Broadway.com #LiveatFive with Ben Thompson of WAITRESS
Hey, everybody, welcome to Broadway comms live. At 5:00 it is Tuesday April 24th. And I am Riley Gilbert and I am Beth Steven and we are joined here in the studio as always, by mr. Matt road everybody. How. Long can I like make that go on I was. Great that was enough and, we have a wonderful guest with us today laughs Ben, Thompson is here. Waitress. Which, it's waitresses, birthday which means, look. At that yeah where's we should go, yeah. Two years ago waitress, opened on Broadway and that's what we'll be talking to Ben about and more but, first Matt, why, don't you tell us about today's top, five. All. Right so obviously the big news today Outer. Critics Circle nominations. Came out this morning Beth that's right the Outer Critics. Circle. Award. Nominations, I don't know who they are they're in the add rule are let me out over sure. The outer critics here's. The big news okay. SpongeBob. SquarePants. Super. Fan right here that, heads a list with 11, nominations. And. Harry Potter right behind it with ten in my fair lady, with how, many nine nine it's a lot yeah now I just want to be quite apply for people, the band's visit not eligible this year because. It was off-broadway less like you're right Hansen just like you're out of hand it happens every year and. I, love Hamilton, to that Hamilton absolutely so Katrina Lankin Jen Colella announced, it so, Katrina Lake could be like I'm still here. Absolutely. Yes, all, these people got a lot and then, some. People did not seem there were some notable, snobs left. I was. A little surprised by like, where's Denzel Washington, Denzel, people. Doing a Iceman. Cometh five. Hours ago yeah give. The guy a break. Courtesy. But I also want to say um the. Outer critics sometimes in some categories mixes the Broadway with the Alpha off-broadway they do yeah which means. Everybody. And. Lots of good stuff this year that, stuff Harry Potter got a score nomination, no super, cool girl. Yes. Yes yeah well girls girls so you know did they get choreography, did Harry Potter get a. Great. Stuff yeah, good long let's go come, because I can't be a hospital count at all for you now we, also got casting this morning for King Kong. Very. Exciting, yes, so King, Kong is coming here soon, and we found out that Christiani, pits who's currently starring in a Bronx Tale on Broadway.
Will Be starring as and arrow you know the one the one the one that the gorilla becomes very attracted, to picks her up all of that and the Erick William Morris who, is Justin who was on Broadway in Coram boy and Mamma Mia of course will be playing Carl, Denham. So. Those are our big stars as previously announced King, Kong will begin previews, at, the Broadway theatre on October. 5th it will open on November 8th book. By Jack Thorne speaking of Harry Potter honor yes child you. Have music from Marius DeVries and Eddie perfect. Which. Is you know it's a perfect class name and direction, by Drew Makoni he's. Never heard yeah I know I'm no one's ever made that joke you're welcome very cool though more casting. More casting, for halftime. At, paper mill but this was she go, ahead ladies. And gentlemen may I present to you Donna. McKechnie, Tony winner original. Casting from chorus line as if as if I need to tell you that she's joining this great show halftime, she joined it but she didn't do it in Chicago she's a new addition I believe she has this one so she's joining. Hundreds. Of shields Georgia Engel my. Favorite lilius white I, know. You're watching, this. Is an amazing, yeah show it was originally called gotta dance or as our news, writer Andy, left boys wrote nay gotta dance like it was born that way yeah I was like what was what his name yeah a means born okay, for. Those of you who don't didn't take French in high school like and I did this. Vegans, revie's on May 31st. Open, it is June 12 and I. Will also say this is Jerry Mitchell choreographing. For Donna McKechnie, yes, director, and. Directing of course this is Bob Martin of Drowsy, Chaperone, Fame, Chadwick. Ellen Matt's. Car and Nell Benjamin so it's head it's, an a. Beast. In the jungle which hasn't even begun. Performances. Yet already, got an extension yeah, that's that's how you know you, got a good thing on your hands right there this is obviously this is at the vineyard theatre from Susan Stroman it, is initially, slated to run through June 10th but it will now play, through June 17th. It'll begin previews, on May 4th and it will open on May 23rd we, got Tony Yazbeck in, there super, excited about when I we did a feature on it not too long ago in the broadway.com show, you haven't checked that out yet you see what it's all about do it yeah and last but not least donna, summer summer the Donna Summer musical, how many times can I say summer open last night and we. Got some good stuff right so. First of all lashauwn's. LaShawn. Is. Back, on Broadway where she belongs, it smells Ariana DuBose. Um. Matt wrote, in mr. Matt rode as me you did the Hustle with these people oh my god yeah so. We, have cluesive portraits, that are gorgeous we have some open night coverage, and