by Matt Smith . . .
It’s Night II of the theatre world’s favorite new who-sung-it guessing game, and performers, votes, and guesses are all comin’ in hot! Dynamic hosts Michael Hull and Dylan Bustamante present four brand-new contenders vying for that winning title, and an equally dynamic panel of nearly-all new industry insiders.
This time around, pundits include musical director extraordinaire Drew Wutke, actress Hayley Podschun, “theatrical Swiss Army knife” Marty Thomas, Skivvies’ superstar Nick Cearley and cabaret diva Marissa Rosen. Broadway Sessions’ Ben Cameron also returns to join the group.
Curious as to how it all went down? Read on for our thoughts and theories on the episode:
Clue Starter Pack
Before any performers graced the screen, our hosts once again reminded us that between ALL eight stars (only four of which appeared on Night 2), they have a collective 19 Broadway shows, 10 national tours and over 100 Off-Broadway and regional credits.
Second Reveal (Spoiler Alert!)
Of the votes and donations from Monday night, the Dalmatian was the one who amassed the least, and was therefore forced to unmask and leave the doghouse. Woof! And her identity was indeed none other than… Adrianna Hicks!! Divorced. Beheaded. Unmasked. Anyone?
Songs: “Under the Sea” (The Little Mermaid), “Bring Him Home” (Les Miserables)
Clues: He’s no stranger to the Broadway stage, performing at times for eight shows a week. There’s also nods to Guys and Dolls and Good Vibrations.
Guesses: Cearley proposes J. Harrison Ghee or Nick Burroughs, stating his accent in the clue package indicated he might be from the South; after the second song, he adds Jelani Remy to the mix. Podschun guesses Tituss Burgess, based on the package’s nods to Guys and Dolls and Good Vibrations. Thomas throws in Arbender Robinson, to which Ben Cameron agrees. Rosen proposes James Harkness, and Wutke guesses Jason Gotay.
It’s probably: At first glance, it’s Tituss Burgess from the clue package. As Podschun said, he was in Guys and Dolls and Good Vibrations, and the Bee’s voice does sound eerily similar. But he’s singing “Under the Sea” and would Tituss really sing his own song?! With a closer ear on the tone of the voice, especially after the second song, we have to say it’s Jelani Remy.
Songs: “Believe” (The Cher Show), “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)” (New Kids on the Block)
Clues: “It’s been a long year since Broadway shut down, but I’ve managed to keep my fin up and keep on dreaming the dream. I made my debut more than ten years ago, and have traveled all over the world from sea to shore.” She also mentions a bubbly personality, and dedicates her second song to Baby Shark.
Guesses: Following the first song, Wutke isn’t sure, but hopes it’s original Tony-winning Cher Stephanie J. Block. Citing her roles in The Cher Show and Wicked, Cameron muses on Teal Wicks, and Rosen agrees.
Other names tossed around are Ellyn Marie Marsh (she’s got a kid) and Jessica Vosk (though we’re pretty sure she’s the Chicken). Comments mention Patti Murin, and Podschun’s on board.
It’s probably: Teal Wicks is a good guess, but we’re thinking it has to be a Glinda (She’s got a “bubbly”personality, get it?). Given she dedicated the song to Baby Shark, this person also has a kid. Patti Murin fits the bill there, too. All hail Podschun and the YouTube kids.
Songs: “Africa” (Toto); “Driver’s License” (Olivia Rodrigo)
Clues: “I was just a little calf when I found my love for Broadway, but it was significant and it grew and grew. My passion for theatre has had me driving all over the country.” Later, he says his second song is for “my true herd.”
Guesses: Cameron praises the elephant’s physicality, and then suggests Kelvin Moon Loh. Rosen’s convinced it’s the panel’s own Nick Cearley. Cearley counters with Ethan Slater. Thomas isn’t sure at first, but notes the character is “clearly a dancer.” Citing Elephant’s vocal style — “a rolling dulcet baritone, [who] also a really rich tenor range, and a sassy pop twang at the end of words,” especially after the second song — Thomas guesses Jarrod Spector, and Wutke agrees. (Thomas also states that “my true herd” could refer to the Millennials and Gen Zs of today, and Spector was a child actor himself). Rosen thinks JJ Neiman of recent Ratatouille fame (he’s also young, he’s on TikTok, etc.), while Cearley asks, “Is anyone else getting notes of Telly Leung?”
It’s probably: It’s a toss-up. Ethan Slater is our best guess — the clue that “Driver’s License” (a song frequently played on TikTok and written by a Gen Z-er) was for his “true herd” — suggests he’s probably a younger star himself, equating himself with kids in that age range. While slightly older than Rodrigo, Slater definitely fits that bill. Additionally, The SpongeBob Musical in which he starred, was also targeted toward that Millennial/Gen Z audience. But our ears perked up when Thomas guessed Jarrod Spector’s name. A good choice, and the voice sounds similar — we’re just not exactly sure how all the clues match up. Two prime guesses. We’ll just have to see how this one plays out.
Songs: “You’re the One that I Want” (Grease); “All About that Bass” (Meghan Trainor)
Clues: “Growing up as a little spud, I was always one small fry in a batch of supersized potatoes. When I rolled onto the scene, I had no idea where this journey would take me. But since then, I’ve performed on stages all across the country, and I’ve been part of a pretty historical show.” Potato also says “Start your engines!” and begins the package by screaming while falling out of the sky. Prior to the second song, she states, “This isn’t my first time performing in a disguise.”
Guesses: Podschun points out the potato’s diminutive stature, and suggests Jen Cody, who’s frequently toured with shows “on stages all across the country.” Nick Cearley guesses Mia Gentile, citing Kinky Boots — in which Gentile was an ensemble member and understudied Lauren — as a “historical show” because of how long it ran. Thomas thinks the historical show is Legally Blonde, and the potato is therefore Laura Bell Bundy. Podschun adds that Bundy was a “little spud” in Ruthless! as a kid, understudied by “supersized potatoes” Britney Spears and Natalie Portman. Other names tossed around include Jen Sánchez and Lauren Zakrin, while comments mention Erika Henningsen.
It’s probably: Cearley is closest with Laura Bell Bundy, and Podschun’s notes match up pretty well. Legally Blonde made history in that it was the first show to be broadcast in its entirety on MTV… in front of a packed audience aged 15-25 that was let in free of charge — another historical first. It was also one of the first shows to debut a reality-casting series — coincidentally on the same network. And that voice is pretty dead-on, too.
Third Reveal (Spoiler Alert!)
Shark was the third singer asked to reveal herself and she turned out to be… Patti Murin!! It’s good to see her, isn’t it? 😉 It seems like it’s the first time in forever that we’ve heard her sing! Hayley Podschun for the win!
The second of three episodes of Broadway’s Masked Singer, produced in part by the Broadway-Talk LIVE Network, was presented on the BC/EFA YouTube Channel on Wednesday, April 28th. The final four compete on the finale episode airing Friday, April 30th; Episode 2, meanwhile, remains live for 48 hours. Voting is also open up until the start of Friday’s episode, at which point another singer will be unmasked, while the rest will battle it out for the winning spot. To vote, donate, or see more information, visit www.BroadwayCares.org/BroadwayMasked.