“Come From Away” and “Mean Girls”
Follow Broadway's biggest stars during their breaks between matinee and evening performances. Stomp your feet along with Caesar Samoya from “Come From Away” as he teaches a dance class. Look inside the Burn Book with Kate Rockwell from “Mean Girls.” Go behind the scenes of Broadway’s biggest theatres as actors get ready for the curtain to rise.
This is "Broadway Sandwich."
We're hanging out with your favorite Broadway performers
to find out what they do in their few short hours
sandwiched between their matinee and evening performances.
Join me as we find out
what makes up the meat of this Broadway sandwich.
♪ Somewhere in the middle of nowhere ♪
We're at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre,
where the matinee of "Come From Away"
is just about to end.
♪ There you'll find
"Come From Away" is the true story
about a tiny town in Newfoundland
in the days after 9/11.
♪ Farewell, you Newfoundlander boys ♪
♪ You're leaving us alone
The people in town open their arms and homes
to strangers in a time of fear and tension.
♪ We're at the start of a moment ♪
The result is an incredible story
of kindness and generosity.
This cast of only 12 actors
portray over 30 roles in the show.
The cast was amazing.
I just love that there wasn't one star.
I loved how they flip-flopped with their roles.
Scribner: Today, we're meeting up with Caesar Samayoa.
♪ I'm an islander, I am an islander ♪
Caesar's two main characters are Kevin J,
a man who just wants to go home,
and Ali, an Egyptian Muslim.
♪ To the ones who have come from away ♪
♪ We say, "Welcome to the Rock!" ♪
How are you?
How was your show?
It was awesome. It was amazing.
Oh, my gosh.
It's so hot.
It's burning hot.
But it feels great.
It's literally the dead of summer.
So, we're going to teach a class right now? Yes.
Tell me about this Broadway classroom.
Oh, it's one of the organizations that I work with.
I love it so much.
We teach people of all ages,
but primarily kids from all over the country.
And it's basically an arts-outreach program
that I love and I'm happy to be involved with.
Oh, it's acting, singing, dancing?
It's the whole thing, and I'm gonna be teaching them
the opening to "Come From Away."
-Oh, fun! -Yeah.
I teach a good three to five times a week.
It's one of my passions.
You don't find that tiring, with eight shows a week?
I find it energizing. I find this show energizing.
Hi. How are you? Hey.
Thank you so much for being here.
I'm so excited to be teaching you all.
This show means the world to me,
and to be able to teach you a little bit of our process
and a little bit of the music and the movement
behind "Come From Away" is just so cool.
So, if everyone could stomp with me.
[ Feet stomping ]
The lower you get with your body,
the better it will be, yes.
So, we go one, two, three, four.
If you could repeat, "I'm an islander.
I am an islander."
Together: I'm an islander. I am an islander.
I'm an islander. I am an islander.
I'm an islander. I am an islander.
I'm an islander. I am an islander.
[ Applause ] [ Chuckles ]
So, we just finished, "I am an islander.
Welcome to this island with its...
We have this tradition at "Come From Away"
where each side of the stage connects right before we go on,
and we do a little chant together.
So, everyone, please put your hands in.
Let's do it. Here we go.
A five, six, seven, eight.
Together: We are here!
Samayoa: Awesome. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
Thank you so much.
Thank you for coming to this class
and really giving it your all.
It is such an honor to share this material with you.
[ Applause ]
Okay, so class is done. Yes.
That was really inspiring.
-I'm so glad you came. -Absolutely.
It's, like, the coolest thing.
And I see how it's energizing, in a way, you know,
to see the reactions from the students you're working with.
So, the show's only an hour and 40 minutes,
so you actually have a little bit of a longer period
between your matinee and evening
than other shows do who have an intermission.
So, now, after class, we're gonna go get something to eat.
Where are we gonna go?
I'm thinking of taking you to Gotham Market.
I just want to dig in. Go for it.
Please! Please, please, please.
So, tell me about how it was determined
what actors would play what characters in the show.
Well, the audition process was pretty lengthy,
and, for me, I read almost all the characters
when I was going in for the audition.
A lot of it had to do with logistics, too,
and how to figure that out.
