Style

The Gifted 7! Broadway Performers Who Do More Than Sing… & Dance… & Act

12.10.19

BY: ELIZABETH DURAND STREISAND / ILLUSTRATION BY: CHELSEY HILL

The holidays are officially here – and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by sharing your hidden talents and special gifts with the world. That’s why we checked in with seven Broadway stars to find out what skills they possess that have absolutely nothing to do with singing, dancing, or acting. It turns out they’re not only triple-threats; they can cook and paint and analyze genetic neuron development better than the rest of us, too.

Paul Dabek, The Illusionists

“I have a bit of a flair for carpentry and building things,” Paul Dabek from The Illusionists revealed. But not every project has gone smoothly. “In my teenage years I built a particular illusion (a cabinet that would magically switch me for my assistant) that inadvertently locked my assistant inside it permanently! It had to be wheeled off stage and dismantled with a screwdriver to let her out in time for the curtain call!” he admitted. “It comes as no surprise that these days I leave the big box illusions to the far more capable hands of our inventor in The Illusionists, Kevin James!”

Angie Swan, American Utopia

The American Utopia band member likes to be in the kitchen. “Besides performing, I absolutely love to cook! I’d always make a point to pick up regional spices and seasonings while on tour last year, so my pantry is full of local goodies,” she explained. “I really enjoy cooking Italian and Asian cuisines. However, breakfast is my forte. I like to make an anchovy, caper butter over toast with a poached egg and parsley garnish. Savory breakfasts for me!”

Jorrel Javier, The Lightning Thief

But Swan isn’t the only one with a culinary flair. “I’m actually a very good cook,” The Lightning Thief’s Jorrel Javier explained. “I was seven-years-old and I was hungry, but my sister was asleep and I didn’t want to wake her up – so I went to the kitchen and made myself an omelet, recreating the steps that I saw my dad do countless times. And since then I’ve just cooked. I cook for myself, for friends, for family. Food is my love language.”

Kerry Butler, Beetlejuice

“My unexpected gift is painting watercolors,” Kerry Butler, of Beetlejuice fame, revealed. It was actually a family member who helped Butler discover her talent. “My sister-in-law is an artist. She is always painting. One day I started painting watercolors with her, and became addicted,” Butler said. “It is something that relaxes me, brings me peace, makes me forget about any problems. When I was a child I would always be drawing. For hours I would sit by myself making little cartoons. It’s funny how you let go of things that bring you joy when you grow up. I’m so happy that I got back in touch with my artistic child.” Butler’s paintings don’t only bring her joy, however. She actually raised money for Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids by selling her original paintings at the Broadway Flea Market earlier this year!

Matt Walker, The Play That Goes Wrong

“I am a neurobiologist by day!” Matt Walker, from The Play That Goes Wrong said. (Yes, you read that correctly. He is a neurobiologist by day.) “I study the genetics of neuron development up at Columbia University. I use microscopic roundworms to study the sensation of touch, which involves stroking the worms with the tip of an eyebrow hair – so I guess you could say my ‘hidden talent’ is worm-tickling.”

De’Lon Grant, Come From Away

“My most prominent, non-theatre-related talent is photography – the irony being that most of the photography work I create is portraits or headshots of other actors and artists,” Come From Away’s De’Lon Grant explained before noting a nice plus to his particular skill. “One of the best benefits I have found in being a photographer is that as an actor I can take my own headshots. I have a camera that has a pop-out display screen and a remote control for the camera, which allow me to take as many shots of myself as I need. This lets me update my headshots on a regular basis free of charge!”

CJ Eldred, Rock of Ages

“Surprisingly I have a very gifted arm. Everything from throwing baseballs, footballs, frisbees, skipping stones and beer pong,” CJ Eldred, who stars in Rock of Ages, reported. “I discovered it (or I should say my dad did) when I was around three or four. I could toss just about anything way harder and farther than he expected – so he would play catch with me for hours and had to get a catcher’s glove or else I would bruise his hand.” (Surprisingly, he never put this to use with sports as he played defense on the football team!)

These shows and more are in play at Broadway Roulette!