Broadway Teens Reclaim Their Voices For a Good Cause

On Sunday, October 15, veteran teen performers of Broadway, Film, and TV are coming together to perform songs from dream roles they usually don’t get professionally cast in – actual teen roles. They often have to sit back and watch as adults in their twenties and even thirties play the roles of teenagers on stage and screen. The concert is entitled #WeHaveAVoice: Broadway Teens. This is their opportunity to take on roles from shows such as Spring Awakening, Dear Evan Hansen, Bring It On, Grease, Next to Normal, Bye Bye Birdie and more. The proceeds will benefit Covenant House, an agency which helps homeless, runaway and at-risk kids. Click here for more info and tickets.

Sam Poon

Credits: Runaways, The King and I, Macbeth, Les Miserables, Billy Elliot, Fly the Musical

How did you get involved with #WeHaveAVoice
I had some Broadway friends who did the Sleep Out for Covenant House, but I wasn’t old enough. I wanted to do something and I know that I can share my talents along with my friends and put on a show to raise money. Sam Pinkleton was my director in Runaways, and he really inspires me to give back. I also look up to Kimberly Marable and Dionne Figgins who are the co-founders of Broadway Serves. There are so many great role models working on Broadway who give back and I just aspire to be like them.

What will you be singing and why did you choose that song?
It is a really pretty song. Another person I look up to very much is Alex Lacamoire and he is one of the arrangers of the song. I thought it would be a great opportunity to sing a duet with my girlfriend.

What was it like being on Broadway or touring with a show?
I have actually been on three different tours: Scrooge, Les Miserables and Billy Elliot, each one special in its own way. One Off-Broadway show: Runaways, and two Broadway shows: Macbeth and The King and I. Touring is a lot of fun because I got to see over 50 cities, make tons of friends who are now like family, and just have a great time performing for so many excited audiences. Being on Broadway is very different than tour. I went to school during the day and did shows at night and weekends, 8 shows a week. The most rewarding part of working so hard is the relationships I have made. I have been really lucky to work with some of the most talented and kind people in the world.

Do you have a favorite memory or funny behind-the-scenes story from a show?
When I was in The King and I on Broadway, I swung 11 tracks plus understudied 2 principal tracks. The first time I went into the show was actually in my little brother’s track because he got a stomach virus. Then, the first time I went on in a principal role as Prince Chula, I had not yet had a rehearsal at all. I found out a couple hours before and ran to the theater to run my song and have a costume put together for me. I can’t say it was my best performance ever, but I got through it with the love and support of my fellow cast members.

If you could be stuck in an elevator with any Broadway star, who would it be?
Phillipa Soo so I could thank her for giving half Asians like myself stage time.

Dream role:
Alex in A Clockwork Orange

When I’m not performing, you can usually find me…
Writing music, playing video games, and going to concerts.

What’s your favorite Broadway show?
Spring Awakening

What is the funniest joke that you heard recently?
I can never remember jokes that I am told.

If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
Green tea ice cream to celebrate my Asian heritage

Favorite Emoji?

Julianna Rigoglioso

Credits: Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, The Smurf Movie

How did you get involved with #WeHaveAVoice?
#WeHaveAVoice is an organization that I am very proud to be part of. I first learned about it through my friend Sam Poon, a fellow actor who has a desire to make a difference in the world. I believe in his cause and believe that we as teens have the ability to show our peers that helping others is the best we can make a difference in the world. It also makes me feel good about myself knowing I can bring a smile to someone’s face.

What will you be singing and why did you choose that song?
I chose “One Perfect Moment” from Bring It On as my song for this special evening. It is a song about a young teenage girl who sings about her journey to achieve just one perfect moment in time. All actors and performers work extremely hard to achieve their goals. The audition process of an actor requires you to have several of these “perfect moments.” One of the best feelings is coming out of an audition and nailing that script you read, or song you sang, and knowing that you just had that “One Perfect Moment.” This also applies to teenagers. Whether you are trying out for the band, a sports team, student council or reading your speech in front of your English class. We all strive to do our best.

