE SONG THAT MATT SANG I THINK. THEN OVER SEVEN YEARS.

>> ATLANTA WAS FOUR YEARS AGO?

>> TWO YEARS AGO.

>> I THINK THE POINT IS BROADWAY SHOWS TAKE A REALLY LONG TIME TO GET TO THE STAGE, NO PUN INTENDED WHERE THE AUDIENCE GETS TO SEE IT. I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT AND INTERESTING TO TALK ABOUT ALL THE CHANGES THAT HAPPEN, ALL THE WORK THAT GOES ON BEFORE YOU EVEN GET TO PREVIEWS. CAITLIN, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE PROJECT?

>> I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED FOR FOUR YEARS, WHICH IS WHEN WE DID THE FIRST 29 TABLE READ OF IT. THEY HAD DONE STUFF WITH IT BEFORE, BUT FOUR YEARS AGO WAS THE FULL SCORE, FULL SCRIPT, HIRED THE ENTIRE CAST TO COME IN AND PUT IT ON ITS FEET WITH MUSIC STANDS. SO FOUR YEARS.

>> YEAH, AND YOU'RE STILL PLAYING A 17-YEAR-OLD. THAT'S AMAZING. AND IT'S BELIEVABLE. BUT YOU'RE NOT 17.

>> THANK YOU!

>> THE FACT THAT THIS IS YOUR THIRD BROADWAY SHOW AND YOU'RE THE RELATIVE ROOKIE ABOUT PLANL IS REMARKABLE.

>> IT'S AMAZING. WORKING WITH THESE GUYS EVERY DAY IS LIKE A MASTER CLASS EVERY NIGHT.

>> ANY PARTICULAR LESSONS YOU CAN CREDIT THESE TWO WITH?

>> CAREFUL.

>> I WAS TALKING ABOUT THIS YESTERDAY THAT I FEEL LIKE I'VE JUST WALKED AWAY WITH SELF-CONFIDENCE THROUGH THIS PROJECT, WATCHING THEM THROUGHOUT THE YEARS AND IN THE REHEARSAL PROCESSES. IT'S BEEN INCREDIBLE. THEY ARE -- WHETHER THEY REALLY ARE OR NOT, I DON'T KNOW, BUT THEY APPEAR TO BE FEARLESS AND THE COMMITMENT THEY GIVE EVERY NIGHT AND THAT THEY GAVE EVERY DAY IN REHEARSAL WAS OUTSTANDING TO WATCH AND COOL TO BE A PART OF. I'M LIKE, YES, I CAN DO THIS.

>> BETH, DO YOU FEEL FEARLESS?

>> LET'S JUST PUT IT THIS WAY, MOST TIMES, YES. PARTICULARLY WHEN WE HAVE A CREATIVE TEAM AND YOU'RE IN A ROOM WHERE YOU FEEL SO SAFE, I FEEL LIKE I CAN THROW ANYTHING UP AGAINST A WALL AND WE'LL ALL BE PATIENT TO FEEL WHAT STICKS. IN THAT WAY I CAN BE FEARLESS. THE MATERIAL, THE CRAFTSMANSHIP OF WHAT I DO IS SO PERFECT THAT IT'S EASY TO JUMP INTO, WATT FEAR, INTO THE WATER.

>> ESPECIALLY WITH THIS MATERIAL. LIKE WE SAID, BECAUSE IT WAS WRITTEN WITH US IN MIND, OR AT LEAST THEY TRIED TO PLAY TO OUR STRENGTHS. ANYBODY WHO FEELS STRONG ABOUT WHAT THEY DO WILL BE LESS FEARFUL OF DOING I. ALSO I FINE IT'S UNTHE TO FAIL IN FRONT OF THESE PEOPLE. I FAIL ALL THE TIME IN THE SHOW. I LIKE TO THROW IT OUT THERE, AND IT'S ONE OF THE THINGS I FIND MOST FUNNY AND WHEN THINGS DON'T WORK.

>> HE'S IMPOSSIBLE.

>> WE ARE BIG RISK TAKERS IN A ROOM. I THINK THE SHOW IS IT BEER BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN -- WE HAVE RISKED FAILING. YOU KNOW, AND THEN THEY TELL US WHAT'S FUNNY, WHAT DOESN'T WORK. IS THAT NOTE TOO HIGH?

>> IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A NOTE TOO HIGH FOR YOU?

>> OH, YES, THERE IS.

