Actress and singer Melanie La Barrie made her Broadway debut in the jukebox musical & JULIET.
Formerly Melanie Hudson, La Barrie is most known at home for her 1992 calypso single “I Will Always Be There For You”, which was a mainstay on the local airwaves during the 90s and early 2000s, and is considered a classic.
Described as the show that “flips the script on the greatest love story ever told”, & JULIET tells the story of what would have happened if Romeo’s beloved had not chosen to end her life alongside him.
The exciting modern adventures of an empowered Juliet and her second chance at true love take place to the soundtrack of some of the Swedish producer Max Martin’s most iconic songs: the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way”, Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time”, and Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone”, to name a few.
The show’s book is written by Emmy- and Golden Globe-award-winning David West Read, best known for the comedy series Schitt’s Creek.
La Barrie has been with the show since its workshop stages in 2017, crafting the character of Angelique, an expanded version of Nurse in the original Shakespeare plot, and was part of its world premiere at the West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre in 2019, where it copped a number of awards that season.
A Broadway production of the musical was announced earlier this year; the show opened in Toronto before making its way to New York.
Previews for & JULIET began on October 28, ahead of an official premiere at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre scheduled for later this month.
Broadway World reviewer Isabella Perrone, in a writeup on the production during its run in Canada, referred to La Barrie as “a sheer delight” in the show which she called an “empowering celebration”.
The actress shares the stage with Paulo Szot, who won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical as her love interest, Lance du Bois.
La Barrie’s experience in theatre is extensive, with roles in both straight plays and musicals, along with appearances in TV series and films.
She is featured on the original cast recordings of the West End productions of & JULIET, Matilda and Mary Poppins, and has performed the roles of Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, Madame Spinella in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and more recently, Madame Morrible in Wicked on the West End.
La Barrie gushed with pride, awe and gratitude in a heartfelt Instagram post the day after the first preview: “I held my breath and refused to blink and wished that I could freeze time to live in this moment forever. I cupped my hands in a vain attempt to capture this unsurpassed feeling, this communion of hope and wish and past and present. My heart beat with all of yours. Together, we were there. I was there with you. On Broadway. On this perfect night.”
La Barrie’s exceptional talent and drive to pursue her craft draw audiences to her growing body of work and she continues to be an example of Trinbagonian excellence overseas.
Follow Melanie La Barrie on Instagram for more on her journey with & JULIET and her other exciting projects.
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