What do I do when I'm not on a contract? So many activities. One that I've become better at is supporting my colleagues by attending their performances. With the pandemic currently in an okay place, I'm showing that support more frequently. And wow, did I hit the jackpot last Sunday by trekking to NYC on a hot, muggy day to see Julie Benko as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl at the August Wilson Theatre.
It's one thing to go as a show of support and solidarity. That's always a reason. But to go and see a colleague take a role and absolutely transform it into something extraordinary? That's another level, and that's what Julie is doing with this role.
There's been a ton of hubbub around this production. What's remarkable about Julie's performance is that none of that is seen or felt...at least not the performance I saw. Which lines up with the Julie Benko that I worked with in Once at the Hangar Theatre in July, 2021. No drama. Instead a grounded, smart, authentic approach to the material, mixed with kindness, humanity and good humor. I learned so much from Julie, and what a thrill to see her not just shine but transform a baggage-laden role on a Broadway stage.
If I were you, I'd get to the August Wilson sooner rather than later.