we also have Matt Matt doing the husband above the stars first. Nighters. Sergio. Put you through yes he did he was like okay spin spin, okay now I'm gonna dip you it was like. Did. You have music while you were dancing here nope okay which is weird because they all kind of danced on the beat like ah like was just impromptu. You know, do. Some disco and they were like okay you really put them through their paces on those red carpet challenge. So. Much Beth, we, ever, struck to Ben Thompson Matt why don't you tell us a little bit about, today's guests oh I would love to Ben Thompson made his Broadway debut in, American. Idiots going, on to star in holler if you hear me as Griffey he originated, the role of the escape artist in Mathilda later taking, over the role of Miss Trunchbull. Herself. His herself and now, he's down at the diner eight times a week in Broadway's, waitress, and that is what he is here to talk about today and it's to your birthday not. Of him of the the show he's a little best beard. Yeah. Here. Is Ryan. Oh. Wait, a second, if, you have questions for Ben yeah cut back to me few questions for Ben you. Leave them in the comment section below right now and we get to as many as we possibly can. And now here's. Ryan and Ben hello. There sir I feel like one of those Westworld, robots, on my booth just, saying hello to you here.
Happy. Good to see you as well happy two years over, there at waitress, yeah it's been. Five. Weeks for, me but yeah right years for the show and it's just um yeah, it's it's amazing it still feels like it's brand-new. Yeah no I mean that I love that show we were joking any time we have anyone, from waitress, you're definitely. Taught Ematic allele I. Love. How, amazing. She's. Incredible in the fact that like those, people who got to see her do it for those five weeks mm-hmm, really, yeah she's incredible, so, you've had three Jenna's and you've yeah and yes. You. When, you first started Sara Bareilles I'm still in the show who, will be hosting the Tony Awards was real super, awesome with Josh so, exciting, and, now then you had Stephanie and now you have Cathy, making, her debut absolutely. How how are things going, yeah, I mean like we don't know where for her voice and you know if you seen her on smash, and as. Brava. Calm has seen her um you know what she's capable of but to get to see her in an intimate setting like the Brookes and get. To see her you know opposite, Katelyn, and Natasha and Drew and it's she's, really, she was she belongs on Broadway yeah you know long Sun brought our our editor-in-chief Paul he went for her opening night and he came back and only had raves for her she's, already a natural yeah well it was so funny cuz during rehearsal she's like I'm just I'm nervous, I'm nervous and then, you know like, a consummate. Broadway, vet mmm the spotlight came on it was like what a nerve yeah she's, fantastic she's, great to act with grace, same partner always honest I was listening so it's fun it's really been, it's. Been exciting yeah, she's the Jenna, I got the most rehearsal, with - oh right. Stephanie, I rehearsal because she was my rehearsal. Jenna mm-hmm, but in terms of performances, yeah, and getting her ready for the show it was fun and. You're enjoying it you feel comfortable there you like being as, comfortable you can be being an abusive husband yeah that. Was. All. Right roll, yes it's a family it. Really is a family and you, know I've never replaced, in a show before and so, yeah. I'm which is very, lucky that I've always been able to original, things but I'd, never replaced, and, so I was nervous about it you, know it's like that first day of school thing when you go to a new school I don't if you ever did that no totally oh yeah my senior, year of high school oh yeah. It was really tough thanks. Mom yeah I had braces although it, was like. I. Was. Nervous about meeting, everybody but it was like instantly, I mean I had new people. You. Know you never know what you're coming into right, and especially a show that's been a hit, and it's been successful and it has people that are still there which. Is usually a good testament to how how, the company, is and, we have people who have literally been there from opening night celebrating. Two years tonight that's so cool Holly Hagar's Stephanie Torn's, it's true Drew's, been in and out right and obviously the crews there every yeah so no and were you so where were, you a fan of Sara Bareilles previously. Before learning, this yes I mean, yeah. I mean she's kind of a phenom, and um, I actually did a very early reading of this show no. And. So you knew a long time I knew and when there wasn't you know it's it's what's been fun is that I. Was. A part of it and then I wasn't as often happens in this business you know things, happen and. But. I went away when I came back I was so interested I hadn't seen it before, I got, the show and right not for any other reason other than being busy sure scheduling, and I have a baby now right yeah. But. I, hadn't, seen the show and so it's so fun to come back and see how much had, changed and, whatnot hands and everything so it's really really.