>> I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU HIT THOSE NOTES.

>> I DON'T EITHER.

>> I ALSO DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT EIGHT TIMES A WEEK WITHOUT THROWING OUR WHOLE VOICE OUT. WHAT KIND OF WARMUPS DO YOU DO? WHAT KIND AFTER SELF-CARE DO YOU PRACTICE?

>> ASK THE TWO OF THEM THIS QUESTION.

>> YOU DON'T HAVE AN ANSWER?

>> NO, NOTHING.

>> YOU DON'T WARM UP? YOU DON'T SIT BACKSTAGE GOING BROOKS ASHMANSKAS, BROOKS ASHMANSKAS. CAITLIN KINNUNEN. I FELT LIKE WHEN I WAS PRACTICING YOUR NAMES I WAS LIKE -- JUST CAITLIN KINNUNEN.

>> YOUR VOICE THE A MUSCLE SO MY SHOWS ARE MY WORKOUTS. THAT'S ALMOST MY WARMUP. I DO VERY -- I THINK YOU AND I ARE SIMILAR, WE DO A LOT OF HUMMING TO MAKE SURE IT'S THERE. IF I DID A FULL WARMUP, I'M NOT SURE THERE WOULD BE ANYTHING LEFT. ONCE I DO LIGHT HUMMING AND STUFF -- POOR PEOPLE, IF I'M IN THE A CAB I'M LIKE, SORRY SIR.

>> I DO IT ON THE SUBWAY EVERY DAY. I'M THAT CRAZY PERSON.

>> I DO TOO. I LOOK AND MAKE SURE THE PERSON BY ME HAS EARPHONES IN.

>> I DON'T EVEN DO THAT. I'M LIKE, YOU'RE LISTENING TO ME? [ HUMMING ]

>> CREEPY, DEAD EYES.

>> THAT REMIND ME OF A LEAN FROM THE SHOW. MOST PEOPLE PAY PREMIUM PRICES TO LISTEN TO THIS. OR YOU JUST GET UP AND YOU GO, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IT'S SHOW TIME.

>> I HAVE TO WARM UP! CAN YOU IMAGINE?

>> YOU SHOULD TRY THAT.

>> I COULD IMAGINE THE YOUTUBE VIDEO, BETH LEAVEL, SHOW TIME ON THE "A" TRAIN.

>> HOW OFTEN DO YOU CRACK EACH OTHER UP? THE SHOW IS SO FUNNY AND YOU GUYS ARE ARCHETYPAL CHARACTERS THAT EVEN WHEN YOU'RE NOT SAYING ANYTHING, YOUR BODY LANGUAGE IS SO FUNNY. I CAN IMAGINE YOU'RE TRYING TO CRACK EACH OTHER UP EVERY DAY.

>> BROOKS GETTING ME EVERY NIGHT.

>> HE'S SO BAD. THE AUDIENCE WOULD NEVER KNOW. I WOULD NEVER CRACK UP ON STAGE IFS THE NOT SERVING THE STORY.

>> YOU'RE A PROFESSIONAL.

>> THESE PARTS -- I THINK WE DO ENJOY EACH OTHER. PART OF THE CHEMISTRY ON THIS SHOW WAS SO EASY BECAUSE WE HAVE KNOWN AND LOVED EACH OTHER FOR A LONG TIME. IT'S NECESSARY TO HAVE THAT ENERGY IN CERTAIN SCENES. YOU KNOW, THE SCENES IN THE HOTEL ROOM AND THINGS. WE ENJOY THE SITUATIONS WE ARE IN TOGETHER.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> SO I THINK IT'S A GREAT ENERGY TO HAVE THAT SORT OF -- SEMIDANGEROUS, BUT THAT'S GREAT.

>> I THINK THE AUDIENCE FEELS THAT TOO. THAT'S THE RISK THING WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

>> IT'S A TIGHT ROPE WALK.

>> IS THIS THE FIRST TIME YOU GUYS HAVE DONE A SHOW TOGETHER?

>> A FULL PRODUCTION.

>> I FEEL LIKE THIS SHOW IS GOING TO RUN FOR A REALLY LONG TIME AND WHENEVER YOU'RE READY TO STEP AWAY FROM IT YOU ARE GOING TOUR TOGETHER.

>> OKAY.

>> OR LIKE, DO A CRUISE TOGETHER.

>> VEGAS, YEAH!

>> RENO. MAYBE. FLAG STAFF.

