Twenty years after making her Broadway debut in the original cast of Hairspray, Shoshana Bean recently earned her first Tony Award nomination — as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her portrayal as Susan in Mr. Saturday Night. It also marks Bean’s first leading originating role after playing Elphaba in Wicked and Jenna in Waitress.
The show, starring Billy Crystal, is an adaptation of the 1992 film about a Jewish has-been comedian looking to revitalize his stale career. Its final performance will be on September 4. Bean plays Susan Young, Crystal’s 40-year-old daughter, who is also looking for a second chance, being newly sober and yearning for her father’s attention and approval.
“It’s just given me a renewed sense of pride in my Jewish heritage,” Bean said by phone of taking on this role that she described as most like her out of all the different characters she’s played. “It is nice to be playing a Jew for once, and it’s nice to see other Jews playing Jews.”
During the past few months of the run, Bean has developed a special father-daughter relationship with Crystal on stage and off. She added that it’s been “an honor to learn more about the lineage and legacy of the Jewish comics and who influenced [Crystal’s] artistry and career.”
It’s also been a whirlwind of firsts for Bean since the show opened at the end of April. She sang the national anthem at the New York Yankees home opener, where Crystal threw out the first pitch. “I have never, in the 20-plus years that I have lived and been in and out of New York, ever been to a Yankees game. So that was exciting,” she told Broadway Direct. “I remember telling myself before I went up, ‘Take your time.’ So I just took my time and I just indulged in the moment.”
Broadway Direct spoke with Bean on two occasions — before the Tony Awards and after — about what it’s like performing opposite the king of comedy every night.
What was it like to be part of this past Tony Award season? This was a first for you!
The coolest part about it is that it’s the inaugural season of bringing theater back to our audiences after being shut down. So there’s a lot of great pride in specifically being part of that season.
What was it like for you on Tony Awards night?
It’s work. When you’re actually nominated and you’re actually performing, it’s a very long day of work. I was at the theatre at 7 a.m. getting into hair and my costume to get over to Radio City to rehearse. Then go back [to the theatre to change]. It was the day of the Puerto Rican parade. It took me an hour and half to get from the [Nederlander] theatre to the Carlyle [hotel, where I was getting ready for the red carpet and staying for the night], and then an hour from the Carlyle to Radio City. Traffic was insane. [After the red carpet,] as soon as I sat in my seat I had to change to go and perform. I was surprised at how much of it was work. I [always thought of it as] like a fairy tale where you just get into a beautiful dress. The best part about it is the reunion of it all. It’s 20 years of relationships, friendships, and peers.
I’m curious how this role of Susan came about. I know you go way back with composer Jason Robert Brown.
We never talked about it. We used to walk our dogs in Riverside Park. I’ve known he was working on this show for forever. But he never ever once said, “There’s a role here for you.” It actually came to me through another friend who said this would be a great role for [me]. Then the audition came through. And it felt all bashert.
My first audition was in November . I put myself on tape and then had a couple in-person work sessions with Billy in Los Angeles, which were so magical and special. I went to his house. He’d give me little adjustments. And John Rando, the director, was also in the room. It was a really cool experience to be doing the audition with the actual person you might be playing opposite. I remember feeling obviously very nervous driving up to the house. I’m about to meet this living legend who I feel like has been with me for my whole life because of his movies. As I was driving up, I remember thinking, “Oh, he’s just family, though. He’s a Jewish grandfather. You know him, you have him in your family, this shouldn’t feel weird.” Sure enough, I went into the house and it felt comfortable and familiar immediately.
What do you recall about meeting him?
The first time we actually met was at the Beverly Hills Hotel with Benj Pasek. It was the Oscars 2018, I think, and Benj and I were going to an Oscars party. We were walking through the lobby and Billy was there with his wife. Benji was talking to him and I was like, “Oh, yeah, I was in the original cast of Hairspray,” because he’s dear friends with Marc Shaiman. I was trying to sort of validate myself. Now I love to give him a hard time about that story because he barely acknowledged me.