Fantastic Yeah, and I think, they hit, it out of the park yeah, with everything that's absolutely, as the, two-year testament ya. Know. And on the road it's touring, Broadway. Yeah P everyone gets to experience waitress, and. Yeah now Sara Bareilles is a missing Tony's yeah. They're in Florida right now Kathlyn get certain announce the nominations right so it's like we're. Getting waiters yeah you're moaning. At all yeah but, as Matt sort of let, us know in the beginning you, you made your Broadway debut you. That show American Idiot opened, almost eight year eight years ago on 4/20. Right yeah. Yeah. Friday yeah, I, got, dead brain no, that's I know coordinators, like. Tucked. Away, yeah. Eight, years ago unreal. And and that that wasn't lost, on me when I was on stage right, I'm Friday I mean that had to have been because you were a Green Day fan like. Broadway. Debut, yeah it was it was nuts cuz I did the, workshops and the readings and then I went to Berkeley with it and so, you know when we left Berkeley we all hoped that we were gonna get to be there but we didn't no no yeah and so when we finally got to do it it was you know that you only get one day view right, and there's nothing I remember after the first preview Christine Asajj you and I who I mean out of that cast you, have saju. Who's, gone on to be her you got Alicia um first you have starts. Don't have Gallagher, you Esper, you have Josh Henry mm-hmm. Crow we gonna get nominated for his whatever ninth Kerry's. And. You. Know you have Miguel Cervantes, and playing Hamilton, in Chicago and Andrew. Call play I mean everyone. Has worked from that cast yeah and it's. Just I, don't, even know where I was going with this but, that, was just a launching, pad for so many of you truly, was in a beloved, show in size you know that's what was we just cried just cried after that, first performance you know mostly, from pain from that show. Car. Wreck on your body I still. Can't feel my toes but. Yeah. That I mean make your debut right, in the end again and then when I take my bow, you know waitress is my fourth that's, how I filled. With gratitude for an American Idiot also, like you got to perform at, the Grammys, because. Everywhere. Yeah we're. At the Grammys before we were a show right, that's what they announced that we're coming to Broadway is on a Grammy Awards before, Green Day and then we got to do you know Monday Night Football we. Did what, was meeting Billie Joe Armstrong, like are, you because I mean if you were already a Green Day fan man I mean like then, you. Know when, you meet somebody who you have looked up to and when you followed. Initially. You've just kind of starstruck. And I definitely was and you try to play it cool but I not. An ounce of coolness in me at that moment and then it turns out that he's the most generous human being in, the face the earth and really you. Know when he joined the show and even before that he really found, a family with us and, we with, them and it became this really beautiful. Relationship. And he you know he's. Still the, most one of the most generous human beings and to see the way that he keeps like working with young people with the show and kid like it's incredible, what he does he, comes back. And he understands, the importance of the Arts in education, and know it's really cool. But. Also another project of yours that I loved. That was it you, know experimental. For Broadway holler if you hear me I, loved, that show I know that there had to have been people. That talked to you afterward at the stage door see I mean cuz you wouldn't sit there would been nothing like that on throw, away no there was a mold that you all broke but which has trans, I mean is now like Hamilton there, is stuff that Hamilton, borrowed for sure and and and I, think that that show was just like. A season, or two early write a great and and, the, message is still important, and gun violence and, community. Violence like that's so something we deal with what on a daily basis hmm I love. That show and, and that show brought me my big brother in Chris Jackson who like I look up to more than anybody in the world fatherhood. And business, and everything and so. Like at that show for me will, always, be an special, my wife made her debut at the palace that's right so, right getting to be in, the, same theater with my wife before that's pretty cool.