What was it like touring with a Broadway show?
Playing Jane Banks in the Mary Poppins Broadway National Tour will always be my perfect moment in time. Never did I think that at ten years old I could bring joy to so many people all over the country in both my performances in the theatre and visiting local hospitals. My fellow Broadway actors were just the most wonderful family I could ever wish for. I learned so much about their incredible journey as actors and their personal stories.

Do you have a favorite memory or funny behind-the-scenes story from a show?
My favorite memory while performing is when I was in Mary Poppins – we (Jane and Michael Banks) were stuck in the chimney and couldn’t get out. We missed our appearance and had to close the curtain and shut down the show for a few minutes. No one was injured, so it made for a great laugh!

If you could be stuck in an elevator with any Broadway star, who would it be?
If I could be stuck in an elevator with a Broadway star it would probably be Kelli O’Hara. I had the pleasure of performing with her in Far From Heaven and singing a mother daughter duo with her was one of the best moments of my life. Perhaps we could have a sing off to pass the time. She truly is an amazing performer and person as well.

Dream role:
Jane Banks and I will forever cherish that memory.

When I’m not performing, you can usually find me…
Singing Broadway tunes on the soccer field at Wayne Valley High School.

What’s your favorite Broadway show?
My favorite broadway show will always be Newsies. What’s better than a bunch of talented young male actors singing and dancing? I love the song “Seize the Day,” it is the song I like to start my day with.

What is the funniest joke that you heard recently?
Mary Poppins enters a hotel from a long evening of traveling. She asks the gentleman at the front desk to send up some cauliflower with cheese and some eggs in the morning. When he sees her the next morning, the man asks if her stay was satisfactory and how was her cauliflower with eggs. He encourages Mary to write down her comments in the guest book, which she does. When she leaves, the desk clerk is very curious and reads her comment. It says, “SUPERCAULIFLOWERCHEESEBUTEGGSWEREQUITEATROCIOUS!”

If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
If I were an ice cream flavor I probably would be strawberry ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. When you meet me you’ll know why. Lol.

Favorite Emoji?
My favorite emoji is the Shaka hand emoji. It works with every sentence (LOL)!

William Poon

Credits: Beauty and the Beast, The King and I, Superwings, Creative Galaxy, Deadbeat

How did you get involved with #WeHaveAVoice
My brother (Sam) inspired me and I want to participate to help raise money for Covenant House.

What will you be singing?
I am singing a group number called “Cameron.”

What was it like being on Broadway or touring with a show?
I was on Broadway alongside my brother in The King and I. (Well, actually he was my swing.) I also did the International Tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. I had a really great time in both shows. The relationships I made are what sticks with me. My King and I friends still get together when we can.

Do you have a favorite memory or funny behind-the-scenes story from a show?
For Halloween during The King and I, I dressed up as Anna and a girl cast member dressed up as the king. My dress was a huge hoop skirt that the head of wardrobe let me borrow. On the international tour, I went to so many amazing cities. I will never forget Venice, Manilla, or Abu Dhabi, or so many other cities I got to visit and perform in.

If you could be stuck in an elevator with any Broadway star, who would it be?
James Monroe Iglehart. He was so nice to me when I saw Aladdin.

Dream role:
The Beast from Beauty and the Beast

When I’m not performing, you can usually find me…
Playing guitar, playing piano, and editing videos.

What’s your favorite Broadway show?
Something Rotten!

What is the funniest joke that you heard recently?
If you threw a cat out the window of a moving car, is that kitty litter? ( And no, I would never do that! I have four cats and love them so much.)

If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
Rocky Road because I am nutty!

Favorite Emoji?

Ellie Poon

Credits: A Christmas Story the Musical, Broadway at the White House, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

How did you get involved with #WeHaveAVoice
I want to help others in the world. My brother had the idea first with some of his friends; I was happy to sing a song.

