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BW-trained triple threats back on Broadway and in national tours

With Baldwin Wallace University on the verge of lighting up its Mainstage Theatre again with triple-threat action and applause for "Into the Woods," graduates of BW's nationally acclaimed music theatre program are back on Broadway and crisscrossing the country in national tours this fall.

Among the eight BW music theatre alumni appearing (or in rehearsal) on The Great White Way are four making their Broadway debuts, proving that a pandemic can't keep good talent down.

Veronica Otim ’20 Veronica Otim '20 - "Jagged Little Pill"

Veronica Otim '20, who is making her Broadway debut in "Jagged Little Pill," acknowledged coming off a "rough year" when she revealed the good news via social media.

"Flew to NY for a week, last minute callback on Friday, found out on Monday, canceled my flight home for Tuesday, and started rehearsal Wednesday. This process has been insane, but I couldn't be working with a better cast and team," Otim wrote.

Eric Siegle ’21 Eric Siegle '21 - "Tina"

In another New York theatre, Eric Siegle '21 also made his Broadway debut as a swing in "Tina - The Tina Turner Musical."

Siegle is understudying the roles of Erwin Bach, Roger Davis, Terry Britten, Phil Spector and a few others, meaning he has to be ready to go on in any of those roles at a moment's notice.

He calls the experience "incredibly exciting!"

Tavon Lamont Olds-Sample - "MJ"

A huge Broadway opportunity came calling for Tavon Lamont Olds-Sample when he was just a sophomore BW music theatre student. Olds-Sample will make his Broadway debut as Michael in "MJ" when it starts performances this December.

David Holbert ’19 David Holbert '19 - "The Lion King"

David Holbert '19 booked his Broadway debut covering the role of Simba in Broadway's "The Lion King." Holbert is also the male swing, meaning he will understudy other roles in the musical set to play New York's Minskoff Theater. Holbert is thrilled. "Anyone who knows me has probably heard me say my favorite show is 'Lion King.' Put me in as wall panel number 3, and I'll be the happiest person on earth!"

Kramer, Watson, Houlahan & Harris

Other BW music theatre grads appearing this fall on Broadway are John Kramer '16 in "The Book of Mormon" and Nyla Watson '15 in "Waitress."

Caitlin Houlahan '14 reprised her role in "Waitress" when the show was among the first to return to The Great White Way, and Houlahan is now joining fellow BW music theatre alum Matthew Harris '18 in "Girl from the North Country," where she also appeared prior to the pandemic.

Zach Adkins '15 plays Mr. Parker Bowles in "Diana The Musical," which kicked off previews with a performance on ABC's Good Morning America.

National Tours

Other BW talent, that we saw first as rising stars on our northeast Ohio stages, are in national touring companies of major productions.

Nadina Hassan ’20

Crisscrossing the country this fall are:

  • Jahir Hipps '21 (music theatre) in the 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour of "Rent"

  • A trio of music theatre grads, Warren Egypt Franklin '19, Tre Frazier '18 and Ellis C. Dawson '16, appearing in three different companies of "Hamilton"

  • Nadina Hassan '20 (music theatre) playing the iconic Regina George in "Mean Girls"

  • Anthony Sagaria '14 (music theatre) touring in "Wicked"

  • Noa Barenblat '19 (music theatre) appears in the beloved "Fiddler on the Roof"

  • Will Savarese '22 (BFA acting) is ready to travel with the North American tour of "Hairspray" starting next month.

Victoria Bussert in the audience for Veronica Otim's Broadway debut in "Jagged Little Pill."Proud teacher

As is her custom, BW music theatre director Victoria Bussert has already made quick trips to New York and other cities to be in the audience as her former students take the stage.

And, as usual, she is well-stocked with tissues, perhaps more so now as dark stages and performing dreams come back to life.

Catch a rising star in Ohio

Audiences can catch BW's rising stars right here in Berea, Ohio, at "Into the Woods," playing November 10-21. Information and tickets at BW's ticket site.

You can also watch for the national tours to make their way to Cleveland.

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