When we did the audition at his pool house, the first thing I saw when I walked in was, like, this little model of a theatre and a marquee. It said on it Frank Sinatra, featuring Buddy Young Jr. or something like that. It had the character from Mr. Saturday Night’s name. And Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra is my everything. That was how I sort of started a conversation with him. He said, “It was one of the models from the movie. Back in the day we used to make mini models and then we shoot from below with a wide lens and they would look larger than life. We had a million of them from the movie, but I liked this one, because it had Frank on it. I had to keep it.” I immediately felt like Frank was there. He loves Frank as much as I do. Still to this day, one of our biggest bonding points is Frank Sinatra. So I just remember seeing that and thinking, “I’m going to be fine.”
What’s the funniest thing he’s said to you so far?
To be really honest and fair, he’s very serious in person. My instinct is always to crack wise with him because he’s a comedian. You think that that’s how they kind of live their lives, but they don’t. He’s one of the more serious people that I know. I often give him a hard time because I’ll say something and he doesn’t get it.
He gives me a really hard time about the clothes I wear. He’s such a dad in that way. I have these shoes that are incredible. Believe me: If you saw them you would love them. They’re black loafer slides and have these massive chains on them. He always calls my shoes “charm bracelets.”
You play a serious character opposite a legendary comedian. How has that been going for you?
It’s hard because you gauge the acceptance of the audience by whether they’re laughing, especially in a comedy like this. And my character is not particularly funny. She has a couple moments, but most of the time she’s upset with your leading man who you’re all falling in love with. So it’s been challenging for me, but also a master class to watch a comic legend at work. To watch how he massages the audience, to see how he treats the text of comedy the way that I treat really great compositions. It’s music. There’s a rhythm, there’s timing, there’s a melody to it. And it’s fascinating to watch and learn [from him].
How different is playing Susan from any other role you’ve done? Because it’s completely opposite from your teenage days in Hairspray. And it’s nowhere near Elphaba. And it’s nothing like playing Jenna in Waitress.
Susan is probably the closest to Shoshana that I’ve ever had to play.
There’s nothing to hide behind. There’s no makeup to hide behind. There’s no era. I know we’re in the ’90s. But as the ’90s are making a comeback, I’m really just any girl. There’s no big costumes to hide behind. There’s no big song to hide behind. No huge vocals to hide behind. And she’s a woman about my age, dealing with family issues that I’m not unfamiliar with in my own life. It’s not an exact mirror, but it’s not off base. She’s a Jewish girl. That’s the thing that jumped off the page to me immediately: a Jewish family, got it. It’s an immediate familiarity because there’s such consistency culturally; doesn’t matter where you’re from. My dad and I have a beautiful, wonderful relationship. But we’ve definitely had our journey. So dad-daughter stuff is always very close to home for me. I, myself, have not struggled with substance abuse. But plenty of people in my family have, so I’m familiar with that journey. And I know how challenging sobriety can be. To play a character that is so newly sober, and in my guesstimation, it’s not the first time she’s tried to get sober. Susan’s whole deal is just feeling overlooked and unseen. And I hate to say it, but who can’t relate to that?
Are you sad that you don’t get the laughs in the show?
No, I get a couple. But I know my purpose. And in this show, in particular, my job is just to get the tears, not the laughs.
I’d love to hear about your new residency at the Pebble Bar.
It’s in full swing. It’s a total of eight weeks. We have four more, but it’s all sold out.
Can you tell us the inspiration for what the show is?
As a creative, a performer, a songwriter, and someone who’s used to being on the road doing the same thing every night, it’s nice for me to have a place to go every Sunday at the end of the weekend and open up vocally. We don’t really rehearse. We throw a set list together and see what happens. It’s largely improvisational and experimental. There are special guests. The crowd sings along. It’s a very intimate setting. The other inspiration was to do something totally different in a space that’s never really been used as a venue. The Pebble Bar isn’t really a traditional performance space. We just made it work.
