Stories & Cast Interviews

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ready for Rob Richardson??

Posted by: wbtpress on Monday, October 25, 2010 at 2:19:00 pm Comments (0)
Rob is joining us as the title roles in Jekyll and Hyde! At this time, he is scheduled to perform the role every Wednesday matinee, Sunday matinee and Sunday evening. This will mark Rob’s 5th time performing in this show--
I’m originally from Danville, Virginia, and spent essentially my entire life through college in and around that area. Upon finishing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, I did everything from children’s theatre to theme park work to summer stock for the next few years, until finally moving to New York City. I didn’t have much of a backup plan mostly because I was afraid I’d end up using it. So, I waited my share of tables, temped, and even got my Personal Training Certification through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). I’ve been lucky; the work was there when I needed it (usually), I met and married a fantastic woman and now we have two beautiful daughters and live in New Jersey.. My very first agent gave me the best advice anyone has ever offered, and it was (paraphrased), “Don’t wait to have a life. You can chase this dream for years, and it may never come. So if you want a family, have a family. They make all your successes greater, and all your failures less painful.”  So far, so good.

On Broadway:  A Tale of Two Cities (Ensemble, Sydney Carton u/s).  National Tours:  Showboat (Ravenal) and 1776 (Rutledge).  Favorite Regional:  The Full Monty (Reg/Jerry u/s, Paper Mill Playhouse), Disney's Beauty and the Beast (The Beast, Walnut Street Theatre) A Funny Thing Happened... (Miles Gloriosus, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival), Oklahoma!  (Curly, Cherry County Playhouse), Kiss Me, Kate (Fred/Petruchio, Flat Rock Playhouse) and 110 in the Shade (Starbuck, the Mac-Haydn Theatre).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Benjamin is a dream (& a nightmare!)

Posted by: wbtpress on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 12:29:00 pm Comments (0)

Benjamin McHugh has been evoking cheers and jeers during performances of Jekyll & Hyde. As the alternate for Jekyll & Hyde...the Aussie star has had to jump in on a moment's notice... read on! 

I'm originally from Adelaide, South Australia.  When I was 14, my family moved from Australia to Auckland, New Zealand where I finished my high school years.  While I was there, the school had a very strong music department and every year they would have a mid-year musical.  During my final year, they held auditions for Grease.  I had no intention of performing, but was really interested in lighting - so I went along and asked if I could be the lighting operator.  The director said "sure - but why don't you audition anyway and see how you go?".  So I did and I ended up landing the part of Danny Zuko that John Travolta made famous!  With absolutely no acting, singing or dancing experience I went on.  It was hilariously bad but I had the best time and the seed was definitely planted for my love for this industry.

Acting?  I think to begin with it was just lots of fun.  I did community theatre for 5 years in Adelaide after I returned from NZ, and It was the "community" aspect I loved - making lots of friends and going to the pub after rehearsal.  I think actors that have influenced me the most are Hugo Weaving, Anthony Warlow, Tom Hanks & Al Pacino . 
My friend Noelle Berry wrote to me telling me about the auditions coming up.  She was part of the Westchester cast of J&H from 2001 and couldn't stop talking about how much she loved the show, loved working with Bob Cuccioli and thought I would be perfect in it.  I'd never done the show before, but I got really excited about the opportunity to work with Bob and sing the score.  When I found out I was the Jekyll & Hyde understudy, I was thrilled!

