The biggest Broadway stars of tomorrow? Check ’em out today. And then act all smug about it when tomorrow actually gets here.
Jeanna de Waal
To see the Broadway stars of tomorrow, you need look no further than the cast of American Idiot. The seats at the St. James were barely cold and half of them had already gone on to high-profile gigs. One of our favorite talents to emerge is pretty Jeanna de Wall, who in addition to having a phonetically complex name, can sing like a crazyperson. In fact, her bangup harmonies with Billie Joe Armstrong were basically the musical highlight of the show. Plus, she brought big charisma to a small role and made us wonder what she could do with more stage time. (Our immediate suggestion: Song and Dance hasn’t been done in a while.) We hope to see lots more of her—if her native England doesn’t instantly snatch her back.
Jay Armstrong Johnson
We’re all just waiting for Aaron Tveit to call out sick, aren’t we. Don’t get us wrong. We love Aaron, but we’re itching to see his understudy go on as Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can. With roles in Hair, an early reading of Newsies, and the lead in Barrington Stage Company’s Pool Boy, Jay has been on the fringes of marquee leading man status for a little while now. Our only hope? That there’s a role out there that’s cool enough for his big-singing talent.
We’re going to go out on a limb here: Justin Levine, known mostly as the musical director of the criminally short-lived Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, will be the most important new theater composer of our times. Yeah, we said it. He’s already created a spate of musicals and musical-like projects. The glimpses we’ve caught of them so far—mostly after Ben Walker’s Find the Funny gigs, where Justin and his friends occasionally serve as the house band—are jaw-droppingly good. It won’t be long before we see his work produced in New York. And hey, if he wants to star, we’re sure there’s probably room in there somewhere for his angelic singing voice.
Carly Rose Sonenclar
Amidst all the aggressive suckage at Wonderland, there was a bright light. Young Carly Rose Sonenclar, who is 12, has a very big voice, and a very big stage presence for one so small. Holding her own with Broadway vets, and with unmerciful material, we couldn’t help but wonder if we were looking at a major star in the making. One thing’s for sure: She’s got the pipes. Her web site says she’s been singing since the age of two—not entirely show how that works—but we’re guessing she’s in this for the long haul. Fall 2016 revival of Spring Awakening? Anyone?