What will you be singing and why did you choose that song?
I chose the song “Superboy and the Invisible Girl” from Next to Normal. I relate to the song because sometimes I feel overshadowed because I am the only girl in the family sandwiched between two brothers!

What was it like touring with a show?
It was incredibly fun and interesting being on the tour of A Christmas Story. It was so fun to entertain people and bring smiles to their faces. I got to see really cool cities, including a favorite of Memphis, Tennessee where I went to Graceland!

Do you have a favorite memory or funny behind-the-scenes story from a show?
When I was in Dallas, Texas, I had to wear 8 different mic pacs over the span of a week because my mic kept malfunctioning. I also remember all of my super duper quick changes on that show.

If you could be stuck in an elevator with any Broadway star, who would it be?
Ben Platt – I want to get to know him better.

Dream role:
Veronica Sawyer in Heathers

When I’m not performing, you can usually find me…
Baking cupcakes, ballroom dancing, drawing in my sketchbook, or playing volleyball!

What’s your favorite Broadway show?
Dear Evan Hansen

What is the funniest joke that you heard recently?
What kind of overalls does Mario wear?
denim denim denim

If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
I would be Superman ice cream because there are so many different flavors and tastes, just like me.

Favorite Emoji?

Mavis Simpson-Ernst

Credits: Evita, Les Miserables, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

How did you get involved with #WeHaveAVoice
I was in the National Tour of Les Mis with Sam Poon and have been in many benefit performances with him, so when he reached out about me being included in #WeHaveAVoice I was ecstatic! I think that it is truly important for people to give back and The Covenant House is such a wonderful cause. This is such a great opportunity to help other teenagers.

What will you be singing and why did you choose that song?
I will be singing “Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now” from Hairspray! I have always been a fan of the show and I think that this song super fun and is always a great time!

What was it like being on Broadway or touring with a show?
Being in Evita on Broadway and the National Tour of Les Mis was absolutely amazing. I created so many memories while being a part of those casts and I will cherish them forever.

Do you have a favorite memory or funny behind-the-scenes story from a show?
When I was in Evita I created a movie with my alternate. We were nine and eleven years old and all I’m saying is that it featured songs from both Wicked and Smash and should have nominated for an Oscar, or at least featured at a film festival… It was pure gold.

If you could be stuck in an elevator with any Broadway star, who would it be?
If I could be stuck in an elevator with a Broadway star, I would choose Denée Benton. I am such a fan of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and I would do anything to sing with her, even in a broken elevator.

Dream role:
My dream roles are Natasha or Sonya in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 or either of the Hilton sisters in Side Show.

When I’m not performing, you can usually find me…
Drawing, singing, or having my own private dance party.

What’s your favorite Broadway show?
The Humans, The Play That Goes Wrong, and Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

What is the funniest joke that you heard recently?
What’s the difference between a well-dressed man on a unicycle and a poorly dressed man on a bike? Attire.

If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
Chili Chocolate because it is sweet with a kick!

Favorite Emoji?
I am a David Bowie fan, so this emoji is for sure my favorite:

Sofia Rubino

Credits: Matilda, School of Rock

How did you get involved with #WeHaveAVoice
I was invited to participate by our friend Mindy Poon. I appeared in the national tour of Billy Elliot the Musical with her son Sam, and her children Ellie and Will are also performers. The Poon family is very socially conscious, and the children are wonderful performers. I am honored to share the stage with them and many other talented artists to support a good cause.

What will you be singing and why did you choose that song?
“Killer Instinct” from Bring It On the Musical. I chose this song because it tells a fun story, I’m the same age range as the character, I’m a varsity cheerleader, and anything by Lin Manuel Miranda is cool.

What was it like being on Broadway or touring with a show?
Touring was an amazing experience. We became one big family and I got to see cool cities in North and South America. Being on Broadway was incredible. Performing at famous theaters in New York City on the Great White Way is an experience I’ll never forget.