Is there one thing that Billy Crystal taught you about comedy that you’re going to take with you when the show closes in September?
A lot of the conversations we have are, as cliché as this sounds, about timing. That has been something that I’ve learned and because of the material that I’ve been given. There has been a lot of discovery on my own. A lot of the stuff that he talks about is like, If you get to this beat faster, you’re gonna get a bigger laugh. He and I both have sort of weirdly fueled each other in a way, where I came in less confident with some of my scene work in this show and he came in less confident with some of his singing in the show. The two of us have been needling each other with the same stuff. He’ll be like, “You’ve got it, just be confident,” and I’m like, “You’ve got it, just be confident.”
Check out more photos from our exclusive photoshoot with Shoshana Bean here.
Information We Collect
Information we collect directly from you: Your provision of your personal information to Us is completely voluntary; it is not a statutory or contractual requirement. Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”) is information that is uniquely identifiable to you, such as your name, address, email address, phone number, credit card number and other personal information that is not otherwise publicly available. Certain features of Our website may require that you provide Us with your personal information, including:
Mobile Alert Sign-Up (SMS)
Contact Us (email)
Public forums (e.g. message boards)
E-commerce (ticket purchases)
Your use of any of the features above;
New content on Our website;
News that We think may interest you about Us;
Responses to your questions/comments to us; and
Information relating to a ticket purchase.
We may use your demographic information for in house statistics, advertising and marketing target information. Our processing of your personal information is necessary for the performance and fulfillment of the contract between us and to provide you with Our services. We will also process, transfer, disclose and preserve personal information when We have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary, to resolve disputes, enforce our agreements and otherwise required by law. You can always opt-out of receiving future promotional communications from Us; see the Choice/Opt-out section below.Information We Collect Automatically: Even if you don’t use any of the features above, when you visit Our website, We may collect certain information about you.
From your Browser. For example, Our servers keep an activity log that tracks all visitors to the website. The information in the activity log does not identify you individually. The information collected may include among other data: your IP address, your registered domain or home server, time of access, date of access, web page(s) visited, number of clicks, software crash reports, type of browser used, session identification number, search terms, search results, access times and referring website’s address. We use your IP address to help diagnose problems with Our server and to administer Our website. Your IP address is also used to gather broad demographic information, such as country of origin and geographic location. We use such data in the aggregate to run internal analyses to improve upon your experience on Our website.
Tracking Tags (also known as “web beacons,” “action tags” or “single-pixel gifs”). Our website may also use tracking tags. Tracking tags are invisible graphics embedded in the pages of Our website that are programmed to collect non-personal information about your use of Our website. Like cookies, tracking tags provide overall usage patterns for Our website that We use for analysis and to provide personalized services and advertising content.
We comply with the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising set forth by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). You can opt-out of targeted advertising from certain providers at www.aboutads.info/consumers.
How We Use Your Personal Information
The personal information We collect allows Us to keep you posted on updates to Broadway Direct. It also helps Us to improve Our services, content, and advertising. If you don’t want to be on Our email list, you can opt out anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” button or sending an unsubscribe email to [email protected]. From time to time, We may use your personal information to send transactional emails, such as communications about purchases and changes to Our terms, conditions, and policies. Because this information is important to your interaction with Broadway Direct, you may not opt out of receiving these communications. We may also use personal information for internal purposes such as auditing, data analysis, and research to improve Broadway Direct’s services, and customer communications. If you enter into a sweepstakes, contest, or similar promotion We may use the information you provide to administer those programs.
Information Collected By/Shared With Third Parties
Third Parties Doing Work for Us. Third parties have no rights to use any data We have collected on your behalf. However, We may employ other companies or individuals to perform functions on Our behalf, such as sending postal mail, email, and text messages, conducting sweepstakes/contests, prize fulfillment and promotional activities, analyzing data, providing marketing assistance, processing credit card payments and providing customer service. These outside suppliers, agents and vendors have access to your personal information only as needed to perform their functions.
