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Archive for March 12th, 2012

I chatted recently with Broadway, film and TV star Susan Egan about her upcoming show at the Palladium, her family life in Southern California and her big break in the business – landing the lead in Beauty and the Beast in 1993 soon after her arrival in New York. Egan is vivacious and lots of fun. I loved spending 30 minutes on the phone with her and I know you’ll love spending a few hours with her when she’s in town later this month.

Egan, who was nominated for a Tony for her work in Beauty and the Beast and was the longest-running Sally Bowles in the revival of Cabaret, will appear in concert at the Palladium on Thursday, March 22. It’s the second in our Broadway Cabaret Series.

Here are some excerpts from our conversation:                                                   

Tell me about the show people will see here in St. Petersburg?

Susan Egan

What I love about doing live concerts is mixing up the music. I do lots of familiar Broadway and film music that the audience can hum along and sing the words. I like to juxtapose it with what is going on right now on Broadway.

When I first started people said Broadway was dying but that didn’t happen. Beauty and the Beast, and Rent, helped reignite interest in Broadway. You had lines of teenagers wanting to see Broadway shows. It was fun to be part of that.

And a lot of these great new songwriters have stayed in New York. There is a whole new generation of Rodgers and Hart and Kander and Ebb combos, new Cole Porters. They’re my friends.

I think Broadway has now reached its new golden era.

So I’ll do a great Judy Garland medley back to back with “Defying Gravity” from Wicked.

I see your blog is called Glamour and Goop. It looks like your life is a mix of show business and motherhood. Tell me about how you combine those two very different things?

I started doing concerts with Georgia (Songwriter Georgia Stitt) when we were pregnant called “Susan and Georgia All Knocked Up.”  And something happened – the audience really dug it. They were going through the same thing we were going through.

We started doing some cruise ships – big sparkly gowns on stage, then back with the kids. Our blog is from the point of view of the perceived glamour of what we do for a living and the kids throwing up on our sparkly dresses.

It’s doesn’t matter if you’re a Broadway star or a second-grade teacher – your kids don’t care.

I’ve been watching the TV series Smash, that revolves around Broadway and a young performer breaking into the business. What was it like for you at that stage of your career?

I was lucky. I got a big break really quickly. I was cast in a national tour with Tommy Tune. I was from Southern California and he told me “New York’s going to know exactly what to do with you.” So I went to New York and in 1993 I was cast in Beauty and the Beast.

It was a job I almost didn’t go in on. But I knew it was a great book and a great score. I also didn’t think I could play the prettiest girl in the village.

The show opened and New York hated us. We were an animated film turned into a Broadway show. And we were Disney. The reviews barely even touched on whether we could sing, dance or act.

But we were critic proof. And 17 years later the show closed! And that show was the start of the turn-around of Times Square. Disney bought a theater and that started it all.

For information and tickets to Susan’s show, visit www.mypalladium.org or call 727 822-3590.

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