Broadway’s Rising Stars – An Overview of 2019’s Newcomers

With 2020 being as problematic as it is, we feel like it’s a good time for retrospection. The year before was generally a success for Broadway when it comes to newcomers. A slew of talent has set foot onto the ‘Way – and owned it. Today we’ve decided to take a look at 5 of the up-and-comers ready to make “Tina”, “Jagged Little Pill”, “West Side Story” and more their own. Every name on this list’s made their debut last season. And you can’t go wrong by booking a ticket to catch them live! Here are Broadway’s rising stars!

Nkeki Obi-Melekwe

At only 22, she’s stepped into the title role of “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical”, replacing the 2019 Olivier nominee Adrienne Warren. Without a doubt, she’s mastered the stylings and character of the Rock’n’roll Queen on the West End. And now she brings her killer performance to the NYC audiences. 

According to what she told “Broadway World”, getting to meet Tina herself is what let her fall in line, align herself with the character. She quotes that as the key to her success in the role.

Aneesa Folds

After taking courses with the Freestyle Love Supreme Academy, this budding new talent was invited to audition for a role in the current Broadway iteration of the hip-hop group. 

Freestyle Love Supreme is an improv-based hip-hop comedy musical group co-founded by Hamilton creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. It quickly took her into the fold for their 2019-2020 run and let her remarkable rhymes and clever improv do the talking.

Mia Pinero

She made her Broadway debut as the understudy and swing for Maria in Ivo van Howe’s retelling of West Side Story. Mia Pinero certainly ended 2019 on as high of a note as one could reach. 

Though the show marked her first step on Broadway, her previous experience on stage is extensive, to say the least. She’s lent her powerful vocals and poignant acting to casts such as Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” at the Playmakers Repertory Company and Laurey in “Oklahoma!” at Weston Playhouse.

Antonio Cipriano

As the winner of the 2017 Jimmy Award, Mr. Cipriano’s has been a name in the concert and cabaret theater scene long before his first journey into Broadway. 

Having already rocked venues such as Feinstein’s/54 Below with his performances. His breakout role of love interest Phoenix in “Jagged Little Pill” only serves to showcase his mature vocals and experienced stage presence. There’s little doubt in any Broadway aficionado that this is just one of many roles this up-and-coming talent is going to make his own. 

Celia Rose Gooding

The daughter of Tony winner LaChanze is making herself known as a standout performer by virtue of her knockout voice. 

At only age 19, Gooding makes her Broadway debut in Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” as Frankie Healy. Which is, apparently, not an easy role at all. 

This first role for Gooding is an emotionally taxing one. A 16-year-old, queer black adopted daughter in a white family, her character Frankie has a lot to reconcile—and only more so when she becomes the advocate for a friend who fell victim to rape.

With Broadway out until January 2021st, the presence of Broadway’s rising stars will certainly spur our desire to return to the theaters!

Many of those young upstarts have made their debut in Shakespeare in the Park! The Delacorte theater has seen some of the biggest stars on its stage!