I found an interesting list on BroadwayUnderstudies.com of some of this year's Tony nominees and the parts that they once understudied. It would have been great to see some of these performers in the roles that gave them their start on Broadway.
It's a nice reminder that the actor or actress whose name you find printed on a little slip of paper tucked inside your Playbill may someday be a star. Here's the list:
05.13.08: Congratulations to former understudies Olga Merediz (u/s LES MISERABLES, currently IN THE HEIGHTS), Robin De Jesus (u/s RENT, currently IN THE HEIGHTS), Laura Benanti (u/s SOUND OF MUSIC, currently GYPSY), Kelli O'Hara (u/s FOLLIES, JEKYLL & HYDE, currently SOUTH PACIFIC), Kerry Butler (u/s BLOOD BROTHERS, currently XANADU), Danny Burstein (u/s A CLASS ACT, currently SOUTH PACIFIC), Rondi Reed (u/s THE GRAPES OF WRATH, currently AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY), David Pittu (u/s THE TENTH MAN, recently IS HE DEAD) and Faith Prince (u/s JEROME ROBBINS' BROADWAY, currently A CATERED AFFAIR), all of whom were nominated for Tony Awards!
And here's a list of more Tony nominees and winners from previous years, along with the roles that they understudied.
One of my best Broadway experiences was seeing The Color Purple with understudy Saycon Sengbloh. She may not have been the best-known actress to play the part or received the most acclaim, but to me, she'll always be Celie. I'm hoping she gets a starring role someday. And I do have that slip of paper with her name on it.