NEW YORK — There’s some Texas-sized talent from the Lone Star State on Broadway. This year sees the return of Kevin Ligon, a Dallas native and Southern Methodist University alumnus in Hello, Dolly!, up for a Tony for best revival of a musical.
J.J. Pearce High School alumna Elizabeth Judd continues in last year’s Tony juggernaut Hamilton with Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts alumna Alysha Deslorieux, who now has the dual lead roles of Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds.
Booker T. alumnus Brian Gonzales continues as Babkak in Aladdin alongside Arlington Heights High School alumnus Major Attaway, who has been promoted from standby to full-time Genie. And we’ve also found new Texas faces on Broadway:
Kristolyn Lloyd in Dear Evan Hansen: Lloyd, a native of Spring, makes her Broadway debut as Alana Beck, one of Evan Hansen’s classmates in this intimate, eight-person Tony nominee for best musical. When asked how hard it was, she responded: “It was pretty easy. Almost a little too easy. I hadn’t heard really anything about it and I auditioned while I was doing another show so the stakes were nice and low! … After two or three pretty painless auditions, I was told I had booked it!” While the getting may have been easy, she doesn’t take it for granted, she says. “It’s really fun getting to do what I love at the highest level. … It feels great to be received so well but also a little scary at times.”
Travis Waldschmidt and Kevin Bernard in Groundhog Day: Waldschmidt plays the small but important role of Jeff, while Kevin Bernard plays the Hot Dog Vendor in this Tony nominee for best musical. This is Waldschmidt’s third Broadway musical (he performed in Matilda and Wicked), but his first time creating a role in a new musical. Waldschmidt, a varsity tennis player at Coppell High School who graduated from Marcus High School, then became a dance major at SMU, says the biggest thrill was bringing his parents to the show, particularly his mother, vocal coach Peggy Waldschmidt, who taught him to sing. “I’m living her dream,” he says. Bernard, a Houston native and University of Houston alumnus, was excited to have his wife and kids attend opening night. Bernard’s wife, Heather McFadden, is no stranger to the Broadway stage: she’s the longest running Meg (now retired) in The Phantom of the Opera history. But this is the first year their kids, Billie and Henderson, were old enough to attend one of his shows. “They both gave it a thumbs up,” he says.