Jayne Houdyshell and Emma Crow’s interview energies were enough to put anyone on a cloud with their conversations spotlighting their involvement in The Music Man, nominated for six Tony Awards.
After the long delay of the musical production via the pandemic, the production pulls no punches and is a clear musical knockout. The Meredith Willson classic brought the audience to their feet time and time again. With a cast headlined by a major Movie star, Hugh Jackman, and a major Broadway star, Sutton Foster, the third revival of The Music Man is a smashing hit! It’s important to note that these two stars do not carry this show alone as they are just a part of what makes this spectacular performance shine, with the brilliant collective efforts of the cast and crew being what makes the radiance of this production stand out.
The complete ensemble does a tremendous job of making this timely musical feel like a modern work of art. The synergy of the lighting and sound design highlighted the presence of the cast as it electrified the audience. Throughout the show, prolonged roaring audience applause fuels the confidence and drive of the performers, including Jayne Houdyshell and Emma Crow.
Jayne, the seasoned actress recently nominated for a Tony Award for her brilliant performance as Mrs. Shinn, spoke fondly of her return to the stage after a long delay due to the pandemic. “Every night, the audience blows the roof off with their enthusiasm and joy for The Music Man. So, being inside that as a performer cannot help but feed us and nurture us and make us want to keep coming back and doing the best that we can for people eight times a week,” Jayne says.
Jayne also spoke confidently about her humble beginning as a theater actress. The inspiration, determination, and struggles of becoming an actress. She spoke kindly about that process. A process quite different from Emma’s. “By the time I was 12, or so I started doing plays in community theater, and when I was 14 I joined a community theater company that was specifically for teenagers, and we made our own productions, directed ourselves, designed the sets and clothes and did all the acting”, she says. Jayne spoke freely about not winning every race. Still, the door opener to this is staying in the race. Eventually, you will win that race. Jayne states, “when I was starting out, I started wanting to be an actor in the theater, and there were a lot of opportunities for actors to just focus on that particular work. If you wanted to work in television or film, you had to go to Los Angeles. So, it was kind of this division between actors.” It is a stark difference to how the industry operates today. With the variation of the industry, Jayne believes “it’s a complex industry to negotiate for young ones” but also acknowledges that it’s essential to work in all mediums.
Emma recalls, “sometimes, especially in the beginning of this whole process, I felt insecure because everybody seemed to be so well-versed, and a lot of people truly are, like Jayne, for example, incredible. So, I felt nervous being around such incredible people that know what they’re doing, but ask around and you’ll learn so much. So, now I’m much more confident in who I am, especially in being more of a newcomer in this industry.” Rising star Emma Crow, whose natural acting abilities and dancing will leave you mesmerized as she performs the role of Zaneeta Shinn, spoke about her being selected as a theater actress via social media. The generational differences between Emma and Jayne show the change in landscape when it comes to being discovered and cast in today’s major productions. “An agent reached out to me at Telsey so I think through my Instagram is how they truly found me for this job, so without that I would not be here,” Emma says. The cast and crew of The Music Man have been vital in Emma’s development as an actress. “For this being my Broadway debut I feel like I couldn’t have a more perfect group of people to support me,” she says.
The Music Man is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The cast is superb. They provide a collective experience of fun and excitement for the audience. After a long drought of theater, The Music Man is the perfect musical to welcome the long-awaited Broadway audience.
Jayne Houdyshell and Emma Crow perform alongside Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster in The Music Man at The Winter Garden. The Music Man is nominated for six Tony Awards. The Tony Awards will air on Sunday, June 12, CBS at 8 PM EST.