Third Parties with Links from Our Website. From our website, you may be able to click on links to third party sites to buy tickets and merchandise and for other purposes. These third party sites may collect information, including personal information. We are not responsible for, nor do we have access to the information they collect. The collection of this information is governed by the privacy policies on the applicable third party sites.
Social Networking Services. Our website may integrate with social networking services. We do not control such services and are not liable for the manner in which they operate. While we may provide you with the ability to use such services in connection with our website, we are doing so merely as an accommodation and, like you, are relying upon those third party services to operate properly and fairly.
When necessary. We may also release personal information when we believe, in good faith, that such release is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Ourselves, Our clients, Our users, or others. We may disclose personal information about you to law enforcement, other government officials, or other third parties, as We, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate, in connection with an investigation of fraud, intellectual property infringement, or other activity that is illegal or may expose Us to legal liability.
Transactions With Third Party E-commerce Partners, Vendors and Advertisers
Delivery of Advertising and Other Content
In addition to ads and content that We may serve you directly, We use third-party advertising companies and marketing services companies to serve ads and other content when you visit Broadway Direct and elsewhere on the internet and in other media. Both We and these companies may use information about your visits to Broadway Direct and elsewhere to serve ads and other content to you. In the course of doing so, a unique third-party cookie may be placed or recognized on your browser by such companies. In addition, We and these companies may use Web beacons to help manage Our online advertising and content. These Web beacons enable Us and the third-party companies to recognize a browser’s cookie when a browser visits this Site and to learn which banner ads bring users to our website and to serve you ads that you may find of interest elsewhere on the internet and in other media. Both Broadway Direct and these companies may use information obtained from your visits to Broadway Direct or other websites, and information received from you offline in order to provide advertisements about goods and services and other content of interest to you across the internet and in other media. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used in this manner by Our third party advertising companies, please visit http://www.networkadvertising.org/optout_nonppii.asp and/or www.aboutads.info/choices. European users may opt out of receiving targeted advertising by visiting http://www.youronlinechoices.eu/. In addition, we may provide PII and Anonymous Information to marketing services companies. This may include information we received from you offline or online. These companies may combine information we provide (including PII and Anonymous Information) with personal and anonymous information they may have about you, using cookies they place or that We place on their behalf, as described in the section regarding “Cookies and Tracking Tags”. We require these companies to delete the PII we provide them. These companies may use the resulting non-personal information and such cookies for their own marketing purposes, and they may provide the same to their customers for their customer’s marketing purposes. Some of Our emails may contain tags that allow Us and Our advertisers and other partners to determine the types of content that may be of interest to you. Those tags may contain PII and may be shared with others to the same extent indicated in the section regarding “Cookies and Tracking Tags”. Those tags may not be deleted but you can opt out of receiving the emails.
Use of This Site by Children
The Site is not directed to individuals under the age of thirteen (13), and We request that such individuals do not provide personal information through the Site. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided Us with PII without the parent or guardian’s consent by, for example, misrepresenting his or her age, that parent or guardian should contact us at [email protected]. If Broadway Direct determines that it has collected personal information of children under the age of 13, Broadway Direct will immediately delete such information and any accounts believed to be held by children under 13. In addition, we may not collect or process information from a citizen of an EU member state under the age of sixteen (16) without such person’s parental consent. If you are a citizen of an EU member state under the age of 16, please tell your parents that you are using the Site and have your parents email Us at [email protected] so that We may delete any information We may have collected about you.