>> CAITLIN, HOW MUCH INPUT DID YOU HAVE INTO DEVELOPING THE BACKGROUND FOR YOUR CHARACTER?

>> UM, I WOULDN'T SAY THE BACKGROUND OF IT. THE BACKGROUND WAS PRETTY SET WHEN I CAME ON TO THE PROJECT. THE WRITERS HAVE DONE A REALLY GOOD JOB OF, LIKE, INCORPORATING CAITLIN-ISMS INTO THE ROLE JUST BECAUSE I THINK I AM WHO I AM, AND THEREFORE THAT'S WHAT THEY GOT AND THEY WERE WILLING TO SAY, THIS IS A THING YOU DO, WE ARE GOING ADD MORE OF THAT. SO I SAY WE JUST GOT TO ADD MORE TO THE BACKGROUND OF EMMA. I FEEL LIKE EMMA AND CAITLIN ARE SIMILAR IN THEIR ACT WATEREDNESS AND SO THEY WERE REALLY GREAT AND FULLY EMBRACE THAT HAD AND LET ME BE MYSELF ON STAGE.

>> YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT PHYSICAL --

>> PHYSICALLY AND VOCALLY AND THINGS I WOULD SAY IN THE ROOM WOULD END UP IN THE SCRIPT. SO YEAH, IT WAS REALLY COOL.

>> I FEEL LIKE I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT EMMA FROM THE WAY HER BEDROOM IS DECORATED. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I WAS THERE FOR A REPEAT PERFORMANCE. I WAS LIKE, SHE HAS A HERMOINE STICKER ON HER GUITAR. AND SHE REALLY LIKES RIVERDALE. THE WAY HER BEDROOM IS DECORATED. I FELT LIKE -- THE SHOW, WHILE CERTAINLY THE ISSUE OF TEENAGE LESBIAN NOT BEING ALLOWED TO BRING HER GIRLFRIEND TO PROM IS SET IN A CERTAIN TIME IN HISTORY AND SOON WILL BE LAKE A PERIOD PIECE, I FELT LIKE THE DETAILS THE DESIGNER PUT IN THERE LOCKED IT INTO BEING CURRENT.

>> IT'S A STORY, UNFORTUNATELY, YOU SAY IT'S LIKE A PERIOD PIECE, BUT IT HAPPENS EVERY YEAR. IT'S HAPPENING TO PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE OF AMERICA, AND IT'S HORRIBLE. THE FACT THAT IT SO CURRENT AND WE ARE TELLING THE STORY NOW IS IMPORTANT. PEOPLE REACH OUT TO ME THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA SAYING WE ARE TELLING THEIR STORY, AND THAT'S HORRIBLE BUT ALSO LIKE WONDERFUL THEY GET A CHANCE TO SEE THEMSELVES PORTRAYED HONESTLY ON STAGE.

>> WHAT ARE THE STAGE DOORS LIKE?

>> THEY'RE LIKE A LITTLE TALLER --

>> I'LL WAIT.

>> THIS IS A KNOB AND A PUSH.

>> YOU MEAN THE PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE STAGE DOORS?

>> WHO ARE YOU MEETING? WHAT STORIES ARE YOU HEARING?

>> THEY'RE VERY SWEET. I ALWAYS THINK, GOD, THEY MUST BE SICK OF US BY NOW. IT'S REALLY SWEET. ANY OTHER JOB PEOPLE DON'T LEAVE THEIR CUBICLE AND GO, YOU WERE TERRIFIC! IT'S VERY SWEET. I'M STUMPED BY IT ALL THE TIME. IT'S A LOT OF -- IT'S MIXED STAGEWISE, BUT IT'S A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE, AND THOSE ARE THE ONES THAT KNOCK THE BREATH OUT OF YOUR BODY. THEY HAVE TEARS IN THEIR EYES.

>> THEY'RE CRYING WITH JOY.

>> THEY CAN'T BELIEVE THEIR STORY IS BEING TOLD. I'LL CRY TALKING ABOUT IT.

>> THEN YOU HAVE OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE SO EXCITED TO SEE AN ORIGINAL BROADWAY MUSICAL SUCCEED ON SO MANY LEVELS.

>> IT'S NOT BASED ON A MOVIE, A BOOK, IT'S ORIGINAL OUT OF THE HEAD OF THE CREATORS. WE NEED MORE OF THAT.

>> YES.

