Stephanie Rothenberg is currently in the ensemble on Broadway in “Sunset Boulevard” with Glenn Close.
Prior to appearing in “Sunset Boulevard,” Rothenberg was a part of the original Broadway ensemble of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” starring Daniel Radcliffe and understudied the role of Rosemary, performing it many times opposite Radcliffe. She then assumed the role full time when Nick Jonas replaced Daniel.
Between Broadway appearances Stephanie starred as Maria in “The Sound of Music” at the Stratford Festival, she appeared in Aziz Ansari’s popular Netflix show “Master of None” and acted in an award winning short film that might be on its way to an Oscar nod in 2018.
I spoke with Stephanie between performances in New York, our conversation, which covers the highs and lows of life onstage, will inspire anyone who has had a bad audition, or a bunch of call-backs (but didn’t get the job) to work smarter and harder.
Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the co-writers of the hit Broadway show “Come From Away,” are my guests on this podcast.
Irene and David, went from producing a playful musical at the Toronto Fringe Festival to creating “Come From Away.”
Their Fringe show, “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding,” attracted the attention of producer David Mirvish who brought it from the Fringe to a larger theatre.
Mirvish also discovered “The Drowsy Chaperone” at the Toronto Fringe, so the pressure for “Wiccan Wedding” to succeed was high. Things went well with that production and soon they were working on “Come From Away.”
“Come From Away” is a musical set in the town of Gander, Newfoundland, in the week following the September 11 attacks, when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small town.
The people of Gander opened their homes and their hearts to the thousands of travelers, from all over the world, who were stranded.
In the podcast Irene and David explain how their creative process began with a trip to Gander, Newfoundland to interview the town’s people and collect true stories that became the foundation for the musical.
They explain the development process, that included meaningful workshops with theatre students at The Canadian Music Theatre Project, at Sheridan College, and Goodspeed Musicals a non-profit organization dedicated to musical theater based in Connecticut.
The students at both locations worked on the script and Irene & David discuss how significant this process was to shaping the show.
In the podcast we talk about the sweet spot between David’s love of folk music and Irene’s love of Broadway musicals.
This intersection is reflected in NPR’s “First Listen” review of the “Come From Away Original Broadway Cast Recording:”
“While the rock influences (or at least the Broadway-rock influences) of “Come From Away” make it feel firmly like a modern piece, there is an echo in the story of classic American musical theater – specifically, “Brigadoon.”
Click for the “Come From Away,” Original Broadway Cast Recording
On opening night Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau attended the show and met with Irene and David.
Click the arrow near the top of this page, or this iTunes link, to listen to this podcast about “Come From Away.”
Stephanie Rothenberg plays Maria in the Stratford Festival production of “The Sound of Music.”
She first got the musical theatre bug at age 7 when she performed in a YMCA summer camp production of “The Wiz.” The following year Stephanie appeared in a community theatre production of “Grease” playing the role of Marty. A chance encounter with someone in the recording industry who saw her performance opened the door for Stephanie to start singing professionally.
While Stephanie was studying at New York University’s Tisch school of Arts’ Cap 21 program she auditioned for the ensemble of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” on Broadway starring Daniel Radcliffe.
She discusses the lucky break that opened another door – this time moving from the ensemble to the leading role of Rosemary who falls in love with Finch, played by Daniel Radcliffe.
Stephanie covered the role of Rosemary as required, and was later offered the role, playing opposite Nick Jonas.
Today Stephanie’s receiving rave reviews as Maria in the Stratford Festival’s production of “The Sound of Music.” We talk about how she got the role and the challenges of the production.
We take a few questions from friends on social media. Thanks to everyone who submitted a question, unfortunately we didn’t get to all of them.