Do You Feel My Heart Saying Hi?: Broadway stars to fall in love with this Valentine’s Day

There are so many reasons to fall in love with Broadway any day of the year. With so many incredible performances and important messages being shared on and off-Broadway it would be almost impossible to visit all of them. But, in lieu of sending paper valentines with chalk-flavored candy attached, here are a few of my favorite reasons to be in love with Broadway this Valentine’s Day.

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The entire cast and crew of Allegiance

Even before I saw Allegiance, I knew it would be a show that stayed with me. That dark hour of American history was one I was only mildly aware of through learning about it in school but nothing could have prepared me for the rush of emotions I experienced while sitting front row at the Longacre. After the show I felt an odd mix of gratitude to the performers, crew, and George Takei for telling this important story, but I also felt sickened by the truth in its message and my heart ached. As they take their final bows today, it might be the end of their run on Broadway but Allegiance will never be forgotten.

Allegiance’s cast recording is available on iTunes.

Alex Brightman

I was seated next to a young boy who was probably around 7 years old the night I saw School of Rock. As the show evolved, especially during “You’re In The Band”, I could see him bouncing excitedly in his seat. This kid, like the rest of us at the Winter Garden, was fixed upon these incredible kids and the boundless force of energy known as Alex Brightman. Maybe even more inspiring than his tour de force performance as Dewey Finn is the kind of person Alex is; humble, hard-working, and full of laughter and life. When you’re done wearing out the School of Rock cast recording, I highly recommend listening/watching whatever you can of him and his band The Morons. He’s the real deal.

Follow him on Twitter @ABrightMonster.

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Melanie Moore and Nick Rehberger

In full disclosure, I cry pretty much through the entire two and a half hours of the latest Fiddler on the Roof revival but nothing pulls at the heartstrings quite like Melanie and Nick’s performances as Chava and Fyedka. The pair have arguably the most dramatic scenes and, in their final moments of this must-see revival, they prove that the audience is in the presence of something special. The second time I saw the musical at the Broadway Theatre, the mother next to me, who was seeing the show with her young daughter, gasped loudly and clutched her hand as Tevye (Danny Burstein) sent Chava and Fyedka away. Almost everyone else around me was in tears. These two will break your heart while you simultaneously fall in love with their immense talent.

Follow Melanie on Twitter @D8Melanie; Follow Nick on Twitter @NickRehberger.

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Drew Gehling and Jessie Mueller

I’m thisclose from asking if I can move into the Brooks Atkinson on March 25. I was lucky enough to see Waitress four times in Boston and could not be more excited about their move to Broadway. After seeing the show’s pre-Broadway run I told Drew two things: He had to move to Broadway with the production because no one could play Dr. Pomatter with more humor or heart, and he had to start preparing for a Tony nomination. Jessie, who has proven herself to be Broadway’s sweetheart (and rightfully so – that genius woman can do anything), has such dynamite chemistry with Drew that you’ll spend the entire show rooting for them against your better judgment.

Follow Drew on Twitter @DrewGehling.

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Jennifer Simard

Jaysus, this woman is hilarious. When I saw Disaster! this past week I wasn’t too exposed to who Jennifer was as a performer, especially stacked against some of the huge names in the show; but she didn’t only share the stage with some of Broadway’s most beloved stars, she stole the scene. As a nun with a gambling addiction who alternated from singing scripture and prayers to Peter, Paul, and Mary and The Jackson 5, I found myself rapt and at the edge of my seat every time she appeared on stage. I couldn’t get enough of her performance and I would be shocked if she doesn’t receive a Tony nomination for her unforgettable supporting role.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter @SimardJennifer.

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Jasmine Cephas-Jones

I don’t know how to say no to Jasmine Cephas-Jones. I’ve had the good luck of seeing Hamilton twice and both times I have been floored by Jasmine’s talent. The contrast between her act one and act two personas are staggering; not only does she change her costume and disposition but her voice is raspier and deeper when she sings as Maria. As much as we all love Peggy, it’s her brief performance as Maria Reynolds that leaves the audience flush and rapt; it’s also one of the biggest reasons I’m still wearing out my Hamilton cast recording.

Follow Jasmine on Twitter @JasCephasJones.

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Rob McClure

A few minutes before seeing Noises Off, I sat with Rob in a small deli near the theatre where I told him that he and Maggie Lakis were my top picks for being real-life “cinnamon rolls.” Rob isn’t only one of the kindest, most sincere people you could ever meet, he’s a brilliant physical comedian who brings so much heart and humor into a role that it’s difficult to keep your eyes off him. As Timothy Allgood, the overworked and over-stressed stage manager, he doesn’t play a big role until the end of the show but Rob swoops in during the second act to knock you off your feet. He’s so funny and endearing that you’ll be laughing even as you leave the theatre.

Follow Rob on Twitter @RobMcClure

Who would you pick as your Broadway Valentine? Let me know in the comments!

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About Samantha S.

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

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