Monday, September 8, 2014

Happy [Early] Birthday, Stage & Screen Star Will Chase!

Because I'm tired of headshots... It's a Twitter profile pic!
@WillChaseMe
It's no secret that there is a ton of crossover these days between screen and stage actors. This is nothing new, and in fact, I would venture to say that there is less crossover now than there used to be back in the Golden Age of both performance media. It just so happens that this week, a slew of stage/screen crossover actors are celebrating birthdays, with three (Will Chase, Jennifer Hudson, and Emmy Rossum, who I know has not technically been in a full Broadway show, but I'm including her anyway) sharing a birthday on Friday, September 12! So today, I'm going to focus on the one who has the most Broadway credits, Will Chase.

Now known for his recurring role as Luke Wheeler in ABC's TV show, Nashville, Will Chase got his start with Broadway, as all the cool kids do.

In his Broadway career, which has as of now spanned 15 years, he managed to be involved in two of the most famous, long-running Broadway shows of the '90s and ended up being in the final Broadway casts of both. Well played Chase, well played.

He made his Broadway debut in 1998 as Chris in Miss Saigon, eventually playing opposite THE Kim, Lea Salonga (who won a Tony Award for originating the role on Broadway after she'd won an Olivier for originating the role on The West End). He played that role until the show closed its 20-year run in 2001.

As usual, I found a total gem. This is Will Chase and Lea Salonga performing the famous duet from Miss Saigon, "Last Night of the World." I'm not sure what context this performance was in, but it does not appear to be on Broadway. He's not my favorite Chris, but of course he's still brilliant, he just plays it differently than others.


He also appeared in Rent, for a few months in 2008, as Roger/Mark understudy. He later took over the role of Roger, and was again the last to play that role on Broadway, just like in Miss Saigon.

He has since starred in three original Broadway casts, including Lennon, High Fidelity, The Story of My Life, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, but none of them has run for longer than four months. However, he did get nominated for a Tony for Edwin Drood, so that four months paid off.

Here's a much less popular performance clip: Will Chase performing the most famous song from The Story of My Life, "The Butterfly." I only just discovered it within the last 24 hours, but it's lovely and sweet!


Of course, I will admit that I first knew him not from Broadway (I know, I'm a failure), but from- what else?- his role as homewrecker actor Michael Swift on NBC's Smash! See, everything comes back to Smash, eventually. He has also had numerous screen appearances, mostly on TV shows, but I'd say he is a pretty solid Broadway/screen crossover actor.

What are your thoughts on his portrayals of these iconic characters?

Sally Henry www.BroadwayWorld.com/author/Sally-Henry // Twitter: www.twitter.com/bwayginger // Facebook: www.facebook.com/singularsensationbway

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