>> I LOVE IT. IT'S SO SINGABLE AND DANCEABLE. THE CAST ALBUM IS OUT AS OF TODAY! HAVE YOU SAT DOWN AND LISTENED TO IT? OR IS IT LIKE, I HEAR THIS EIGHT TIMES A WEEK?

>> WE HAD A LITTLE LISTENING PARTY LAST WEEK. AND LISTENED TO IT ON GOOD SPEAKERS AND EVERYTHING, AND IT WAS -- THESE GUYS SOUND ASTONISHING.

>> HE SOUNDS ASTONISHING TOO.

>> I SOUND JUST SORT OF LIKE SCREAMING.

>> HE SOUNDS FABULOUS.

>> NO, IT SOUNDS GREAT. HE'S WELL PRODUCED.

>> WHAT IS THE THING YOU'LL TAKE AWAY FROM "THE PROM" THAT YOU THINK WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST?

>> WHAT AN AUDIENCE WOULD TAKE AWAY OR --

>> WHAT YOU WOULD TAKE AWAY FROM THE JOURNEY?

>> WELL, THE LOVE OF WHAT WE DO.

>> YOU THINK THAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE?

>> I MEAN, WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE WOULD BE CONSTANT INJURIES.

>> OH, YEAH. I MEAN, YOU'RE JUMPING ON THINGS.

>> I'M OLD, YOU KNOW? AND JUMPING AROUND AND SCREAMING, THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I NOW CAN TAKE WITH ME THE REST OF MY LIFE, THOSE SCARS.

>> I THINK ALL OF US WOULD ALSO AGREE, I'M NOT SURE I EVER EXPERIENCED A SHOW WHERE I HAVE SO MUCH JOY. IT IS SO JOYFUL. AND THAT IS SHARED WITH MY SINGING PARTNER, THE AUDIENCE. BY THE END OF THE CURTAIN CALL, THE WHOLE PLACE IS VIBRATING WITH LOVE AND JOY. THAT'S THE ONLY WAY I CAN PUT IT. AND THAT WILL BE WITH ME FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER.

>> IT'S RARE.

>> I'M SO THRILLED THAT YOU REFERRED TO THE AUDIENCE AT YOUR SCENE PARTNER. THIS IS SOMETHING AADVOCATE CONSTANTLY, THAT THE AUDIENCE NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED THE COLLABORATOR INSTEAD OF THE CUSTOMER.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> I CAN TELL FROM WHAT YOU THREE AND OUR INCREDIBLE COSTARS AND ENSEMBLE ARE DOING THAT YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT. THERE'S NOT A LOT OF FOURTH WALL BREAKING. IT'S NOT THAT KIND OF SCENE PARTNER, THE BUT THE ENERGY EXCHANGE IS JUST UNPARALLELED. BY THE TIME WE ACTUALLY GET UP TO DANCE DURING YOUR VOWS WHEN THE WHOLE HOUSE JUST JUMPS TO THEIR FEET, IT'S A PARTY WE ARE ALL INVITED TO. IT'S A PROM FOR EVERYBODY.

>> IT IS. PEOPLE ASK, WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DID THE SAME SHOW EIGHT TIMES A WEEK FOR HOWEVER LONG IT RUNS. IT ISN'T THE SAME SHOW EVERYBODY NIGHT BECAUSE OF THE AUDIENCE. IT CAN'T BE. THE MOLECULAR STRUCTURE IS DIFFERENT.

>> THAT ONE SHOW WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. NEVER. IT'S A SINGULAR MOMENT THAT WILL NEVER WITH OUR SCENE PARTNERS.

>> THAT'S WHY I AS AN AUDIENCE MEMBER CAN COME BACK AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. EVEN IF I KNOW THE LINES THE SONGS, THERE'S STILL SOMETHING THAT SURPRISES ME.

>> AND WE ARE STILL DISCOVERING. ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOMENTS NOW IS WHEN I COME TO YOU AND YOU POINT TO ME AT THE VERY END. AND THAT NEVER HAPPENED UNTIL ABOUT, WHAT, LAST WEEK? I'M LIKE, HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED THAT MOMENT?

>> THAT'S AWESOME.