California Civil Code § 1798.83 permits California residents to request information about whether we have disclosed personal information to any third parties for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes. California residents have the right to request in writing: (a) a list of the categories of Personal Information, such as name, email address and mailing address and the type of services provided to the customer that a business has disclosed to third parties (including affiliates that are separate legal entities) during the immediately preceding calendar year for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes and (b) the names and addresses of all such third parties. To make a request, please contact Us at the following email address: [email protected].
Rights of EU Data Subjects
If you are a resident of the European Union, under the GDPR, European Union residents, as data subjects, have the following rights:
Right to access – This right allows individuals to obtain confirmation as to whether or not personal information concerning him or her is being processed and provide access to such personal information. It also allows individuals to request details of the processing of his or her personal information, including, without limitation, categories of recipients to whom the personal information have been or will be disclosed and purposes of processing.
Right to rectify – This right allows individuals to rectify any inaccurate personal information about him or her.
Right to restrict processing – This right allows individuals to block or suppress processing of personal data under certain circumstances.
Right to be forgotten – This right is also known as the “right to erasure”. It is an individual’s right to have personal data erased or to prevent processing in specific circumstances.
Right of data portability – This right allows individuals to move, copy or transfer personal data from one place to another in a secure manner without interrupting the integrity and usability of the information.
Right to object to processing – This right allows individuals to object to certain types of processing, including direct marketing, profiling and providing for purposes of scientific or historical research and statistics.
An EU resident has the right to access his or her personal data that We hold and to ask that their personal data be corrected or erased and to port their data. An EU resident may also have the right to object to, or request that We restrict certain processing or to withdraw consent previously provided. If you would like to exercise your rights under the GDPR, please contact us at [email protected]. If you are an EU resident and have a concern about our processing of your personal data that we are not able to resolve, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Data Protection Authority where you reside. For contact details of your relevant local Data Protection Authority, please see http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/article29/item-detail.cfm?item_id=612080
Security of Your Personal Information
Broadway Direct employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for personal information collected through this Site, including physical, electronic and operational measures to maintain security and prevent unauthorized access. While Broadway Direct takes all appropriate steps to safeguard personal information under Our control, unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet or method of storing data can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As such, We cannot guarantee that personal information supplied by users will not be accessed on Our servers, or intercepted while being transmitted to Us over the Internet. We assume no liability for any damages you may suffer as a result of interception, alteration or misuse of information during such transfers.
We will retain your information for as long as your account or inquiry is active and for a reasonable time thereafter in accordance with Our standard procedures or as necessary to comply with Our legal obligations, to resolve disputes, and to enforce Our agreements. Even if We delete some or all of your Personal Information, We may continue to retain and use aggregate or anonymous data previously collected and/or anonymize or aggregate your Personal Information. Please note that We will not be liable for disclosures of your data due to errors or unauthorized acts of third parties.
This Site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from Us, at any time, by email at [email protected], or by clicking the unsubscribe link in any email communication. The Site gives users the following options for removing their information from our database, to not receive future communications or to no longer receive our service, at any time.
Users can send mail to the following postal address: Broadway Direct 1501 Broadway 14th floor New York, NY 10036
Users can call the following telephone number: (800) 223-6715.
Users can opt-out of receiving future newsletter emails from Us by selecting the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of our email. However, We are not responsible for removing your information from the lists of any third party who has previously been provided with your information or is collecting your information through their cookies. You have the right to withdraw your consent for Our processing for your personal information by contacting us at [email protected].
This website gives users the following options for changing and modifying information previously provided, at any time.
Users can send mail to the following postal address: Broadway Direct 1501 Broadway 14th floor New York, NY 10036
Users can call the following telephone number: (800) 223-6715
In the event that We are, or any component of our operations is, merged with, or is acquired by, another entity, then any such successor or acquiring entity may become the successor to Our obligations with respect to the personal information that you have provided to Us, which would be necessary for the entity to effectively continue our business. By using this website, you consent to any transfer and use of such personal information by an entity assuming control of Our operations as a result of a merger, purchase of assets, or liquidation in bankruptcy or insolvency.