from: “Bugs, rain and magic _ Shakespeare in the Park”
“‘IT WAS INCREDIBLE’
Jonathan Groff was in that company of “Hair,” but has a different unforgettable memory. It was threatening rain on opening night, but the cast managed to stay dry until the final scene.
Groff, the Tony-nominated star of “Spring Awakening,” was playing Claude. The show ends with Claude’s corpse lying on an American flag, having been killed in Vietnam. The rest of the cast files out, leaving Claude alone, face-up.
“As the music was going out, I could feel drip, drip, DRIP on my forehead and my hand. I was like, ‘Uh, oh,’” Groff recalls.
After the curtain call, the show ends with a massive dance party in which the audience is invited onstage to boogie with the cast while belting out “Let the Sun Shine In.”
“Almost on cue, the clouds opened up and torrential rain pours down during the dance party. Everyone — the audience included — was onstage, jumping up and down, soaking wet, singing ‘Let the Sun Shine In.’ It was incredible,” he says.
“And then, again almost as if on cue, the music stopped, the rain stopped, the stars came out and we had our opening night party on the top of Belvedere Castle as planned. It was as if something aligned in the universe for that performance. It was one of the most magical nights I’ve ever had in the theater.”
Groff returned the next summer for “The Bacchae” and wants to come back. “I would go back every summer, for both shows, for the rest of my life if I could,” he says. One reason is the audience itself.
“If you’re seeing something at the Delacorte, it is because through blood, sweat and tears they’ve gotten a pair of tickets,” he says. “You can feel it when you’re acting onstage there. It’s palpable.”
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