>> I GET A LITTLE BIT -- YOU KNOW I WAS TALKING ABOUT THE DUALITY OF THE SHOW, TALKING ABOUT TWO SHOWS IN ONE, AND I FEEL LIKE NO SHOW HAS MADE ME WANT TO DANCE AND WEEP AT THE SAME TIME AS THIS ONE DOES. I CAN GET YOU CAN CHOED UP TALKING ABOUT IT AND I CAN TRY TO DESCRIBE ESPECIALLY THE BROADWAY ARCHETYPE CHARACTERS AND I CAN'T EVEN GET THE WORDS OUT, BECAUSE, LIKE, I'M CRYING FROM LAUGHING.

>> I THINK IT'S SUCH A SPECIAL SHOW BECAUSE OF THAT. IT IS A CLASSICAL MUSICAL COMEDY, BUT SNEAKS UP ON YOU WITH A HEART OF GOLD YOU DON'T EXPECT FROM IT AND IT HITS YOU. YOU'RE LAUGHING, CRYING AND YOU LEAVE THE THEATER FEELING EVERY EMOTION POSSIBLE.

>> I WANT TO ASK YOU BEFORE WE FINISH ABOUT THE MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE.

>> IT WAS COLD.

>> FREEZING.

>> AND YOU WERE SLEEVELESS.

>> HELLO!

>> I KNOW. I BELIEVE SOMEONE ON TWITTER SAID YOU DESERVED A TONY AWARD FOR GOING SLEEVELESS.

>> I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO COLD MY ENTIRE LIFE. THAT WAS NOT THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL PART OF THE PERFORMANCE. THERE WAS A LOT OF ATTENTION ON THE GIRL-GIRL KISS, WHICH WAS ABOUT THE MOST "G" RATED CHASED THING I'VE EVER SEEN ON TELEVISION, AND YET, THERE WERE CERTAIN, LIKE, DEMOGRAPHICS, I GUESS, THAT WERE UPSET ABOUT IT.

>> YEAH.

>> CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT A LITTLE BIT?

>> YEAH, IT WAS AN INTERESTING MOMENT. I FEEL LIKE IZZY AND I WENT INTO IT JUST NOT EVEN REALLY THINKING ABOUT IT. IT'S JUST A PART OF THE SHOW WE DO, IT'S A PART OF THE STORY WE TELL. TO US, IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL. I GREW UP IN A COMMUNITY WHERE IT WAS ACCEPTED AND NORMALIZED AND NOT AN ISSUE. I DIDN'T THINK ABOUT IT. WE PERFORMED AT THE PARADE AND GOT OFF THE STAGE, AND TWITTER BLEW UP. AND IT WAS INTERESTING TO SEE EVERYONE'S COMMENTS ON IT. BUT WHAT WAS REALLY AMAZING TO ME, AND I FEEL LIKE TO A LOT OF US, WAS THAT FOR EVERY MESSAGE OF HATE AND BACKLASH WE GOT, WE GOT TEN TIMES THE LOVE AND SUPPORT AND CAMARADERIE, AND HAVING THAT COME AT YOU FELT SO SPECIAL AND JUST OVERWHELMING. BECAUSE -- I DON'T KNOW. IT MADE PEOPLE SEE THAT ON STAGE AND SEE THAT IT IS NORMAL AND IT IS ACCEPTED AND THAT THERE'S A COMMUNITY THAT WELCOMES YOU AND SUPPORTS YOU.

>> I THOUGHT THE BACKLASH IN ITSELF WAS A MESSAGE OF HOW NECESSARY THE SHOW IS. IF THERE IS ANYBODY WHO'S LIKE, MAYBE I CAN SEE THAT TEN YEARS AGO HAPPENING, IT'S LIKE, NO, IT'S STILL HAPPENING. IT'S A SHOW ABOUT NOW. THIS IS NOT A PERIOD PIECE.

>> IT'S NOT.

>> AND IF WE NEEDED PROOF THAT THAT'S THE CASE, THAT, YOU KNOW -- IT WAS SO -- I HAD THE SAME THING AS YOU. AS I WAS WATCHING IT I WAS LIKE, OH, "THE PROM."

>> NOT A BEG DEAL.

>> BUT AFTER I REALIZED -- WHAT'S THE LINE -- WE'RE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS FROM BROADWAY! I'M ONE OF THOSE, TOO, AND IT WAS GOOD TO BE REMINDED OW IMPORTANT A SHOW LIKE THIS AND ITS MESSAGES ARE. SO YOU GUYS HAD NO PREPARATION WHERE THEY WERE LIKE, LOOK, THIS MIGHT BE A THING?

