Holiday Season on the Great White Way
by Amanda Calvin
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but also the busiest, especially for the Broadway theatre community.
While most of us are enjoying time off with our friends and family for the holidays, Broadway shows are entering their most strenuous weeks of the season. This means alternate scheduling, multiple two-show days per week and navigating the intense environment of Midtown Manhattan during the holidays. We asked Mac-Haydn alums Aneesa Folds (Freestyle Love Supreme), Eryn LeCroy (Phantom of the Opera), and Dan Macke (Dear Evan Hansen) how they handle the challenges that come with being on Broadway during the holiday season.
The most obvious change is the schedule. The holiday season creates a higher demand for tickets, prompting Broadway houses to add additional performances. “Typically Phantom Broadway is dark on Sundays” says Eryn LeCroy, “throughout the holiday season, however, our dark day is adjusted to accommodate the higher volume of ticket sales”. Last seen on the Mac-Haydn stage in 2016, most notably as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Eryn is currently making her Broadway debut as Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera. LeCroy explains “We have an added performance the week of Christmas, making that nine shows over the week instead of the usual eight”.
“It’s going to be a marathon getting to next week,” says Aneesa Folds, who is also making her Broadway debut in Freestyle Love Supreme, an improv-based hip-hop comedy show developed by collaborators Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail and Anthony Veneziale. We’re sure you remember Aneesa from her highly-praised performances in Mac-Haydn’s productions of Sister Act (Deloris Van Cartier) and Chicago (Matron Mama Morton), to name a few.
Dan Macke, Mac-Haydn alumnus from the 2017 resident company, who you may remember as Bobby in Saturday Night Fever and Barnaby Tucker in Hello, Dolly!, is also making his Broadway debut as the Connor/Jared standby in Dear Evan Hansen. “Spending all that time at the theatre can be mentally exhausting,” says Dan, who credits “finding ways to be away from the theatre in between shows” as the best way to keep his energy up during the busy time of year. LeCroy reveals that “rest and smart eating habits in general are key to conserving energy and remaining healthy not just during the holiday season, but also throughout the year”. At Freestyle Love Supreme, Aneesa notes that “the audience and cast are super energetic,” helping her to keep her spirits up through multiple performances.
More time on stage, however, means less time for baking cookies and holiday shopping. Hearing about their busy performance schedules led to our next question: how the performers’ holiday traditions differ when they are on Broadway. “I definitely don’t go home as often,” says Dan, “the theatre community in NYC, thankfully, makes the holidays away from relatives a lot less lonely”. Eryn agrees, “I’m not able to travel out of town over the holidays to see extended family,” but Dan, Aneesa and Eryn are fortunate enough to spend part of Christmas Eve and Day with their immediate families this year. Aneesa adds “I’m lucky enough to be living in New York where my family is from, so I still am able to spend time with them”.
In addition to family traditions, the Broadway community has traditions of their own, both unique to each production and widespread over the entire district. The companies of Dear Evan Hansen, Freestyle Love Supreme, and Phantom of the Opera each hold a secret santa-type gift exchange, and Eryn tells us that Phantom hosts “a Christmas party for our company and family members of the company in the downstairs lobby of the Majestic”. If you’ve ever attended a show in New York around this time of year, you’ve seen the red buckets that appear after each performance. Eryn explains, “the Broadway community unites together leading into the holiday season to raise money and awareness for the non-profit organization Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS,” which is accomplished through curtain speeches, red bucket collections, and the recording of an annual album, Carols for a Cure, from which all proceeds go to BC/EFA.
Despite the crazy schedule, Aneesa, Dan and Eryn have taken the time to recognize what they’re grateful for this holiday season. For Aneesa, it’s her immediate family and friends. “I’m extra grateful for my Freestyle Love family and my first Christmas on Broadway. I feel surrounded by love and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”. “The holidays remind me to be thankful for family always,” says Dan, “and I’m so grateful to be a part of this DEH family for another holiday season”. Eryn tells us “I am so thankful for my supportive family, my incredible friends, and the opportunity to perform a dream role in a show and in a city that I love”.
To see our wonderful alumni Aneesa, Dan and Eryn on stage, check out the links below. Happy Holidays from all of us here at the Mac-Haydn Theatre!
Freestyle Love Supreme, the hip-hop musical phenomenon from Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Anthony Veneziale (runs through January 12, 2020)
Dear Evan Hansen, the Tony and Grammy award winning hit musical by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Steven Levenson
The Phantom of the Opera, the longest running show in Broadway history, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber
GivingTuesday 2019December 3, 2019
GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement started in 2012 which is unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and their world in the hope of building a brighter future for all. This year we at the Mac-Haydn wanted to use this day of incredible global generosity as a springboard for the final weeks of our 2019 Annual Fund.
As a non-profit theatre, our work to transform our community through high level and accessible live theatrical experiences could not be more in line with the spirit of GivingTuesday. Your contributions to the Annual Fund at this time of year carry us through the winter months and allow us to prepare the award-winning productions you have come to expect.
We ask you to join the millions of people and organizations throughout the world this GivingTuesday by helping the Mac-Haydn Theatre continue our highly important contribution to the cultural landscape of Columbia County.
5 Berkies for the Mac-HaydnNovember 12, 2019
The Mac-Haydn has won 5 Berkshire Theatre Awards for 3 different productions including Best Musical for our magnificent production of Ragtime!
The fourth annual Berkshire Theatre Awards were announced at the Awards Ceremony at the Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsfield, MA on Monday, November 11th. We were so honored to be acknowledged in such a whole-hearted manner by the Critic’s Association members.
Our 5 winners were:
Best Production of a Musical
We were nominated across multiple categories and a huge congratulations to all those involved in this very special season. We couldn’t be happier that the work is being acknowledged in this way.
The full list of Berkie winners and nominees can be found on the Berkshire Critics Association Website.
The Mac Receives 11 “Berkie” Nominations for 2019!November 5, 2019
The Berkshire Theatre Critics Association has announced the nominations for the 2019 Berkshire Theatre Awards (“The Berkies”) and The Mac-Haydn Theatre has received a total of 11 nominations!
Subscribe to 2020October 7, 2019
Avoid the 2020 ticket increase by subscribing today!
Did you love our Summer ’19 Season and just know you’re going to want to see everything Artistic Director John Saunders offers up in 2020?
Become a subscriber before November 1st, get a free ticket coupon and save 29.5% on the individual ticket price. You’ll also avoid our 2020 pricing increase. That’s an additional saving of 5% on the 2020 subscription price.
- Before November 1st: $237 (7 shows + 1 seat for the price of 6!)
- After November 1st: $252 ($36 per seat)
- Individual Ticket Price: $294 ($42 per seat)
We hope you will trust John Saunders to take you down another remarkable path of musical theatre in 2020 by subscribing today. He cannot wait to inspire you once again with the incredible scope of our artistic achievements.
Subscribe Online Today
You can now fill out our subscriber request online with our secure Digital Subscriber Form! Save time and get your subscription started today.
Subscribe Via Mail
Sunset Boulevard A Tour De ForceJune 23, 2019
Lisa Jarisch shows admiration for our Sunset Boulevard in her review for Berkshire on Stage
“Producing Artistic Director John Saunders has created his own Most Memorable offering; indeed this show may very well turn out to be the crown jewel of the season.”
“Elizabeth Ward Land’s performance is a true tour de force.”