Yeah. That's that's cool. Yeah um, you're an Okie I hear, your enoki Tulsa. Oklahoma, was, now, I know that you had done your grandparents. Ran a theater rice in you. Know that's, right that's right always. And. So was and, then, you studied theater in college so it was performing. Always, the path, you were gonna take because, you were also like great at sports yes right I just really enormous. Are. Supposed to have the one thing you, guys got another thing but no that's we I'm. Fortunate, in that I found. A school that allowed me to do both mm-hmm. Because many times you have to choose right yeah um and. Looking. Back you, know hindsight, I think that I was always destined to perform, yeah I mean it was always like I loved doing it I always loved doing it and I loved the idea of escaping into another character and became becoming, someone else and finally. How what makes them tick and. Yeah but sports were always there. But. I was never gonna be a pro athlete. And. The. Passion, it was probably different right. Know. What's you know there's always there, it's always either this or that and, and what, I got out of doing, both is that I got the lessons from both I got the lessons of being on a team sport and how important it is to be a part of a team. And what that means and how to be able to relate that to being a member of the cast whether, you're in the ensemble, whether you're on the crew whether you're the star of the show you. You understand, what it means to be a part of something bigger than you and, and I think that that's, like one of the biggest lessons ever because even today on Broadway, you run in to egos and things and you run into people who I mean, I thankfully. Have rarely, run into it mmm but you hear stories of people who are just you know egotistical, how other my right not. Fully understanding, not knowing members, of the crew and their name but the fact the matter is when you walk into that theater everybody. Is equally, as important mmm, one person out of that show if you know think we have swings, which I think are the most important people know I mean the hardest-working, one absolutely. Like not a question, and but, like you, know you. Always cover for each other but like if one thing is missing then somebody. Else has to pick up that slack and then it becomes a whole thing so we're all it's. All equal when you walk in that stage door regardless, of what you're doing I you know all the way from front of house to back of house mm-hmm, and after studying theater I would you say are you a champion of that, kind of training of kind of getting to know your. Old. I'm. Sorry, for acting. 100%. I'd, you. Know I don't. Think you can ever stop learning if you want to do this and. You. Know most of people who are watching this you know have that dream right like you you. Have to keep learning and you have to have. That that entered that inner drive that just says you know nothing's gonna stop me from achieving it not, to say you're going to achieve it but it may unlock a door would be a co-write, could be a great director or, oh my gosh I didn't had no idea I could design costumes you, know what I mean and so yeah. Training is you, never stop learning never stop, learning even if like I'm reading a book and I'm reading about a character, that my, god this guy's really interesting, like what. Would he be like on stage or, what would he be like on film so. Yeah training. Yeah. I'm a big big, fan of it a big big family and another and I want to take will to start taking some questions from people that are watching a segment the other project, that just, keeps, getting bigger and bigger the greatest showmen like you I was one of my favorite, hashtags, of yours is the purple hoodie guy yeah because of that incredible. Video pepping of work yeah I think, over 18, million yeah I watched, that video it's absolutely, insane and so. You are on you're in the soundtrack, for that film which is I think once, again in the top of the UK album. Charts right now yeah I think it's back on number, one right now and that movie is it gets, better what was that experience, working on that, music, and that hey, it. Was a what. A wild ride I can. Imagine cuz I got a random, text message for from, Justin Paul mm-hmm.