>> THERE WAS SOME. IT WAS DEFINITELY TALKED ABOUT. IT WAS LIKE, WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS, THERE MAY BE BACKLASH --

>> SORRY. WE ALL HAD THE EXPERIENCE OF WE DID THE REHEARSAL OF IT AT NIGHT FOR THE CAMERAS. IT JUST SOT OF CROSSED -- MYSELF AT LEAST, IT CROSSED MY MIND WHILE THEY WERE DOING IT. I'M LIKE, I'M SO GLAD WE ARE DOING THIS. BIG WAY OF GETTING THIS MESSAGE OUT. THEN OUR DIRECTOR WHO WAS THERE WAS LIKE, THEY'RE GOING CLOSEUP. IT WAS A GREAT THING. TALK ABOUT LIVING IN A BUBBLE.

>> YOUR CHARACTER IS A GUY WHO -- AND I DON'T THINK THIS REALLY COUNTS AS A SPOILER, BUT WHO NEVADA GOT TO GO TO HIS PROM. HE ENDS UP LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH EMMA AND FINDING THIS PRIDE. I FEEL LIKE THERE ARE KID AT HOME WHO ARE WATCHING THE KISS OR WHO ARE SEEING THE COVERAGE -- MAYBE EVEN IN LIKE AN INTERVIEW LIKE THIS AND THEY'RE FEELING LIKE, OH, THAT'S WHAT I NEVER HAD AND THAT'S WHAT I NEEDED. OR MAYBE ADULTS WHO NEVER HAD IT AND TIMES ARE CHANGING.

>> SPEAKING OF STAGE DOOR SITUATION, JUST AS MANY YOUNG PEOPLE, I TALK TO PEOPLE MY AGE OR OLDER WHO ARE SO MOVED BY THAT PART OF THIS CHARACTER, ESPECIALLY HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH CAITLIN'S CHARACTER. THEN THEY ARE VERY -- LIKE, I HAD IT EASY IN MY LIFE COMPARED TO THEM, BECAUSE OF THEM, RIGHT? THEY ARE SO MOVED BY THE FACT THAT A MAN OF A CERTAIN AGE, YOU KNOW, GETS TO HAVE THAT FEELING OF BEING ASKED TO THE PROM. YOU KNOW, IT'S HEAVY. IT KILLS ME EVERY NIGHT. EIGHT TIMES A WEEK I -- I'M NOT TRYING TO MAKE ANYTHING HAPPEN. IT'S JUST HAPPENING TO ME RIGHT THIS SECOND. IT'S VERY MOVING.

>> CAN WE THROW A PROM FOR ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO NEVER HAD ONE?

>> THAT'S WHAT WE ARE DOING NOW.

>> YEAH, EVERY NIGHT. EIGHT TIMES A WEEK. WE HAVE A FEW AUDIENCE QUESTIONS. INCLUDING ONE THAT COMES FROM TWITTER. THAT IS KA SANDRA FAITH. IF YOU WEREN'T DOING BROADWAY, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?

>> I WOULD BE A FLORIST.

>> MY MOM WAS A FLORIST.

>> MY MOM WAS A FLORIST.

>> THAT'S INSANE. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

>> SORRY, KASSANDRA.

>> WHAT ABOUT YOU?

>> SLEEP. NO, I'M TRYING TO THINK. I CAN'T DO ANYTHING ELSE.

>> ME EITHER. IF I COULD I WOULD OPEN AN ANIMAL SANCTUARY WITH ALL MY FRIENDS WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED. DONATIONS CAN BE MADE TO -- NO.

>> YOU CAN DO THE FLOWERS.

>> A CHEF, SO I CAN DO THE FOOD.

>> BYE, THANKS.

>> LET'S DO IT TONIGHT.

>> YOU'RE GOING DO THE ANIMAL -- JUST DON'T COOK ANY OF HER ANIMALS.

>> NO, NO. WHAT DO YOU MEAN SPRINGER SPANIEL?

>> I'M SORRY I WENT THERE. LET'S TAKE A COUPLE MORE AUDIENCE QUESTIONS.

>> OOH, THE LIGHTS.

>> DO YOU DO ANYTHING SPECIAL TO FULLY IMMERSE YOURSELF INTO THE ROLE YOU'RE PLAYING?

