Understudy Magic from Keith R. Smith

I am an understudy. I used to actually be in the cast on Broadway and off. But since I had my son (who is now 8 and the perfect excuse for any of my shortcomings) I have done more and more understudying. Also Broadway, where I started my career, has become more competitive for the unknown actors like me. Celebrity culture has taken over the great white way. At least it has in my world.

 Keith R. Smith, Charles Weldon, Donshea Hopkins, Tyrone Mitchelle Henderon, & Me

Keith R. Smith, Charles Weldon, Donshea Hopkins, Tyrone Mitchelle Henderon, & Me


So there I was a couple of weeks ago understudying the lead in an off Broadway hit show, the show would be closing soon and hopes of going on for me were slim to none. There were none.

But Keith went on. OMG. I watched the show from the last row in the audience. He ushered magic into the theatre that night. The cast members (who were always wonderful) were electrified with the energy of the unknown. And then Keith brought his own rugged masculine personal history to the role.

This was especially meaningful to me because Keith and I both made our Broadway debut back in 1990 in the very same show. This play was my first love, a in which play I know ALL the lines, because I did it for months on Broadway plus the first national tour. Here’s the thing. What I experienced that night, watching him, I can’t make you feel. That’s what theatre does, it makes you remember, feel and then it disappears. Not even Youtube can recreate it. Oh well.  To add your own experience about theatre click here. 

Rosalyn Coleman Williams