Going on for the first time last week was like nothing I had ever experienced.  The role is huge and very intimidating and I had only 2 hours rehearsal!  It was an incredible time.  We managed to get through it - JUST.  Luckily, we have an amazingly talented and supportive cast and crew that helped me through every step of that first show.  The best part of my first show was when at the end of "The Way Back"  during the transformation, I tried to pull the hair-tie out and instead my entire wig was off my head and on the floor in front of me!  Ahhhh... Live Theatre! Nailed it!  It has been amazing since.  I can't say enough about the incredible cast and crew I work with.
Jekyll & Hyde has always been one of those dream roles.  But I would also love to play Chris in Miss Saigon, Tony in West Side Story, and Enjolras in Les Miserables.  Next To Normal is a new favorite along with A Little Night Music & Merrily We Roll Along by Sondheim.  
I love working on my new home that my wife and I have just bought in Brooklyn.  It's a beautiful 100-year-old Brownstone and in really good condition, but there is still a lot of love and care needed and on my days off from J&H, it seems to dominate.  As I am typing this, I have three electricians working on lighting problems right now!  Apart from that, I love going to the movies, seeing friends and of course hanging with my beautiful wife. 
 Hmmm, whats on my iPod?   So so much.  I love all sorts of music, but the style I always seem to fall back on is chill-out or house music.  My brother is a London DJ and he sends me mix CD's all the time with his latest creations.  I have to credit him with a lot of my musical influences.  But my favorite band of all - Zero 7.  Awesome awesome awesome!  Check them out!  I'm sure if you've never heard of them, you more than likely would have heard some of their stuff.  Most fav song is called "Destiny"!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Posted by: wbtpress on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 3:00:00 pm Comments (0)

Jennifer Babiak is breathtaking as Emma Carew, Dr. Jekyll's fiancee. Read on to see what she's up to when she's not wowing the crowds!

I grew up in Medford, NY, a small town in Eastern Long Island, Suffolk County.  I am the youngest of 5 (two brothers, two sisters), so it was a lot of fun growing up with such a big family.  We also always had a ton of pets, so it was a full house :)
    I started singing first, My Grandma was a piano teacher and her father was a composer, so we have always had a very musical family.  Once I started singing lessons at 16, I auditioned for the school musical and that was it for me!  My mentor probably would be my first acting teacher Jack Allison, an incredible man, teacher, director and friend. 
    I was in college at NYU when the show was running on Broadway, I bought the cd and fell in love with the music, and thought the original cast was amazing! This is my first time doing the show, and I couldn't be happier. 
    West Side Story has always been my favorite show, with Gypsy and Sunday in the Park with George being a close second and third :)  My dream role I think would be Christine in Phantom, especially because it's my Dad's favorite show and he would be ecstatic! 
    During the time off I love to spend quality time with my dog, going out with friends, the movies, yoga, the gym, reading, heading out to Long Island to see my family, oh and sleep-I love sleep haha 
    My Ipod has an eclectic mix, I have Joshua Radin on there, Cat Stevens, Carrie Underwood, Ben Gibbard, Jeff Buckley, Elbow, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Rachel Yamagata, Eva Cassidy, Harry Connick Jr., Nina Simone, etc.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lovely Lucy

Posted by: wbtpress on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 3:45:00 pm Comments (0)



The gorgeous & tlented Michelle Dawson plays the tortured Lucy in Jekyll & on!



I grew up in a little town, Charlotte, Vermont.  It's just outside of Burlington. A red brick farmhouse.I was a lucky girl. I have a sister. I was born in Rutland. 

I was a "horse gal". I showed horses my whole childhood until college. My mother and I would travel all over the East coast. It was a huge part of my life until the music theatre bug hit me.

I studied voice at the age of 15 and Piano for 9 years. I got most of my experience before college at the community theatre, the "Lyric Theatre" in Burlington.

I met a man there who taught me so much about the theatre. He had gone to Carnegie –Mellon (Carnegie-Tech at the time)and after that,  there was no other college choice for me but that school!  I was determined to go there! Hard to pinpoint why acting/singing was my destiny...It just was, no choice!


I did Jekyll &Hyde with Bob Cuccioli 9 years ago here at the WBT, and also with Bob at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Here I am again. I love the show! I love Bob! I love WBT!


It’s always hard for me to pick a favorite show or dream role....I do have to say I just love characters that have a dark life, with that heart of gold and the struggles along the way. Or,  roles that just have a complicated life.... when it comes to a favorite show,  I do love J&H. I love the music and the romance!!! Lucy holds a special place in my heart.  Favorite shows tend to be the last show I did...maybe because so much research and time in the journey happens....which was Mamma Mia!  I was lucky enough to play two amazing roles, Tanya and Donna. Both are fantastic roles! Tanya and her fiery, fierce, sexy, fun, comedic self and Donna, the single, hardworking mom and her incredible journey throughout the show.

When not on stage I love to spend time with my 6-year-old son and my hubby. Family time, Eating, Jogging!

No iPod, sorry! I love all kinds of music, Truly!