>> WELL, WITH THIS SHOW IT'S A LITTLE DIFFERENT BECAUSE IT'S SO CLOSE TO HOME. SO PREPARING FOR IT HAS BEEN OUR WHOLE LIVES REALLY. AND BECAUSE THE MATERIAL IS SO WELL PUT TOGETHER, IT TAKES LESS TO DO IT, AND IT'S A WEIRD FEELING IN A WAY, BECAUSE ESPECIALLY THE PARTS THAT BETH AND I HAVE PLAYED AND PLAYED OUR ENTIRE CAREERS. IT'S A LOT OF WORK. AND THIS IS LESS WORK BECAUSE IT'S SO WELL WRITTEN. BUT MOSTLY IT'S JUST ABOUT LISTENING TO NOT ONLY THE PEOPLE ON STAGE, BUT ABOUT LISTENING TO THE WORLD AROUND YOU. GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE PHONE AND THE COMPUTER AND EXPERIENCE LIFE. THEN YOU'RE PREPARED TO DO ANYTHING ON STAGE.

>> IT ALSO HELPS I HAVE THIS IG WITH. ONCE I PUT THE WIG ON AND I'M IN A FULL SEQUINNED DOWN -- I GET INTO THAT FIVE MINUTES BEFORE PLACES. IT'S LIKE, CLICK. HERE SHE IS. HERE COMES DIDI. WATCH OUT, PLEASE. AND I FEE LIKE I'M READY.

>> YOU SAID FOR YOU, YOU'RE VERY SIMILAR TO EMMA.

>> YEAH.

>> DID YOU HAVE TO DO ANY KIND OF TRANSFORMATION PROCESS?

>> FOR ME IT'S REALLY BEEN ABOUT LISTENING TO OTHER PEOPLE, AND I FOUND A LOT OF EMMA THROUGH LISTENING TO OTHER PEOPLE'S STORIES WHO HAVE GONE THROUGH THIS. IT'S JUST LISTENING.

>> IT'S GREAT.

>> THANK YOU.

>> WE HAVE A QUESTION OVER HERE.

>> HEY, I WAS JUST CURIOUS TO SEE DO YOU RECALL, LIKE, EACH OF YOUR OWN FIRST BROADWAY MUSICALS? LIKE ATTENDING A BROADWAY MUSICAL? AND ARE THERE ASPECTS OF THOSE MUSICALS YOU TAKE WITH YOU IN YOUR OWN PERFORMANCES?

>> THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION. I CAN'T REMEMBER THE FIRST ONE I SAW. BECAUSE I WAS VERY YOUNG. MY FATHER WAS GREAT ABOUT TAKING ME TO A THEATER. THE ONE THAT WENT -- PHT! WAS CHORUS LINE.

>> ME TOO!

>> MY MOTHER WAS A FLORIST. I ALREADY HAD AN INKLING I WANTED TO PERFORM. THAT'S ABOUT PERFORMANCE AND WHAT IT TAKES AND WHAT IT CAN DO AND BLAH BLAH BLAH. DO I TAKE IT WITH ME? YES. I DO MOVES IN THE SHOW -- BECAUSE I MAKE THEM UP SO -- SORRY -- THAT ARE FROM MICHAEL BENNETT'S CHOREOGRAPHY.

>> I WANT TO SEE ONE RIGHT NOW.

>> ABSOLUTELY NOT.

>> I HAD TO ASK.

>> IF I GET UP, MY BACK WILL GO OUT.

>> I SAW "GREASE" AND I WAS IN THE BACK ROW. I COULD BARELY SEE THE ACTORS. I TOOK AWAY FROM THAT, I WANTED TO DO THAT AND WHAT A PRIVILEGE IT WOULD WITH TO BE IN THE SANCTUARY OF THE THEATER. I KEPT STRIVING TO BE THE PERSON I SAW ON STAGE. THAT'S WITH ME. A GRATITUDE, FOR ONE THING.

>> THE FIRST SHOW I SAW WAS SPRING AWAKENING, AND THAT'S BECAUSE I WAS AUDITIONING FOR IT. I ENDED UP BOOKING THAT SHOW, SO FOR ME, I TAKE THAT WITH ME EVERY DAY, AND THAT EXPERIENCE CAME WITH ME. IT'S WRAPPED UP IN ME AND IS EVERYWHERE I GO.

>> I ALMOST STARTED CRYING BACKSTAGE BECAUSE BETH WAS IN THE FIRST SHOW I EVER SAW 26 YEARS AGO THAT FIRST CHANGED MY LIFE AND OBVIOUSLY I'M TAKING THAT EVERYWHERE. I'VE SEEN ALL THREE SHOWS YOU HAVE DONE ON BROADWAY.