Like. It was like a winter. It was like Friday. Or something he's like hey what are you doing next week I want you to come in and record this demo number, one we had met like once or twice. And. I, had auditioned for he, and binge for dogfight before. It was yeah before before, you know early on and. I. Don't know how he got my number but that was you know five years ago four, or five six years ago yeah and. And. He's, a record, this demo it's for this thing okay. I mean yes. Yes. Absolutely, like I would do anything for those two. Like. You always knew that they were gonna be right who they the Oscar winner yes Antonio you always. Um, and, besides. That they're also just amazing. Isis, yeah. Like, one of the few people who will always text me back is Justin Paul. He. So, we wouldn't recorded. Come. Alive I think it was mm-hmm, I think. It was come alive um and but, I had we, weren't really sure what it was but then Hugh Jackman's started singing in our ear and we're like Justin what is this for yeah don't, worry about it don't worry about it just Lissa's you know and then, we. Did reading after reading after reading like kind of almost, biannually, we also did like two times a year Wow and thankfully, they asked me to be a part of it from the beginning and, I I, could, sing that music it's, so good, it's, incredible, I'm a flywheel instructor and I play it in class. I. Listen to it all the time like it's me I just might default anything that I go. Everything. That's coming away that, moment that that video and if you haven't seen it you should you, should watch it because it's a great moment of just the power of honesty, and, like really, leaves you yeah and really just losing yourself in the moment of the music and the song like, and, we're all I mean that day like still just. It's. Really you could tell something very, captial what's happening, yeah there for sure doesn't that is once enough and know what no one ever talks about don't even know if I'm supposed to, but. There. Was one of the readings where she finished singing and the. Head of Fox walked up I was like you just bought yourself this Wow. Yeah well I mean none of us would hear that but like she's like yeah, later, on a handout, that's what happened, in like she she's from. The beginning of that thing yeah you know she was, her she was Letty yeah no that's it's amazing, oh I have goosebumps Matt, what, are what are some of the the viewers and the Ben Thompson fans, wanting to know lots of things I met um, oh yeah, Matt's here oh yeah. Okay. So Elise, wants to know if you could listen to one Broadway cast album for the rest of your life which one would you choose and why oh, gosh. I mean. I'm gonna sound really. Egotistical. Here I don't mean to yeah I would listen that American Idiot album it's amazing, it's I just would it's so well done it, really yeah where we, recorded Electric, Ladyland studios. We're Jimi Hendrix recorded, and we took like you know a lot of times Broadway they, do it in like two days or like no day we did it like a week two weeks we. Took we took a long time to do it and, it's. How and I just you know it's my debut and. I will never forget I will never forget, I had my whole family there mmm, you know which is rare like I was able to buy them tickets to opening night and, that's. So special. I'm. Gonna take one that I'm on. Karina. Wants to know do you prefer the movie waitress. Or the show have you seen the movie I have seen the movie you, know that's tough that's tough to say I mean Adrien Shelley's in the movie and, and you know that's why I think that, Don, is such a special character in our show cuz it's the most close, as you get to Adrian I. But. You know Sara's. Music, it's. Also paying my rent. They. Are, so well married, to one another like Sara's, music, to that story. You. Would never know and then if you're a fan of the movie you're gonna love the show and if you're a fan of the show you're gonna love the movie like it's not one those things where it's either/or and so I you, know personally. I would say the show just, because I've also you. Know done it a bunch now but, in, this eras music but. Yeah. I'll say what they'll stick with the show great good question though um Kelly, what other role would you want to replace currently. On Broadway. King. George I knew it I knew. And. This is why this is why Andrew cosplaying, in Chicago, right now and he's like yes yeah he's one of my dear friends and what's. Funny is that our dressing, room from American Idiot has, all they've all been in it except for me in Chicago so the girls be right in REE, Wallace. And, Andrew. Yeah Wow, and so while, a Smith yeah, and and. But also after playing Trunchbull I feel.