I was, at one point, playing Bonnie's husband in the show,
back in La Jolla,
but that also had a scene with Bonnie's husband
and then Ali, all of a sudden, you know, one second later.
That was a little bit crazy. Yeah.
♪ Here on the edge of the Atlantic ♪
So, before you took the show to New York,
you took it to Gander and performed it there.
-Yeah. -What was that like?
It was one of the best experiences of my life.
You're playing this show for 5,000 people.
And when you think there's only a little bit over 7,000 people
at that point that -- that was the population.
So everybody came to the theater. In Gander. Yeah.
It was in an ice rink.
It was in the ice-hockey rink that we talk about.
But it became this huge rock concert,
'cause you would say the name "Beulah,"
and Beulah would be sitting right there in the second row.
And the whole place would just be like, "Beulah!"
And we start the show,
and there's this amazing drum beat
that's kind of like the heart of the show,
and the first thing that we all say in the show is,
"I'm an islander. I am an islander."
♪ I'm an islander, I am an islander ♪
♪ I'm an islander, I am an islander ♪
As soon as we said that,
the whole audience just went crazy.
I mean, they went crazy.
People just leapt up, and you saw every one of us
just start crying, like, all down the line,
and it was amazing.
It was completely life-changing.
[ Laughs ]
So, listen, I have a couple of minutes left before the show.
Do you want to see the dressing room?
I would love to see your dressing room!
I have so much to show you back here.
Okay, perfect. Let's go.
I know! [ Chuckles ]
Come on in.
We have some much memorabilia from, like, everything. Yeah.
We have fan art, we have quilts,
we have anything in print that was done about our show
or about a cast member.
It's all leading all the way up to our dressing room.
Oh, that's so cool.
"We are one." I love it.
Okay, how many more flights we got, Caesar?
This it. I swear this is it.
[ Both laugh ]
So, this is my dressing room. It's gorgeous.
It's just so calm, and there's this beautiful window
that looks over all the theaters here.
-You and Chad. -Me and Chad Kimball.
So nice! Yeah.
Most beautifully-decorated dressing room
I've seen in eight episodes.
You win the award.
Now, do you nap on that?
[ Both laugh ]
Chad naps on that, actually. Curled up and cozy.
He just curls up into a little ball.
Aww, like a little cat. So cute.
I love this little guy.
'Cause it's like an exact replica of my costume.
[ Both laugh ]
Including the jacket and everything.
It's such a difficult subject to address, too,
and I remember you even mentioning
that when your agent called to talk about the show
and mentioned it's a 9/11 show,
and you were like, "Not interested." Yeah.
And then he had to call you back and be like,
"Take a look at the script. I actually was kind of wrong.
It's not necessarily a 9/11 show.
It's about something totally different around that time.
Stories of how we're all connected
and something really magical that happened
that has not been told on a grand scale."
I couldn't put the script down.
And I called him back and was like,
"I don't know how I have to do this,
but I want to be a part of this show."
When we all went to Gander to do the concert
in the ice-hockey rink... For 5,000 people.
...for 5,000 people, we got screeched-in.
And when you get screeched-in,
you become honorary Newfoundlanders.
-I love that! -You get a certificate.
Chad has one. We all have one. So you're a Ganderer.
Or a Ganderite?
Why not? I'm a Ganderista.
Most of the characters in the show, if not all,
are based on real characters
or amalgamations of different characters
put into one, right? Yes.
And so, one of your characters,
Kevin, is based on an actual Kevin.
Yes. Kevin Jung. And that's him?
And that's him. We are dear friends.
And that's Jenn Colella with Captain Beverley Bass,
which is one of the characters that she plays too.
Oh, my gosh!
And that was opening night here in New York.
We bowed with all of our kind of characters that we portray.
And you got an FDNY hat. Yeah.
Every show, there's someone that was affected by 9/11 --
every single show.
And the stories that we get from it,
it's really amazing.
And it just makes me think about
how much we're reaching people with this show.
This is an officer's World Trade Center pin.
This is an NYPD tag clip
that a detective -- she gave it to me --
she wore it at a funeral of one of her officers.
It's overwhelming sometimes.
They come in groups, the NYPD and fire department?
This came from our first preview.
It was for first responders in New York City.
