The Seth Rudetsky Broadway Concert Series presented by Mark Cortale returns to Parker Playhouse in January. The series, co-presented by the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, delivers three intimate evenings of incredible music and hilarious conversations hosted and music directed by Sirius XM Radio star Seth Rudetsky, whom the New York Times dubbed “The Mayor of Broadway.” The second of the three shows features Stephanie J. Block on February 22 at 8pm.
Stephanie J. Block, won this year’s Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her starring role in the Broadway hit musical The Cher Show. She also starred in the New York Revival of Falsettos (Tony Award Nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Outer Critics Award Nomination, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical), Little Miss Sunshine (Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Tony Award Nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical and Drama Desk Award Nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical), Anything Goes, By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, 9 to 5: The Musical (Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress in a Musical), Wicked, The Pirate Queen and The Boy from OZ. She starred in the First National Touring Company of Wicked as Elphaba (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress, Carbonell Award for Best Actress in a Musical). Block’s also has many regional credits and has sung with numerous symphony orchestras around the U.S. Her solo concert has been critically acclaimed in NYC and London. Her voice can be heard on the original cast recordings of The Boy From OZ, The Pirate Queen and 9 To 5: The Musical (Grammy Nomination) and, of course, her own album, This Place I Know. She is a proud member of The Musical Theatre Guild and has been a member of Actors Equity since 1995.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Stephanie J. Block, for this exclusive Hotspots interview:
Were you always a performer even as a child?
I was always a performer. My parents tell me I started singing commercials in the house around 3. I would go to parties, and I would put my piggy bank in the middle of the floor before I would start to perform.
What was your first professional role?
My first paid role was a voice-over when I was 13 for Crispy Crunch cereal and then at 15 I was one of the three little pigs at Disney Land.
When did you know entertaining would be your career?
I knew when I was 11, because my discipline was such that I wanted nothing else. My priority was always the arts.
How did you get cast in the Cher show?
I got cast despite myself. I turned it down many times, and then Jason Moore, the director, took me to dinner and convinced me to take the role.
How was it to meet Cher?
It was jaw dropping, it really was. She is a complete star…a celestial force. She is small in stature but when she walks in to a room everyone knows something has happened. There is a massive molecular and energy shift. She is authentically herself, which is beautiful and completely disarming at the same time!
How exciting was it to win the Tony?
It was thrilling. The beautiful part of it was that I have been such a journeymen in this industry. This was my 8th Broadway show and 11th overall. I never thought this was the role I would win the Tony For, but I felt completely at home because I looked up and saw my community of 18 years.
Other than this role, what was your favorite role to play?
Because I put in so much into every role it makes it so difficult to choose. But there was something so indelible in playing Trina in Falsetto. We were telling a story that was beautiful and important. That moment in time was particularly special.
What is your fantasy role?
There are many, but the two that are at the forefront are: Mrs. Lovett in Sweeny Todd, and Aurora in Kiss of the Spider Woman.
Describe yourself in three words?
Hardworking, silly and vulnerable.
What do you do for fun?
I have a kid, so there is not a whole lot of fun time. But I love to read, travel and shop online. I also cherish spending time with my husband of 12 years. I actually married my Fierro.
How did you meet Seth?
He is such a beautiful crazy lunatic and he is part of the institution. I remember him complimenting my high note. I trust him as he is a kind human being and I just go along for the ride.
What should our readers expect from your performance in the Broadway Series?
You are going to expect a lot of big tunes, from the Cher show, Falsetto, dream roles that I desperately want to play and haven’t. Sondheim, and a few tunes from composers and Lyricists that the audience will not know, but are new and they will eventually love.
For more information on Stephanie, go to: StephanieJBlock.Com.
For tickets, which range from $37 to $67, and information, please visit ParkerPlayhouse.com and Ticketmaster.com; by phone at 954.462.0222; in person at the Parker Playhouse box office Tuesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and at the Broward Center’s AutoNation Box Office in Holiday Park at 707 N.E. Eighth Street in Fort Lauderdale.