from $95.00 It’s almost like you’re on the Aaron Tveit career track. Which actors do you admire? Aaron’s life right now isn’t too shabby! [Laughs.] I wouldn’t mind going that route. Norbert Leo Butz is someone I’ve looked up to for a long time. He’s gotten to play so many different roles, and I’d love to have the opportunity to play diverse characters. Star Files See Derek Klena as Fiyero in Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre. When you were growing up, was it hard to be the jock who also did theater? Yeah, it was harder when I was younger because my friends didn’t understand yet. But once high school and college rolled around, my friends matured and understood it’s kind of a cool thing; they were were blown away with the theater side of me. They grew to respect it, which was really cool to see. We love watching you on Fly Girl. How is acting on Broadway different than your experience leading an off-Broadway musicals? The stakes are a lot higher on Broadway; there’s so much more going on and everything’s so much more intricate. It’s definitely more intimidating. And going into Wicked, I don’t have the privilege of originating my role like I did with Carrie and Dogfight. What would you have said if someone had told you eight years ago that you’d be playing Fiyero in the 10th anniversary cast of Wicked? I would have said, “Yeah right, I want to play baseball.” [Laughs.] At the time, I was pretty into sports; I didn’t know yet that this is what I wanted to pursue. Seeing Wicked definitely sparked that in me and pushed me to pursue it as a career. It’s kind of bizarre that it took me to Wicked. Derek Klena Wasn’t Wicked your first Broadway show? How did it feel to make your debut in it? Surreal. When I saw the show eight years ago, I had no idea I would get the opportunity to perform it someday. It was just a dream I had when I was younger. It’s kind of unbelievable to be working with Joe Mantello and the group at Wicked, which I’ve idolized all these years. Fiyero is a role I’ve always wanted to play, and I’m actually getting to experience that on the Broadway stage. View Comments Is New York more romantic than Los Angeles? [Laughs] I think it is, actually. There’s a lot to do. The thing about New York is you don’t have to drive anywhere. You can take the subway for 10 minutes and pop up somewhere completely different. It’s a really cool city. What makes your Wicked and Dogfight leading lady Lindsay Mendez the ultimate co-star? We just instantly clicked! We’ve developed this great friendship, and that’s been the key to us being compatible on stage. Anything that she does or anything that I do, we are there 100% for each other, and that’s all you can ask for in a co-star—trust and respect. That’s what makes this show so much more enjoyable, having someone like that by your side—a co-pilot. Tell us a little bit about your girlfriend, Elycia. Did she move here with you, or did you meet in NYC? We met at UCLA, and she had an internship here last summer, while I was doing Dogfight, with a fashion start-up company. It was really cool that she got to be here for that time. For the first year I was here it was long distance and she would visit every month or two, but she moved here officially in January. Tell us about the TV pilot you shot for the CW network. It’s called Tomorrow People. It’s about the evolution of man—people developing super powers and being hunted down by an evolutionary biologist who disagrees with humans transforming. I played a bully on the pilot who helped the main character discover he had powers. He kicked my butt! Film and television are a different beast, having grown up in theater but I definitely want to get into it more over the next couple of years. What is the secret to wearing the infamous Fiyero pants? Just being fearless. The first time I put them on I was a little doubtful, but you have to wear them with pride. A lot of people come to the show knowing those pants are coming, so you’ve just got to wear them with pride. Derek Klena has had a fast-rise in musical theater, having jumped from leading roles in the off-Broadway musicals Dogfight and Carrie to the biggest-of-the big Broadway blockbusters, Wicked. The California native, who joined the show in late May, is putting his own spin on Fiyero, the Winkie prince who captures the heart of Glinda and Elphaba. Broadway.com recently caught up with the 21-year-old actor to chat about leading the 10th anniversary cast, reuniting with his Dogfight co-star Lindsay Mendez and how he went from baseball player to Broadway star. Related Shows Wicked You’re a California transplant living in New York. What’s your favorite part of the city? I love Lincoln Center—being there right next to Juilliard, surrounded by the iconic theaters and performing spaces. We have the Ahmanson Theatre in L.A., which is similar, so it reminds me of L.A. in that sense. But there’s also Times Square, which I traveled to with my family, dreaming of performing there someday. Being in Times Square is special in its own way. Was it difficult to give up baseball? It was. I got into UCLA for theater, and I had to make a decision whether to let baseball go. I ended up switching out of theater; I figured I could still do theater outside of school. I played baseball my freshman year as a pitcher, but at the end of the year, I realized that my true love and passion is in acting and singing. I’m glad I made that choice. I play in the Broadway softball league and a restaurant league, so I still get that sports atmosphere. I feel like I get enough playing recreationally and casually. What are your must-see TV shows? What would you want to join? Sadly, Breaking Bad is ending, but Breaking Bad is pretty amazing. Boardwalk Empire is awesome; there are so many great characters. And Homeland. Those are my top three shows, and it would be incredible if I got to go in for one of them.