Each one of those pieces of fan art,
each gift that we give,
it's someone showing their love for this show and the story.
And I hear it often, over and over again,
that people finally have something else to think about.
They think about the goodness of humanity,
rather than the terror that happened that day.
We've had a lot of babies being born during our runs here.
From cast members or from people...? From cast members, yeah.
It's pretty amazing.
We've had proposals on stage. Wow!
Proposals outside the theater.
I love this, 'cause this is all of our playbills from every production.
So, total, how many "Come From Aways" will there be?
Five "Come From Aways."
That's our vacation wall, which is really --
Oh, where people have been?
This is amazing.
When we did the concert in Gander,
this was over the town hall, and the mayor took it down --
Mayor Claude -- and now we have it backstage.
We always have a light on it, and it's amazing.
It's just a reminder of, you know, what we're doing here
and how it's all real.
And then, these other flags?
These are all outlying towns.
They started sending us their flags, as well --
Towns that had Come From Aways.
So, people who are not from Newfoundland,
who were not born there, are known as Come From Aways.
And these are the different towns
that had Come From Aways during that week.
We have to mention those trees.
Oh, gosh. Incredible.
My favorite, favorite part of any kind of tour.
I love showing people our stage.
The Schoenfeld Theatre is so beautiful.
Look how close the people are. I know.
It's almost like a black-box view,
but you have 1,080 seats in here,
so a lot people fitting.
But it's actually one of the smaller Broadway houses, right?
-It is. It is. -Yeah.
We play a lot of our scenes up here,
so we are talking directly to people. Yeah.
And also, I can see everyone in the back row.
People think we can't see them, but we see everything.
We see every little phone that comes out.
If someone is texting, your face lights up.
It's amazing. We actually --
We're directed to talk to people --to them.
Like, look in their eyes
and talk to them and tell the story.
In just specific moments, or at any moment that you feel?
Basically throughout the whole show. Wow.
If anything needs direct address to the audience,
we're talking directly to audience members
that whole time. Wow.
And we're standing on a turntable? Yes.
And so this whole disk rotates?
This whole disk rotates throughout the show
for different scenes.
And, basically, chairs and two tables
create everything that happens on this stage.
What you see on this stage right now
is what we have to tell the story.
Scribner: And so, what we're seeing,
this kind of alphabet soup of colors of tape,
these are your marks to hit with chairs and tables
if you change the scenery. Exactly.
It looks like confetti,
but it's actually each color is a scene,
and each number is a chair number. Right.
So that's how we know where to put our chairs.
This is it. So, there are no big pieces of scenery flowing up on the sides?
No. Nothing at all.
And we have our incredible band on either side of the stage.
It's such an important part of the story.
I love the details in everything.
This color here --
this blue that's taking up almost our entire set --
represents the color of the sky in New York on 9/11,
a beautiful, beautiful day.
Scribner: Caesar, this has been so wonderful,
spending time with you and getting to hear
about how special this show is.
We are huge fans,
and we're just thrilled for everything you're doing.
Thank you. But you have to do your second show.
You have to get back to work! Do you hear it?
We're getting ready. I know, exactly.
You're ready to go, so I'm gonna get out of here.
See you soon. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Caesar. Bye.
♪ A revenge party
♪ A party that ends with lions in a Roman arena ♪
♪ She has everything
♪ She gets everything
♪ Regina, Regina, Regina
I'm at the August Wilson Theatre,
home of "Mean Girls,"
and today, we're meeting up with Kate Rockwell.
Kate has been a go-to star
for musical comedies on Broadway for years.
What did you guys think of Kate Rockwell?
She was amazing. She was so good, yeah.
Scribner: Kate plays Karen, a member of the Plastics,
the most popular girls at North Shore High.
"Mean Girls" was adapted from the movie written by Tina Fey.
Tina Fey also wrote the book for the musical,
with music by her husband, Jeff Richmond,
lyrics by Nell Benjamin,
and direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw.
Scribner: Kate! Hi!
Kate Rockwell. Oh, my gosh.
It's so hot.
It is so hot. It's like 85 degrees.
-Hi! -You were incredible.
Thank you. How was the show?
It was good. Where do you want to go?
If it's okay, first, I'd love to eat something.
Of course. That's what I like to do, too.
