Andrew and Celia Keenan-Bolger take Broadway by storm in 2012

Celia and Andrew Keenan-Bolger took Broadway by storm in 2012.

Celia and Andrew Keenan-Bolger took Broadway by storm in 2012.

 

Andrew and Celia Keenan-Bolger might have grown up in Michigan but they are currently running the show on Broadway.

From their social and political involvement, Andrew’s fundraising efforts for Submissions Only that became one of the most successful web series projects in Kickstarter history, Celia’s ability to lead an otherwise all-male cast (and take home a few awards while doing so), and their unforgettable stage performances, they proved that they might be small but they are mighty.

As I considered who I would name as the top Broadway performer of this past year, I thought of many different people but Andrew and Celia, who are already my favorite brother and sister duo, not only had personal successes but many of their milestones came together as a pair.

The announcement that Peter and the Starcatcher was coming to Broadway happened on the same day that Newsies was announced to be landing at the Nederlander. Then, a couple months later, they were both nominated for various Tony awards within their companies and arrived on the red carpet together.

But there’s more than just the coincidence of announcements and awards on the same day that makes these two the best. These siblings not only wowed audiences but championed causes, were the leaders within the Broadway community and for fans across the globe.

Here are a few reasons why AKB and CKB dominated in 2012:

Andrew and Celia at a phone bank for Broadway for Obama with Celia's husband, John Ellison Conlee.

Andrew and Celia at a phone bank for Broadway for Obama with Celia’s husband, John Ellison Conlee.

 

Broadway for Obama: It was a frightening election year. But Andrew and Celia recognized that and not only put themselves out there but asked everyone – Broadway actors, fans at stage door, and people across the country – to join in with them. These two, who have demanding jobs on the stage and continued to perform 8 shows a week, mobilized an entire community. They held phone banks where hundreds of calls to swing states were made, they made inspiring videos (here’s one from Andrew and Celia’s sister, Maggie) and in the end Obama won re-election. Through their efforts, they also reminded us of the importance of giving back and standing up for your beliefs.

AKB gets ready to play Crutchie. Photo Credit: Broadway.com

AKB gets ready to play Crutchie.

 

From workshops to Broadway: To see a show from its conception to the full fruition on a Broadway stage is what many actors call a dream opportunity. To mold a character and help shape what they will be like – setting a precedence for any future production or revival – is a huge burden but Celia, as Molly Astor in Peter and the Starcatcher, and Andrew, as Crutchie in Newsies, made history when they moved their shows from the New York Theatre Workshop and New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse to the Broadway stage. It was only a bonus that their moves from workshop to Broadway were announced on the same day too.

CKB with Adam Chanler-Berat in Peter and the Starcatcher.

CKB with Adam Chanler-Berat in Peter and the Starcatcher.

 

Bringing home the gold: Peter and the Starcatcher, one of my favorite Broadway shows of all time and definitely my favorite play, is a show filled with magic. And there’s a reason why in just a few days, I’ll be seeing Newsies twice within the same week. These shows stand out in almost every theatre lover’s mind as two of the top shows of the year. So it came as no surprise that when awards season came around, PATSC and Newsies were among the most buzzed about shows. (Celia was nominated for a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award and Drama League Award for her performance as Molly Astor. PATSC took home the title of Best Play at the Tony Awards, among other awards, and Celia won a Broadway.com Audience Choice Award.) And it was definitely seeing all of the getting ready and red carpet photos from the Tony Awards of Andrew and Celia side by side, another reminder that they’re really a family that supports each other.

AKB with some of the Newsies promoting the Submissions Only campaign through SIP.

AKB with some of the Newsies promoting the Submissions Only campaign through SIP.

 

Submissions Only: I’ll admit that when Andrew and his writing partner Kate Wetherhead made the plea for $50,000, I thought it was a tall order. Times are tough, after all. But I watched daily as the tallies climbed and in the end they raised a total of $60,400 – $10,400 more than their goal. Not only that but they had a long list of supporters, including the Broadway community that dedicated SIP (Saturday Intermission Pics) to raise awareness and drum up donations for the campaign. With all of the funding now in their capable and talented hands, it’s up to us fans to have enough patience to wait to know what happens with our favorite characters.

Celia Keenan-Bolger, the fan-favorite actress of 2012, will move on to perform in the Glass Menagerie.

Celia Keenan-Bolger, the fan-favorite actress of 2012, will move on to perform in the Glass Menagerie.

 

The Glass Menagerie: From one Broadway show to the next, Celia has taken her final bow with Peter and the Starcatcher and is on her way to Boston to work with Zachary Quinto on the revival of the Tennessee Williams play in Boston. I’m not sure how reliable the rumors are that the show will then be traveling to Broadway but regardless, it doesn’t surprise me that even before Peter takes their final bow on the Broadway stage, CKB was sought after for another role. There’s little doubt that although she has left PATSC, she takes some starstuff with her.

Maggie, Andrew and Celia.

Maggie, Andrew and Celia.

 

Just because they’re the KBs: What makes the Keenan-Bolger family special? At the end of the day, with all their talent and smiles, it comes down to their personalities that they seem like the type of people who care about others which is becoming increasingly rare, especially for two people who will go down in history as two of Broadway’s game-changers. They’re smart, they’re humble and it’s nice to see a brother and sister duo champion for each other’s success as if it was their own. (For a glimpse of the two of them in all of their cuteness, click here.) How can you not love them?

 

I suggest –  like in a poem PATSC playwright Rick Elice read  (it’s a tear-jerker video, you’ve been warned) – that we take a moment and keep an eye on the amazing CKB (and her equally amazing brother AKB) because ruled 2012 and I have a sneaking suspicion, with plenty of exciting things on their horizons, they will continue their reign in 2013.

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About Samantha S.

"I found the theatre and I found my home.” ― Audra McDonald