Like It ii like the next step. And. Why not just keep playing villains, right. Yeah, might as well you know and that's a good track too yeah it is it's a dural track oh yeah, I have. An hour and 15 minute break in risers, hour. And 15 minutes unheard. Of yeah it's like Bach I get a lot done. Trevor, wants to know any mishaps, with the prop guitar and waitress, Oh funny. Story about the guitar but didn't you learn, to, play guitar you like lied yes, said I can play guitar to the pump boys and dinettes team, yeah and then you had to learn it in like two weeks yeah I did I did pump, boys and dinettes out in Colorado and. My. Friend Joe, Farrell called me and, and he started off by saying you don't ever say this Annette hey I got a job for you I was, like automatic. I'm gonna say yes whatever comes next. You played a guitar right sure I, didn't. He didn't tell me what show it was just like yeah I was like it'll be like a song, like, it'll be like baby, strap a little note I mean I'll be covered by that work she'll be fine and he said great I'll send you the score and, you know we start rehearsal night two weeks okay, he sends me the score and I, get realized what, it is and for those who don't know what pump boys and dinettes play the entire show. On, stage, yeah, just so my, then. Girlfriend at, the time now wife Kat, and I went out and like bought a guitar right. Now I still have in fact I get everybody to sign it who comes and works at the show like Sarah signed a Katherine, sign same night every, day yeah I got all the green know to sign it I've got like crisp air from the spin doctors most other everything, that's yeah it's it's. So. Cool but. I went out and like bought a guitar and like taught myself played, like I had a huge like lump, on the back of my leg my fingers were pleading yeah right and then we got to the first day rehearsal you know the first the, first riff is bad I'm bamp bamp around downtown and it's. Jim, it's my part and, the guys like all right go I'm like I don't I don't know the roof yet he's like what do you mean I just don't know yeah I know it's an E chord and, he's like okay and it slowly, dawned, on them started, to realize yeah but, I but I knew that I knew it all right but I wasn't a player yet you know what I mean so but that was yeah, yeah. Ballsy. So it's my mom no, the, only mishap, that has happened with the guitar to our show is that one night I picked it up and forgot how to play it like, I picked it up and I think what chords do I play and, there's quilters glow tape on it and sounds like okay so it's either that fret or this Fred and, I hit the wrong one. One. Of the two I hit the wrong woman Cathy looked to me like it was like her second, show to her. First week I forgot how to play the guitar one night and then I changed the words to Sara's song I just like started the second verse early it's, like so just.
Keep On. Broadway. Caitlin. Wants to know do you have a favorite song writer that you'd love to have write a musical, oh man. Yeah. I. Mean. Sara's done one yes good Jason. Jason I was gonna say. Chris. Baron of the spin doctors yes, I, love that I really he's like lyrically, prolific. Like that guy has like a note books and notebooks and notebooks, of, music. So he'd be he'd definitely be up there for sure - yeah, go, the Duncan shiek Ellis. Yeah I mean. Hidden. He's so he's just so well-read and so smart it that'd be fascinating, yeah Chris, get on it Elise wants to know what's your favorite song and waitress. Besides. Earl's song yes. That's. Tough. We. Sing, bad. Idea to our daughter all the time really just kind of bad. Up but bad about us yeah I have. A seven month old. She's. Not like 14. She's. Mine. Obviously. He's great, what bacon can do is fun it's a great way to start the show off - I, mean I, was gonna say that's what I love about that show is what you decide is your favorite song from that show just changes. Like yeah but you you, transition. Into a new favorite, and never know so often I love them all it's so beautiful and I get to just sit and listen to him all night yeah great no stress about singing a single one you're like Stef mine except for yours which I don't remember the words to anyway. Well. On that note man, thank, you so, very much for stopping by happy two-year birthday, to the folks over at waitress, go see it at the Brooks Atkinson theatre go, see Ben Thompson as Earl go, see it all thank you again so, much so, great chatting with you the seat is yours come back any time I like absolutely. Nothing my daughter please. Do and that why don't you take y'all. Know the deal we do this every single week they have 5:00 p.m. here on Broadway comms facebook page which then goes out on YouTube and on our website and the TV and all those places we also released this as a podcast so if you want to listen instead. Of watch you can subscribe to the live at 5 podcast, wherever you get your podcast join, us tomorrow when. Ben Crawford, from. Phantom, is here, the, Ben week here, at live, at five, happy. Today's Tuesday, happy. Tuesday everybody, see, you tomorrow bye. You.