As soon as I finish performing, gotta eat.
Yeah, as soon as we're done. Let's do it.
All righty. I love it.
Scribner: Your sunglasses are super cute.
I love that they're not pink, I have to say.
I'm always grateful for anything that isn't pink these days,
hence the, like, monochromatic everyday.
Speaking of pink, you've got pink nails,
I noticed, right now. I do.
You know, I'd call them a nice rose-lavender.
Rose-lavender, okay. Yes.
A lot of shows, like, in between shows,
I will go get my nails done
because it's just, like, a nice, relaxing thing
to do in between
that I can kind of just sit and veg.
So, we opened the show in April 2018,
and people kind of sometimes are surprised when I say this,
but the last time I was on Broadway
was four years before that.
I left "Rock of Ages" in May of 2014,
and that was the last time I was here.
Wow. So it's been a really long time.
Yeah, but that's how it is for us.
Like, that's what it is. Yeah, absolutely.
I think people think that, like, once you're on,
you just, like, go, go, go, go, go from show to show,
and that's not always the case, especially if you can't dance.
Ta-da! Here we are.
They have a separate space in the back
called Sidepiece, which I love.
Excuse me. It sounds so exclusive.
Rockwell: You've been to Meatball Shop?
You know how to...? I've been here before.
It's like a draw-your-own menu.
N5, B16. I'm gonna do a veggie one today.
I feel like being healthy. It's like Bingo.
I was gonna say Battleship, but, yeah, also Bingo.
You have to have enough calories
to, like, get through the next show,
but it has to be, like, enough stuff
that you can not feel full. Totally.
When did you hear that the movie was becoming a musical
and get involved with all that?
A long time ago.
So, I heard -- There was an announcement, actually,
that was made, that Tina confirmed
that they were in development,
early, early on,
that they wanted to make a musical.
They thought it would sing well. Yeah.
And I was doing "Bring It On" at the time,
and I remember saying to my friend Sheldon,
who was in the show with me,
I said, "I would Tonya Harding people to get this job."
Like, I was obsessed with the movie.
I mean, all of that vernacular that she created --
"Fetch," "You go, Glen Coco,"
you know, "Boo, you whore,"
"Get in, losers, we're going shopping,"
"On Wednesdays, we wear pink" -- all of that stuff.
So, what was it like working with Tina Fey on the script?
It was an absolute dream. Every minute of it was...
She's been my idol my whole career.
I've always looked up to her,
and I've always wanted to work with her.
She was in that room every single day.
It was not like, "Oh, I'm a celebrity.
I've attached my name to this
and I'm gonna show up for the first rehearsal
and for opening, and that's it."
She never left. She was with us all the time.
Thank you so much. Oh, thank you so much.
Oh, my God. That looks so good.
So, Kate, you've been known
to play these incredible comedy roles over the years.
I've done a lot of comedy. Lots and lots of comedy.
How do you think you got to be the funny girl in the show?
You know... Gosh.
I think, for one,
I love musical comedy -- and comedy in general,
but I should say, like, my wheelhouse is musical comedy.
I love making people laugh.
I think that I learned that pretty early on.
I learned that, like, back in school,
when I was doing stuff
and people would respond immediately.
You know, you tell a joke and someone responds immediately,
and you're like, "Oh."
It feels so good to get a laugh.
"Oh, you liked that."
This is my fifth Broadway show,
my fourth musical comedy.
It seems to be something that I live in well.
I love that, when I leave my job at night,
I feel better than when I came in. Yeah.
Okay, so, this was delicious.
Thank you for bringing me here.
So, I share a dressing room
with Ashley Park, who plays Gretchen,
and we have a little tradition.
After the show, we like to have a glass of wine
while we, like, cool down, stretch, gossip, whatever.
And we're out of wine, so it's my turn to go get it.
So, I was thinking, little wine shop around the corner.
We might go grab a couple bottles?
Perfect. Let's stock up.
So, "Mean Girls" is a hugely popular movie, of course,
turned into a musical now.
Now, this is not the first time
that you've been a part of a project
of that same kind of trajectory. It's not.
So what are the challenges
that, you know, you face
when you're creating a musical out of a movie like that?
You know, it's interesting.
