by Matt Smith . . .
Recap of Night 1
It’s the smash hit guessing game that always keeps you guessing… and it’s finally been Broadway-fied!! The first episode in three-part Broadway’s Masked Singer — a highly-anticipated, fresh and funky, pandemic-friendly fundraising extravaganza — premiered to much acclaim on Monday, April 26th, as a means to raise money for BC/EFA. Modeled after (though not affiliated with) the FOX phenomenon, hosts Michael Hull and Dylan Bustamante of the Broadway-Talk LIVE Network, call upon a slew of celebrity panelists to weigh in on the identities of eight mysterious industry names — all of whom are costumed head to toe. The performance is pre-taped, but the panelists muse on them live, while viewers donate to the cause in honor of their favorite of the four performers, effectively eliminating the singer who raised the least amount of money.
For this go-around, panelists included RuPaul standout Jackie Cox, MT Trivia mavens Christopher & Kevin Metzger-Timson, Playbill Social Media Director and host Felicia Fitzpatrick, programming producer Abby DePhillips, vocal coach to the stars Natalie Weiss, and Broadway Sessions host extraordinaire Ben Cameron.
Let’s take a closer look and see how these Broadway mystery characters were broken down.
Clue Starter Pack
Before any performers graced the screen, our hosts informed us that between ALL eight stars (only four of which appeared on Night 1), they have a collective 19 Broadway shows, 10 national tours and over 100 Off-Broadway and regional credits.
Songs: “Writing’s on the Wall,” by Sam Smith; “Lost in the Woods,” from Frozen 2
Clues: “Being the whale makes me the biggest animal of the ocean, and I’ve swam all over the world performing in some pretty big shows. You also may have spotted my miraculous flippers floating across your television set.” While he sang, he also held a martini glass, but we can chalk that up to just being a prop for the song.
Guesses: Initially, Kevin Metzger-Timson says he “sounds like someone who started as a pop-rock singer and has trained to do eight shows a week” and suggested Constantine Maroulis. Ben Cameron hypothesizes the “buttery vocals” could mean it’s Aaron Tveit. Natalie Weiss suggests Ryan McCartan, and the user comments mention Jonathan Groff.
Following the second song, Metzger-Timson shouts, “That is a straight up Mormon boy” and throws in Nic Rouleau. Jackie Cox suggests Derek Klena. Based off the humor injected into song No. 2, Felicia Fitzpatrick suggests Grey Henson, and Abby DePhillips agrees.
It’s probably: Ryan McCartan is a good guess, but he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the clues. Nic Rouleau, on the other hand, fits the clues perfectly. He was in The Book of Mormon in London and on tour, and Hello, Dolly! on tour (those would count as pretty big shows, right? Ones he’s performed “all over the world”?) And though the TV question is a bit trickier, if you count a Netflix series as a television show, who can forget his unparalleled performance as “Daddy’s Boy” in Kimmy Schmidt?
Song: “I’m Like a Bird,” Nelly Futado; “Just a Girl,” No Doubt
Clues: “I flew onto the Broadway scene more than eight years ago and my stage career has traveled me all over the world from New York to California and everywhere in between.” The second clue package mentions that singing a rock-and-roll song will give her an edge.
Guesses: Fitzpatrick admits she’s not a singer, so she can’t listen for vocal clues, but the clue package reveals pink (Mean Girls?) and said she “flew” onto Broadway (Bring it On?) Could it be Taylor Louderman? Cameron guesses Jenny DiNoia, who’s played Elphaba in more venues across the country and the world than any other actress in the role. But wouldn’t “pink” signal Glinda?
Following the second song, DePhillips locks in with Kate Rockwell, who starred in Rock of Ages, hence the rock-and-roll clue. Cameron adds if it’s not Rockwell, it’s Amy Spanger, who played Sherrie in the tuner as well.
Song: “Love the Way You Lie” (Rihanna ft. Eminem); “Spotlight” (Jennifer Hudson)
Clues: “I was one of the last people to bow on a Broadway stage before the shutdown. But we’ll be back.”
Guesses: Straight out of the gate, Fitzpatrick suggests Adriana Hicks, citing that Six was to open on the first night of the shutdown. Looking at the comments, Cameron guesses Celia Rose Gooding (Jagged Little Pill, in which she stars, was also in production at the time of the shutdown). Cox admits she doesn’t know who it is, but she wants to know them based on their performance. Christopher Metzger-Timson suggests Ciara Renée, another heavy-hitter on the boards when the pandemic hit. Cameron jokes that it’s not Julia Murney.
It’s probably: Brittney Mack or Adriana Hicks. Either way, it’s someone from Six. Ciara Renée also seemed like a worthy guess, but the clue package mentioned “We’ll be back,” and Frozen had announced its closing due to the shutdown.
Song: “Bad Guy,” (Billie Eilish); “To Love You More” (Celine Dion)
Clues: “Singing has always been a part of my family, even though I started on a very different farm than where you find me now. I first clucked onto the scene across the pond before making my nest on the Broadway stage. I’ve seen it all. I’ve performed on stages all over the country. There’s one someone I could never hide from, and that’s the one that I come home to every night. He’s been by my side through thick and thin.”
Guesses: Initially, Cameron suggests Eva Noblezada, who started across the pond in Miss Saigon and Les Miz. (“If it’s Eva, I’ll be so mad!” shouts DePhillips). “Did anyone hear a slight accent?” asks Cox, throwing Willemijn Verkaik into the ring. But the second song seals it. It’s Jessica Vosk.
It’s probably: Jessica Vosk. All the clues check out. She began in investor relations (a very different farm) before pursuing a Broadway career, and began her career first as a vocalist in Kristina — yes it was at Carnegie Hall, but it was also ACROSS THE POND at London’s Royal Albert Hall — before she made her debut in Bridges of Madison County. Regarding her second song, she’s famously a fan of Celine Dion, so of course she’d sing that. She’s performed on stages all over the country in Wicked, and “the one that I come home to every night [whose] been by my side through thick and thin” is her dog, Fred.
The voice matches, too. And Vosk would definitely be game for something like this show, and definitely would dance like that.
First Reveal (Spoiler Alert!)
In the end, Flamingo was selected as the one to unmask and when she did, she revealed herself to be… Kate Rockwell!! (“We are so smart!” Ben Cameron quipped). The clues were indeed “so fetch” and lined up perfectly. However, don’t you think her reveal would’ve been great if it had occurred on Wednesday?! 😉
The first 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 Monday, April 26th. The next episode airs Wednesday, April 28th, featuring four brand-new masked performers and a whole new host of celebrity panelists; Episode 1, meanwhile, remains live for 48 hours. Voting is also open up until the start of Wednesday’s episode, at which point another singer will be unmasked. To vote, donate, or see more information, visit www.BroadwayCares.org/BroadwayMasked.