Performances by Understudies and Swings

  1. I’m curious about this too! I saw Ashley Loren when she was an understudy for Satine in MR and felt like her performance once she took the role over was far different (and, imo, much stronger). I feel like any time I’ve seen an understudy perform in the same role I’ve seen the lead in, the interpretation/performance is very similar.

  2. I’ve seen a lot of understudies and love to see their changes. But I’ve noticed IN MY OPINION (just making that clear so I dont get downvoted for an opinion..) that the understudy performance is often better or stronger than the principal. I’m not sure why though. Maybe it’s because the understudy isn’t bored with the material? Still new and fresh from rehearsal? A change of routine maybe? But I truly love seeing understudies and watching them shine on stage

  3. I think it depends on the show, the character, and how the understudy interprets the material. For example, I saw the 3 Ti Moune understudies and all were pretty much carbon copies of Hailey Kilgore. Loren Lott was the exception where she played Ti Moune a lot more emotional than the others.

  4. I saw Jewelle Blackman last week and I’d say she was in between Afra and Amber in her portrayal

  5. Interesting re:Once on this Island. I saw Hailey, Loren Lott and Anna Uzele. Hailey played the innocent TiMoune very well, but the romantic scenes weren't as strong, like a early teen still discovering themself.. Loren did a very playful TiMoune, both in the village and at the hotel... mid to late teen, who was on her way to womanhood. Anna played it the most maturely, late teen frustrated with her life in the village but blossoming in the city/ hotel. Liked Loren's performance the most, followed by Anna...Hailey didn't do it for me. Did you see the understudies /replacements for Lea Salonga? Lea sang Erzulie's songs beautifully but left me cold. Cassandra James was exceptional and played Erzulie exceptionally well.

  6. That makes me wish I'd seen Afra in the role. It's a character every performer can put their own stamp on. I'd be interested in seeing every version!

  7. I’ve seen Phantom on Broadway 6 times, and I love to go when understudies and swings are on just to see a different take on the characters. I love to see different portrayals. Back in January, I saw a total of 10 understudies, swings, and emergency covers combined. Having seen Jeremy Stolle as the Phantom twice, I’m baffled that he hasn’t been offered the principal role. He is amazing, and has become one of my favorite Phantoms

  8. I’ve seen a few shows with understudies/standbys and they definitely get to make the character their own. For example, I saw the Moulin Rouge tour when the alternate Satine was on and then later when the principal was back and it was interesting seeing what emotions they chose to lean into. Yvette Gonzalez Nacer was the alternate and she played a dark, more rough around the edges Satine. Courtney Reed is the principal and she played a more mournful, dejected Satine.

  9. I work at a theater and we hosted one of the Hamilton tours for a good number of months. Understudies didn’t really start doing their own thing until a couple of months into the show. Then there would be random days where the understudies would go absolutely off and flex on the audience.

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