Winter is always a tough time for Broadway- shows close, contracts expire, and our favorite stars leave. These past few months, several fan favorites have had to leave their shows. Let’s take a look at who these audience favorites are, who’s replacing them, and what they have in store!
Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon
Nikki M. James, one of the last original cast members of The Book of Mormon, left the show last month, along with former Elder Price, Matt Doyle. After originating the role of Nabalungi and winning a Tony Award for her stunning performance, Nikki has handed off her role to former American Idol contestant Syesha Mercado. Of course, we’re all bummed to see Nikki go. Her portrayal of Nabalungi was flawless and her voice was absolutely incredible. That said, with Syesha’s crazy vocal talent, she’s sure to be a Nabalungi that won’t disappoint.
Milly Shapiro, Bailey Ryon, Sophia Gennusa, Oona Lawrence, Matilda
The four adorable girls who originated the titular character of Matilda, have left the show that provided most of them with their Broadway debut. The four all received Tony Honors for Excellence for their roles in the show, and were definite audience favorites for the duration of the run. I had the honor of seeing Bailey in the role last fall, and her talent blew me away- all four of the original girls were fantastic, and it’s a bummer to see them go. They’ve been replaced by Paige Brady, Gabriella Pizzolo, Ripley Sobo, and Ava Ulloa; for equally adorable and eccentric young stars that will continue to wow audiences with their sweet voices (and telekinetic powers).
Stark Sands and Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Original cast members of the hit show Kinky Boots, Stark Sands and Annaleigh Ashford, have announced that they will leave the show in early 2014. Stark’s last performance was January 26, and Annaleigh will leave the show in March to film the next season of a hit HBO TV show. As two of the show’s most prominent characters leave, there is no doubt that Kinky Boots won’t ever be the same. Thankfully, both should have very talented replacements that will ensure it remains a high-energy, exciting, and touching show. Also notably, Tony-award winning Billy Porter has renewed his contract through at least July of this year, so thankfully, we won’t see him go anytime soon.
Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana, Cinderella
The charming pair that originated the roles of Cinderella‘s star couple have had to say goodbye. “Real Life Disney Princess Laura Osnes”, adored by fans for her web miniseries detailing her life and the show, will surely be a tough one to say goodbye to. Between her stunning voice and captivating smile, Laura has always been a fan favorite. Likewise, Santino’s dazzling performances as Prince Topher will be missed as well, and the pair’s chemistry is irreplaceable. Though it’ll be tough to wish Santino and Laura happy trails, their replacements surely won’t disappoint either- Carly Rae Jepesen, the artist behind the hit song “Call Me Maybe”, has made her Broadway debut as Cinderella! It’ll definitely be interesting to see how the show changes, and how the fans react, to the new and exciting cast.