View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 25, 2018 It’s just two weeks into Broadway legend Bernadette Peters’ Great White Way return in Hello, Dolly! and audiences are flocking to the Shubert Theatre to experience the Tony winner’s thrilling performance. This past week at the box office served as proof. Hello, Dolly! took in a hearty gross of $1,012,052.96, with delighted theatergoers filling the Shubert to 91.71% capacity. Clearly, the star power of stage great Peters and her co-star Victor Garber paired with Broadway newbies Charlie Stemp and Molly Griggs are keeping the Tony-winning revival on the road to long-running perfection.Here’s a look at who was on top—and who was not—for the week ending February 4:FRONTRUNNERS (By Gross)1. Hamilton ($2,789,366.00)2. Springsteen on Broadway ($2,408,900.00)*3. The Lion King ($1,667,193.00)4. Dear Evan Hansen ($1,663,824.64)5. Wicked ($1,369,478.50)UNDERDOGS (By Gross)5. Chicago ($514,130.63)**4. John Lithgow: Stories by Heart ($405,363.60)3. The Parisian Woman ($400,167.00)2. The Play That Goes Wrong ($295,910.50)1. The Children ($273,595.20)FRONTRUNNERS (By Capacity)1. Hamilton (101.59%)2. Come From Away (101.49%)3. Dear Evan Hansen (101.08%)4. The Book of Mormon (100.31%)**5. Springsteen on Broadway (100.00%)*UNDERDOGS (By Capacity)5. SpongeBob SquarePants (75.19%)4. The Parisian Woman (69.90%)3. Kinky Boots (68.86%)2. The Play That Goes Wrong (66.69%)1. School of Rock (63.27%)*Number based on five performances**Number based on seven performancesSource: The Broadway League Hello, Dolly! Related Shows read more
The reasons why it’s difficult to say goodbye to Torrey Smith go far beyond receiving yards and touchdown catches for the Ravens and the city of Baltimore.Others have played better and longer for a franchise approaching its 20th season in Charm City, but few have left the kind of impression the 26-year-old wide receiver did in his four seasons with the Ravens. His heartfelt farewell released Sunday night only scratches the surface in revealing the man as both a football player and, more importantly, a citizen who’s made a difference in the community — and will apparently continue to do so with his stated intention of continuing to make Baltimore his offseason home.From the heartbreaking — but inspirational — story of his upbringing in Virginia to his days with Ralph Friedgen at the University of Maryland, Smith has grown up before our eyes in some ways. We watched him handle the tragedy of his younger brother’s death with courage and grace while excelling on the field and ultimately helping the Ravens taste the glory that was two division titles, three playoff appearances, and a win in Super Bowl XLVII.But it can be a cruel business as the Ravens have deemed Smith’s price tag too expensive — a difficult salary-cap picture certainly didn’t help — and the 2011 second-round selection is seizing his first and best chance to receive a lucrative payday elsewhere. You can understand general manager Ozzie Newsome’s decision to walk away from a player who never lived up to the billing of becoming a true No. 1 receiver in the same way that you can respect Smith not being willing to leave millions of dollars on the table in a sport that only guarantees so much.Even with that common ground of understanding for both sides, it doesn’t change the reality of the Ravens needing to replace Smith on the field.It’s going to be difficult.His critics frequently bring up his shortcomings and reiterate that he isn’t a true No. 1 wideout, but those weaknesses shouldn’t sell short his talents as a strong No. 2 option who has suited the strong-armed Joe Flacco perfectly over the last four seasons. His ability to both stretch the field and make big plays shouldn’t be discredited because of a disappointing 2014 season that still included a career-best 11 touchdown catches.It isn’t only about speed as fast but limited receivers such as Jacoby Jones, Yamon Figurs, and Patrick Johnson have proven over the years. Even if his route-running and hands aren’t as consistent as you’d like, Smith has shown much more talent than straight-line speed.The six-foot, 205-pound receiver finishes his four-year run in Baltimore ranking third on the franchise’s all-time list in receiving yards and second in touchdown catches, numbers that bring two distinct thoughts to mind. One, he’s been one of the most productive receivers in team history despite having only played four seasons. Second, it reflects how little success Newsome and the Ravens have found at the position in nearly two decades.And that’s where the real concern lies as Smith represents the franchise’s only significant success story in drafting and developing an impact wide receiver. They finally hit in 2011, but the Ravens have selected a laundry list of disappointments or outright busts at the position that includes Johnson, Travis Taylor, Ron Johnson, Devard Darling, Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams, Figurs, Marcus Smith, David Reed, and Tandon Doss.Yuck.To be fair, Newsome has found success over the years in plucking veterans off the market including Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin, and, most recently, Steve Smith, but a few duds have been mixed in there as well in Lee Evans, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Kevin Johnson. Of course, Newsome has been one of the best executives in the NFL for almost 20 years and no organization bats 1.000, but the Ravens have routinely been lacking at the receiver position and that’s without even mentioning the decision to dump Boldin two offseasons ago without replacing him for the 2013 season.Yes, I know that dead horse doesn’t need to be beaten again.There might be enough of a track record to trust Newsome to at least find a respectable veteran band-aid — Houston’s Andre Johnson would provide more than that if the cost is within the Ravens’ modest means this offseason — but finding a vertical threat as effective as Smith won’t be as easy. The goal is improving the passing game — not treading water or getting slightly worse — and veteran free-agent options such as Michael Crabtree, Cecil Shorts, Eddie Royal, and Nate Washington hardly make you do cartwheels and won’t all be cheap, either.Not having a vertical threat for Flacco is akin to asking a home-run hitter to try to settle for more singles and doubles. It doesn’t mean he won’t succeed, but you’re not going to maximize your return.Maybe the Ravens will hit on a future No. 1 receiver with the 26th overall pick in this year’s draft, but their track record suggests finding Torrey Smith’s replacement won’t be that simple and Steve Smith will be 36 this year. The organization is optimistic about its young receivers like Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanaro, Marlon Brown, and Jeremy Butler, but none have shown enough ability to reasonably project a starting role without a major drop-off.You can understand and respect the Ravens needing to make a difficult financial decision in watching Torrey Smith depart. Newsome has six months to figure it out before the 2015 season kicks off, so it would be silly to push the panic button now.But there have been too many failures and not enough successes at the wide receiver position over the years to feel great about what will come next.You just hope the Ravens won’t take as long replacing Torrey Smith as they did to find him. read more