>> THAT'S CRAZY.

>> I'VE SEEN EACH OF YOU DO AT LEAST FIVE. SO, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE CHANGING LIVES. YOU CHANGED MIND.

>> THANK YOU.

>> TIME FOR ONE MORE QUESTION.

>> HI. SO WITH THIS SHOW -- YOU TALKED ABOUT THIS A LITTLE BIT. DO YOU FEEL FOR DEEPLY CONNECTED TO THE AUDIENCE AND FANS BECAUSE OF THE SUBJECT MATTER AND HOW IT RESONATES WITH PEOPLE?

>> YEAH. YES.

>> I THINK BECAUSE IT'S SO CAUSE AND EFFECT WHAT WE DO -- EVEN DIDI. DIDI WASN'T HAVE THIS STORY LINE, BUT I FEEL HOW THE WHOLE SHOW IN ALL OF ITS ASPECTS RESONATES SO DEEPLY AND ON SO MANY LEVELS WITH THE AUDIENCE MEMBERS. THAT'S KIND OF RARE.

>> YES. ESPECIALLY IN THE WAYS IN WHICH THIS SHOW -- BECAUSE WE CAN FOCUS VERY EASILY ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PIECE BECAUSE OF EMMA'S STORY, BECAUSE SHE'S NOT ALLOWED TO GO TO THE PROM AND HOME PHOBIA, WHICH IS SADLY EASY TO TALK ABOUT. WE ARE FLUENT IN IT BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY THAT HAS TROUBLE WITH THAT. SADLY. BUT WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS SHOW IN PARTICULAR, AND MANY SHOWS, IS THE POWER OF TLAFRT AND THE JOY THAT BETH WAS TALKING ABOUT EARLIER IS NUTS. AND THE JOY OVERWEIGHS THE YUCKINESS. EVEN IN THERE SELFISH NARCISSISTIC WAYS ALL THEY WANT TO DO IS GOOD. ALL SHE WANTS TO DO IS GO TO THE PROM. EVERYONE IS JUST WANTING TO DO RIGHT. THAT'S LOVELY. EVEN THE MOTHER WHO IS PORTRAYED BY COURTNEY COLLINS WHO IS HAVING SOME TROUBLE WITH THE FACTS OF HOMO PHOBIA, SHE'S JUST TRYING TO HELP HER KID OUT. EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE SHOW IS CHANGED FOR THE BETTER, TO QUOTE --

>> CAN WE JUST SAY, THE NUMBER OF THE BROADWAY REFERENCES THE INSIDE JOKES FOR THOSE OF US WHO KNOW THE SHOWS INSIDE AND OUT -- THERE ARE SO MANY LAYERS TO THIS SHOW. IF THE TWO COLORS OF FABRIC BLENDED TOGETHER, THIS IS LIGHT THE THREAD.

>> I THINK THAT'S WHY IT'S SUCH A CELEBRATION EVERY NIGHT FOR FOUR TO FIVE MINUTES. AS A CONNECTION AND A CELEBRATION OF ALL THAT IS MUSICAL COMEDY AND ALL THAT ART CAN DO.

>> IT'S REALLY TWO AND A HALF HOURS OF CELEBRATION. THERE'S A FIVE MINUTE DANCE PARTY. MAYBE CHECK WITH THE PERSON BEHIND YOU. THERE IS THE FIVE MINUTE DANCE PARTY THAT FEELS LIKE WE ARE ALL THERE AT THE PROM. BUT THE WHOLE THING, THIS WHOLE SHOW, IT'S NOT JUST A CELEBRATION OF, YOU KNOW, GROWING. GROWING UP AND FIGURING OUT WHO YOU ARE. IT'S A CELEBRATION OF WHAT THE THEATER CAN DO IN TERMS OF TAKING PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR REAL LIFE FOR A FEW HOURS BUT REMINDING US WHAT WE CAN DO FOR PROBLEMS AT THE SAME TIME. I CAN'T RECOMMEND THIS MORE. I'VE SEEN IT THREE TIMES AND AM DEFINITELY GOING SEE IT AGAIN. IT'S BEEN SUCH AN HONOR TO HAVE THE THREE OF YOU ON THE STAGE WITH US TODAY.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING US.

>> THANKS, GUYS.

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