Interview with Broadway.com's Paul Wontorek
As we dance one Broadway season in and kiss one goodbye, we thought we would take a moment to celebrate the momentous 2015-2016 season and look back at some of its highlights with our affiliate Broadway.com Editor-in-Chief Paul Wontorek, who has overseen the editorial department of the website for over 16 years.
Thomas Hayden Millward: What have been some of your personal highlights over the past 2015-2016 Broadway season?
Paul Wontorek: Well, I’ve been doing this for a long time, so my personal highlights are sometimes very unique. Obviously watching the whole ‘Hamilton’ phenomenon unfold has been really interesting. It’s blown up in a way that has gone far beyond our little world, so it has been exciting to see Broadway on a much larger landscape.
THM: Such as seeing Broadway represented on the Grammys telecast, for example?
PW: Exactly! And the Pulitzer Prize too. It just keeps steamrolling and happening for ‘Hamilton.’ It’s really fascinating. But I love all kinds of shows. I loved ‘American Psycho’… I really enjoyed that show. I loved ‘Bright Star.’ I like a lot of different kinds of theatre. Certain things just get to me.
THM: My colleagues from the London Theatre Guide (LondonTheatre.co.uk) would like your thoughts on any British standouts of the season?
PW: British standouts? I feel like the Brits come over every year and win all of our acting awards. ‘A View from the Bridge’ was phenomenal this year. The whole staging was incredible. The Brits basically run Broadway. That’s how it feels sometimes.
THM: One of my favourite Brits has to be Cynthia Erivo. I’ve followed her career over in the UK for a while now.
PW: Oh, you have? Did you see her in ‘Sister Act’?
THM: I sure did. And all the rest of her West End and off-West End shows…
PW: You see, I didn’t know her. But I’m really excited for her and I’m curious to see if she’ll end up doing more out here. I don’t know what will happen after ‘The Color Purple’… But she’s phenomenal and I hope I do get to see her do more Broadway.
THM: Do you get to go to London much?
PW: I’m going to London in August because my friend Andy Karl is the lead in ‘Groundhog Day.’ He’s over there rehearsing now and I’m probably gonna go to the opening.
THM: Are you excited at all about ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’?
PW: I am… I’m not a Harry Potter fan necessarily, so let’s say I’m more intrigued. If I can get tickets, I’ll definitely see it.
THM: It’s definitely refreshing to see the world’s gaze on both Broadway and the West End with ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.’ Sadly, that doesn’t happen often enough…
PW: …And I’m sure the same hysteria will happen when ‘Harry Potter’ transfers here to New York, because Americans are crazy for Harry Potter.
THM: Finally, in terms of the next Broadway season, is there anything you’re already looking forward to?
PW: Wow! Well, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ is transferring to Broadway. I am looking forward to ‘Groundhog Day.’ I’m also really looking forward to ‘Falsettos’ because that is one of my favourite shows. I will literally just curl up in a ball and sob. I’ll probably go and see it many times and sob many times. It’s one of my all-time favourites, so I’m super excited for that. I saw ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ in London, but I’m curious to see how they re-boot it here. Apparently, it’s going to be quite different, so I’m curious to see how that turns out. They have a totally different director. I heard some rumours. There might be more adults playing the children’s roles. That’s just a rumour. I’m not sure if that’s true. I think there might be some more puppeteer work. We’ll just have to wait and see.
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