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Top Scene-Stealing Performances on Broadway this Season

Category Broadway

|by Mark Robinson |

Forget “supporting role” – these performers are scene-stealing stars

Not everyone can play the lead in a musical, and not everyone should want to. There are great opportunities to be found in the realm of the supporting role, and prime opportunities to steal the show for those who are willing to put their heart into their work. This has been demonstrated time and again on Broadway. Here are some roles from current Broadway musicals that practically steal the show from the leads.  

Squidward (Gavin Lee) of 'SpongeBob SquarePants, The Musical' stops the show with his many-tentacled tap number (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Squidward (Gavin Lee) of 'SpongeBob SquarePants, The Musical' stops the show with his many-tentacled tap number (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Lindsay Mendez as Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel
All anyone has to do to witness the usurpation of a musical by a supporting character is pop in to the current Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. Lindsay Mendez won a Tony for the playing the role of Carrie Pipperidge, the opinionated and stuck-up best friend of the lead character Julie Jordan. Carrie sings the comedic ditty “Mister Snow,” one of the musical’s highlights, and also has great moments throughout the show.

Gavin Lee as Squidward in SpongeBob SquarePants, The Musical 
Ethan Slater is a trouper, overflowing with heart and humor as the title character in SpongeBob SquarePants, The Musical, but Gavin Lee as the curmudgeonly Squidward gives him a run for his money. Yes, the show may be all about the altruistic yellow guy who radiates optimism, but it is the dry sarcasm of the multi-legged cynical cephalopod that keeps the show from becoming too saccharine. His “I’m Not a Loser” is one of the musical’s show-stopping moments, a dexterous feat of costume management, crankiness and choreography.

Norbert Leo Butz as Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady
Professor Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle are the central characters of the Lerner and Loewe musical classic My Fair Lady. Their central conflict is full of humor, and yet, when Alfred P. Doolittle (Eliza’s Father) enters the production, he steals every scene in which he appears. Currently, Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz is wowing audiences as Alfie, the character who espouses his theories on middle-class morality and stops the show with his two big numbers, “With A Little Bit of Luck” and “Get Me to the Church on Time.”  

Major Attaway as The Genie in Aladdin
Even though the musical is called Aladdin and the story centers on the title character’s journey, we have to confess that we sit in anticipation of the arrival of magic-wielding Genie of the lamp, currently portrayed on Broadway by Major Attaway. With show-stopping numbers like “Prince Ali” and “Friend Like Me,” how can we not be eager for the humor and the heart he provides in the show? We all wish we had someone by our side who could make our wishes come true, and that is why Genie draws our attention as the most memorable character in Aladdin.

Alex Newell as Asaka in Once on this Island 
There are so many great roles and so many vibrant musical numbers in the Ahrens and Flaherty musical Once on This Island that it is hard to single any one out. But the character of Asaka (Mother Earth), played by Alex Newell in the current Broadway revival, commands the show with verve and gusto. Asaka’s big song, “Mama Will Provide,” is an explosion of energy that is easily the most memorable moment in the Caribbean-flavored folk tale, a full-hearted affirmation of all the good things that the earth provides to her children.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at

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