Memo from the RTC: Andrew Barth Feldman Opens on Broadway in Evan Hansen as Wizard of Oz Hits Final Weekend
By Norm Scott
Exactly two years ago, Andrew Barth Feldman was a 14-year old on the stage of the Rockaway Theatre Company’s Young People’s Workshop production of Singin’ in the Rain playing the role Donald O’Connor made famous as Cosmo Brown in the film version with his amazing dancing. Last week Andrew made his Broadway debut as the lead in Dear Evan Hansen at the age of 16, to a great deal of publicity, apparently the first teen to head a Broadway show. Groups of RTC people were there for his first two nights, when he received standing ovations. While everyone at the RTC knew Andrew’s talent would take him far one day, people are wide-eyed at the speed with which this occurred. Now the entire theater world and a good section of the public, due to the amount of media coverage, know what everyone at the RTC knew over the past 5 years.
I recently watched the video of that RTC performance and Andrew’s singing and comedic acting (he brought down the house more than once) were also impeccable. I thought Donald O’Conner couldn’t do any better. RTC main stage actress Lynda Browning took her family to see Andrew’s opening night. Lynda played the lead in the RTC 2015 production of Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers and Andrew made his RTC main stage debut as Arty, the younger brother. He was 13 and his ability was obvious. Lynda raved not only about his opening night on Broadway but also told a story about how her school in Brooklyn was doing a show and Andrew came to show support. “Aside from his talent, he’s a very nice young man.”
There is an abundance of talent in evidence at the RTC Young People’s Musical Theatre Workshop’s Wizard of Oz as it hits its final weekend featuring the Ruby cast. Some RTC people have already spotted some potential young stars who may go beyond community theater one day. Come see for yourself.
There are three performances this weekend, Friday and Saturday night at 7 PM and the closing Sunday matinee at 3PM.