It's certainly dependant on the creative team
and how closely they're looking to mimic the original piece.
This is the first one that I've built from the ground up
that is the same story as the film.
I replaced into "Legally Blonde,"
so I wasn't really there for the creative process.
Basically, when I came in, they had a finished product
that I was sort of told what my job was in it
and how to fulfill that job.
So, that was one very specific thing,
but with "Bring It On,"
I originated my role in "Bring It On."
We created it from the ground up,
just like I did for this.
And with this one,
Tina really wanted it to also be its own beast.
We start at "A," we end at "Z,"
the same way they do in the film.
But because of the translation of media
and because 15 years has gone by --
social media, for one.
You can't have a contemporary show
without social media. Without it.
Or without the Russians.
Or without the Russians.
The Russians do have a place in our show.
Scribner: So, how do you know so much about wine?
I took a little bit of time off from theater,
and I worked in a wine shop in the East Village.
I went to the WSETs,
which is the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.
It's an international school.
But it's here in New York? It is here in New York.
-Wow. -It was awesome.
This is out of Northern Italy.
You swirl it. Why do we swirl it?
We swirl it so that we can smell. Okay.
Because a big part of drinking wine
is smelling it.
So, this is a Burgundy. Okay.
This is Pinot Noir.
All Burgundy -- If it's red wine from Burgundy,
it's Pinot Noir.
Like airier. Light. Super light.
So, you can taste it. Okay.
It's so good.
And then, of course, Rosé. Rosé season.
So, just to de-bunk any myths that might be out there,
there is no such thing as a Rosé grape.
-There is no Rosé grape. -Sorry, everybody.
Rosé is made from red grapes, red wine, just like these guys.
Well, thank you so much for sharing all this red wine.
Oh, my God. Thanks for letting me.
I could talk about wine all day.
So, wait, we're walking up to the marquee of your show,
which just givesme chills, even just seeing your marquee.
But your face is literally right there.
Imagine yourself in high school or in middle school,
whenever you thought about,
"What would it be like if I was on Broadway?"
Being on Broadway is one thing.
Being on a marquee is another.
It's really overwhelming sometimes.
And the day that they told us the marquee was going up,
we rounded the corner,
we had all of our cameras out and we're taking pictures,
and I immediately started to cry. Of course.
They're my sisters.
You know, this is my family, and I love them so much.
So, I have a little bit of time
before we have to, like, start prepping for the next show.
Do you want to come backstage?
[ Laughs ]
Let me show you my room.
So, this is my house.
-Wow! -Welcome to our home.
It's so cute! It's so fun.
It's little, so, you know...
Ohh! And you've got a window!
We have a window,
which means, on Saturday matinees
when you're, like, miserable and tired, the sun comes in,
and it really makes you feel like you're alive. Oh, that's beautiful.
We keep all the fan art that's sent to us.
I mean, people have sent some incredible, incredible things.
I released my own studio album this year. Unbelievable.
It's all musical theater
from the late '70s to early '90s Broadway.
So think Andrew Lloyd Webber, "Les Mis"... So synthesizers?
There are actually no synthesizers on my album.
It was a really fun venture.
And I've listened to it, and it's incredible.
-Did you really? -Yeah!
Oh, my gosh.
The one rule we had was no pink,
because we knew how much pink there would be already. Yeah.
So, these are weirdly in order of the show.
So, they start -- this is my first skirt,
and then all the way at the end is, like, my final dress.
So, essentially, just some grays, some neutrals.
Yeah, yeah. A lot of neutral colors. Like earth tones.
The lavender pleather two-piece
is my favorite costume in the show.
This little do-da would be my favorite. Ahh! Awesome. Yep.
This was the costume that, when we were doing everything,
Gregg Barnes, who's our costume designer,
you know, you'd go in and you'd try on like a million things
just to sort of get ideas.
And that piece -- this purple one --
I was like, "Oh, I know who she is.
I know who Karen is.
I instantly am aware of who this girl is." Yeah.
But the real thing, honestly, to focus on is these.
Like, the shoes...
I have two different pairs of Sophia Websters,
which are just stunning.
We, like, went all out.
Like, I have these Miu Mius.
I have -- Oh, they're under this thing.