Do you have a favorite memory or funny behind-the-scenes story from a show?
I have lots of great memories and lots of fun times behind the scenes, but one of my best memories was making my debut as Summer Hathaway in School of Rock on my birthday. Best birthday ever!

If you could be stuck in an elevator with any Broadway star, who would it be?
Alex Brightman. Loved him already while working with him in Matilda and even more when we did School of Rock together. He’s hysterical, sweet, and supportive and he was always like a big brother to me and the kids.

Dream role:
Glinda and Elphaba. I absolutely love Wicked and playing the sweet witch or the wicked witch seems equally exciting.

When I’m not performing, you can usually find me…
At home with my family, hanging out with my friends, or with my cheer squad.

What’s your favorite Broadway show?
My favorite Broadway show is Bright Star.

What is the funniest joke that you heard recently?
I’m in high school now, so it’s probably inappropriate for this interview… lol

If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
Party Cake because I love parties and really, who doesn’t love cake?

Favorite Emoji?

Sofia Bryant

Credits: The Good Wife

How did you get involved with #WeHaveAVoice?
Our very dear family friends, the Poons, were putting together this benefit and I was asked to be part of it! It’s so cool to have such friends and such a privilege to have been asked to help!

I think that it is important for everyone to help each other, especially in today’s society where we tend to only look out for our own well being. #WeHaveAVoice will hopefully show that it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, you have a voice and it is important that you use it to help those who aren’t always heard. If what I can do to help right here and right now is speak up, then by all means, I will!

Also what has happened recently due to extremely dangerous hurricanes has left numerous locations of the Covenant House damaged, so I feel like it is a privilege to get to help those who are in need!

What will you be singing and why did you choose that song?
I will be co-hosting the event which is quite exciting! Also, my friends and I will be singing ”Rockstar” by Great Big World. This song is instantly inspiring. The second you listen to it, you feel like you can conquer your greatest obstacles and be whatever you want to be; whether it’s becoming an architect, a drummer, or playing Nala in The Lion King on Broadway.

What was it like being on Broadway?
I haven’t yet been part of a Broadway production, but being on the set of CBS’s The Good Wife was definitely a life-changing experience. Working alongside well-known actors such as Julianna Margulies and Blair Underwood showed me that I can really pursue my dream of acting if I continue to work hard and stay focused.

Do you have a favorite memory or funny behind-the-scenes story from a show?
A funny behind the scenes memory… how do I choose?! When working, you meet so many awesome people, many of whom you become close friends with afterwards. One of my favorite memories had to have been when the cast and crew of a shoot I was doing all got together to do the infamous internet challenge called the “Mannequin Challenge”. The challenge required everyone to make a very exaggerated or funny pose, and hold it for the duration of a four minute song. A friend that I made on set participated with me along with the rest of the cast and production team. I laugh very easily so I found this challenge to be very hard… especially because I was forced to stare at my friend in the face while he made a ridiculously hilarious frowning expression. We have footage of it. 😂

If you could be stuck in an elevator with any Broadway star, who would it be?
I would, without hesitation, choose to be stuck in an elevator with Lin-Manuel Miranda. Do I even have to explain why?

Dream role:
Sweeney Todd

When I’m not performing, you can usually find me…
Doing yoga, strumming my ukulele or binge watching Stranger Things for the 8th time in a row.

What’s your favorite Broadway show?
If I had to choose one, I would say The Lion King.

What is the funniest joke that you heard recently?
Person: “Hey Tony, can you spell your name backward for me?”
Tony: “Sure… y not”
…Get it? Y-not. HAHAHA!

If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
I would be red velvet cake ice cream because I feel like we just lack that flavor in the world. The few people who live for that flavor (including myself) would be very happy about it, I’m sure!

Favorite Emoji?

2017-10-04T10:00:31+00:00 October 3rd, 2017|Broadway, Cabaret, Interviews, Musicals, Wiz Kidz|0 Comments