All’s well that ends well this Saturday when Lyrics &Lyricists presents its final show of the season, “Brush Up Your Shakespeare: The Bard and the Broadway Musical.” The cast includes three 92Y newcomers who are eager to introduce themselves with our L&L Q&A.
Britney Coleman, who has appeared across the country as Deena in Dreamgirls, Rapunzel in Into the Woods and Kala in Tarzan: The Musical
Daniel Breaker, who played the Donkey in Shrek the Musical and the Youth in Passing Strange on Broadway
Heather Jane Rolff, who’s just finished the 25th anniversary North American tour of Les Misérables
What’s your favorite song from the American Songbook?
Britney: “My Funny Valentine” by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart
Daniel: At the moment, “Willow Willow Willow” from the musical Kean by Robert Wright and George Forrest. This is such a haunting piece that beautifully compliments the “Willow” song in Verdi’s Otello.
Heather: I think my “favorites” change with my moods, but I will always have a soft spot for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg, “Come Rain or Come Shine” by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer and “What’ll I Do?” by Irving Berlin.
What other artists would you like to perform with whom you haven’t yet?
Britney: Audra McDonald!
Daniel: If Audra McDonald is looking for an acting partner, please tell her to give me a call.
Heather: Bernadette Peters, Martina McBride and Reba McEntire
What is your favorite “guilty pleasure” song beyond the American Songbook—rock, country, hiphop, etc?
Britney: Anything and everything Motown. Mary Wells’ “Two Lovers” is a particular favorite. I can never get enough of The Punch Brothers, India.Arie, Janelle Monae and Sarah Vaughan, as well as Blood, Sweat and Tears. You could say I have eclectic taste.
Daniel: This list is ever changing. At the moment: “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead. I sang this song at my last concert at 54 Below. People weren’t expecting me to sing that type of song. It’s always a delight to surprise the audience.
Heather: I listen to absolutely everything except Heavy Metal!! I especially love all things country, and my “go-to” happy music is singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles.
What was your first professional gig?
Britney: My dad is a recording artist in Michigan, and when I was around five years old, he wrote and produced a song called “Stop the Violence.” You can hear me at the end of the track saying, “Stop the violence just for us kids!”
Daniel: The Taming of the Shrew in an open air theater in Jacksonville, Florida…in August. A heavy wool costume, a bloody mouth, and a few cases of heat stroke. All in all, lots of fun.
Heather: I got my Equity card doing the world premiere of a musical called Meet Me At The Pitkin, about performers in the heydays of Brooklyn’s legendary Lowe’s Pitkin Theatre in the 1930s.
If you weren’t a performer, what would you do?
Britney: I would teach. I’ve always been interested in Music Education, so I have no doubt this will happen at some point down the line.
Daniel: Two options: (1) Open a restaurant in Sydney, Australia; or (2) become the principle conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. After Simon Rattle steps down, of course.
Heather: I would definitely be a professional crafter, scrapbooker and master bedazzler—a mini Martha Stewart, if you will!
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Britney: Kashkaval (856 9th Ave) in Hell’s Kitchen
Daniel: Impossible question. For seafood, Le Bernardin (155 W 51st St). For French cuisine, Buvette (42 Grove St). For Nouveau-Korean, Momofuko Ssam Bar (207 2nd Ave). For steak, Porterhouse at Columbus Circle (10 Columbus Circle, 4th floor). This list just made me hungry.
Heather: This is a complicated question to ask someone who just spent the better part of two years touring (and eating) her way across the country. In Seattle, it’s Salumi (309 Third Ave South). In St. Louis, it’s Cleveland Heath (106 North Main St, Edwardsville, IL). In Boston, it’s The Barking Crab (88 Sleeper St) and The Friendly Toast (1 Hampshire St, Cambridge). In Chicago, it’s Hot Doug’s (3324 N California Ave) and Yolk (three locations). My favorite “anytime” place in New York City is 5 Napkin Burger (four locations).
Who’s your favorite Beatle, and why?
Britney: I have no business choosing just one, but my mom’s favorite has always been John Lennon because of his focus on peace, acceptance and love in both his music and personal life. I’d say I have to agree with her 100%!
Daniel: I would say my favorite is the Western Bark Beetle for its resilience. Also, Ringo Starr is pretty cool, too.
Heather: I don’t think it’s nice to play favorites when it comes to The Beatles!!