I have these Jimmy Choos that I dance in. Oh, my gosh.
So, do these shoes have to be, like,
reinforced in a special way to be able to dance in?
Sometimes the stilettos in particular,
they will reinforce them.
I mean, you can see right there --
like, this is all from getting caught in the stage.
Do you want to see the stage?
I want to see center-center of the stage.
-I can put you there. -Okay, perfect.
Come on, let's go. [ Laughs ]
Here we are. Ahh! Wow.
Isn't she beautiful?
-Ahh! -I know.
Built in 1922.
It has just over 1,200 seats.
A little side fact -- You have to have 501 seats
to be considered a Broadway theater,
and the largest is about 1,900.
And we're, like, smack in the middle.
It's great for comedy because it means that I get to hear them.
They're so close to me.
And if you're in the front five rows,
I see you the whole time! Uh-huh.
So don't be texting.
Don't be texting.
But also, when they're laughing, I can tell.
When they're sleeping, I can tell.
You know, like, we see all of that.
When you're recording me on your cellphone, I can tell.
-Yeah. -I can see you, sir.
[ Laughs ]
People think that they're invisible, and they're not,
because we are so close
and we're so in-tune to the audience
because we want to make sure that we don't lose them. Right.
You know, losing an audience in a comedy
is, like, the world's saddest thing.
This is the only space there is. There is nowhere else.
You've got to fly all this stuff up
to get it out of the way. We fly everything up.
All of these gigantic pieces,
and there's even more, like, as the show goes on,
they'll rotate them and put them up and over your heard.
So, like, this pretzel cart that you can see right here,
after the first act,
that's gonna go up right over here,
and it'll hang over your head the whole time.
This is our bathroom set that rolls out on stage
a couple of times.
And every time we have a celebrity come to the show,
we have them sign it. [ Gasps ]
So, we have some really cool ones. I love this!
Like Amy Poehler.
Carol Burnett, which I, like, lost my mind.
Come this way. This is so cool.
So, this wall here...
When "Jersey Boys" was here for literally 13 years,
they did a tally of all their shows.
But what they did that was so cool
is they did it per day, not per show.
So there are these gaps where there should have been shows.
So it's like a big old theater history mark.
Like, I'm pretty sure this is the hurricane. What was this?
And I'm pretty sure this is the stage-hand strike.
There's one down here -- why I can never find it -- right here,
when they became the 12th-longest Broadway show
running in history... Wow!
...so they wrote that on there.
And I just want to... [ Gasps ]
Because it's not "Mean Girls"
if we don't look at the Burn Book.
-It's the Burn Book. -Shh!
This is a page that we frequent a lot, as you can see.
"Caitlyn Caussin has hairy nips." Hairy nips.
There they are, the hairy nips. They look like hairy donuts.
"Never met a carp she didn't like."
That's obviously Taylor's photo.
And then, this was brand-new. I don't know where this is from.
That has not been here before,
so somebody's been adding to the Burn Book.
Kate Rockwell, you are a star.
Thank you for having me today. You're unbelievable in the show.
Thank you for showing us this incredible theater
and backstage. Oh, my God, absolutely.
Enjoy your show. I've had so much fun. Thank you.
Yes. Have a great second show. Thanks.
And I'm gonna head out this way.
Should I do a tombé pas de bourrée grand jete off the stage?
I don't know what that means, but probably.
More Episodes (9)
Broadway Sandwich: “Beautiful” and “Hadestown”October 16, 2019
Broadway Sandwich: “My Fair Lady” and “The Lion King”October 02, 2019
Broadway Sandwich: "Waitress" and "Chicago"September 10, 2019
Broadway Sandwich: "The Cher Show" and "Beetlejuice"September 04, 2019
Broadway Sandwich: “The Prom” and “Pretty Woman”August 21, 2019
“The Band’s Visit” and “Wicked”February 20, 2019
- TheaterOur most popular episodes and shows of 2019, from “Broadway Sandwich” to “The C-Files”December 27, 2019
- TheaterFans start campaign to save “Beetlejuice” amid Broadway hit’s looming evictionDecember 10, 2019
- “My Fair Lady” actor Rebecca Eichenberger shares showbiz wisdom in “Broadway Sandwich”September 25, 2019