What Broadway Stars Eat Before A Show

[The Amateur Gourmet is on vacation and, while he’s gone, he’s asked his friends to cover for him. Today’s post comes from none other than Hunter Bell, co-author and star of the hit Broadway musical [title of show]. The New Yorker called [title of show] “a joy from start to finish” and The New York Times hailed it as “a fresh new musical worth cheering.” Today Hunter tells us all about what he and his castmates eat backstage. Take it away, Hunter!]


“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) British novelist and essayist.

I like that Virginia Woolf, but I think I might add to her list “star in a big Broadway show well” too.

So whom is this presumptuous guest blogger messing with V. Woolf’s classic quotes? Hi. My name is Hunter Bell and I have the honor of guest blogging for FN rockstar Adam Roberts. I am the book writer for a brand new original Broadway musical called [title of show]. (Yep that’s really the name!) If you don’t believe me go to titleofshow.com and for further proof come to NYC and swing by the Lyceum Theatre to see our new hit show. [title of show], in short, is an original musical comedy that chronicles it’s own journey from inception to opening night. If that made your head hurt, all you need to know is that it’s ninety minutes of super fun with a lot of great music, starring myself, along with my co-creator and composer/lyricist Jeff Bowen, Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff, and Larry Pressgrove. (Oh yeah, and we actually have a shout out to the Food Network in our show too! Really!) But enough shameless [title of show] plugging, let’s get to the food part of this thing!

Adam asked me to share with you folks some backstage Broadway secrets about what we fancy Broadway stars eat before we get in front of the footlights. So here’s a little glimpse into our Broadway diets.

Our lives in the theatre are kind of unique. We do the show eight times a week (twice on Saturday and Sunday). Add into that mix press appearances, understudy and brush up rehearsals and real life and we tend to be busy beavers. It’s all a lot of fun and we are definitely living the dream getting to work on Broadway, but I think what I’m getting at can be summed up in two words: take out. Also, because we are jumping around singing and dancing for ninety minutes, it’s hard to eat a lot before the show; but, you have to have a little something for energy and fuel. While it may seem late for most, it’s not uncommon for theatre folk to grab “dinner” after their show. If you don’t believe me go see a Broadway show then hit 46th street or “Restaurant Row” afterward and I bet you see some of the very folks who were just entertaining you!

Our show plays at the Lyceum theatre on 45th street just off of Times Square in New York City, so we are surrounded by some amazing eateries. If the saying “you are what you eat” is true, then the cast of [title of show] is sushi. In monitoring our eating habits over the past week, I noted we ordered sushi five out of the seven nights. It is kind of the perfect pre-show meal: easy to eat, not too heavy, some protein, and super yummy. Susan (who is represented here by this stuffed vampire bat) and I tend to rock some miso soup, a spicy tuna crunch roll and a California roll.


Heidi scarfed hers down before I got to see exactly what sashimi she rocked.


Our fav sushi spot to order from is Haru!

When I checked in with our musical director Larry Pressgrove, he was eating a yummy hammy sammy on a delicious baguette, chased by a Diet Coke.


I think I spotted a packet of M&M’s on his dressing table. Larry has been known to enjoy a M&M! I’m going to check the keyboard for chocolate prints! (Update: Keyboard was clean! Melts in your mouth not on your Broadway keyboard.)

My co-star Jeff Bowen has many talents. Composing awesome Broadway scores, acting, singing, and finding fantastic and delicious cheap food. Jeff constantly will take me into a tiny obscure hole in the wall in New York and twenty minutes later I’ll be eating some of the best Pad Thai, or curry, or rice and beans I’ve ever had! And when the check comes, I’m even happier. Here we see Jeff B. enjoying some super inexpensive and tasty Cuban food from the tiny Cuban place a couple doors down from our stage door on 46th street.


When I asked Jeff how it tasted, he replied, “Hmmmmmph.” I think that meant it was good.

Broadway secret #438: When someone gets sick in a Broadway show, they have an understudy or standby that saves the day. In our musical, we have the uber-talented Courtney Balan and the wonder from down under our Aussie Benjamin Howes. They are incredibly talented and have the task of going on for either part. It kind of makes them super heroes in my book. They know the whole show and then have the ability to jump in at any moment. It’s amazing. So next time you see a show and the fancy star is out and they announce the stand by is going on, before you moan and groan I encourage you to stick around with an open mind. Odds are you’re going to see an incredible show. Courtney and Benjamin are at our theatre each and every night ready and able to jump in if need be. Benjamin (who is an incredible baker by the by) always has something yummy. At this meal he was enjoying a delicious chicken dish with a healthy salad to keep him fit and trim and Broadway ready. (Note: not pictured is the plate of incredible brownies Benjamin brought in making us fat and happy and Broadway unready!)


So there you have it. We eat at odd times, there’s a lot of take out, long days and long nights, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. When you’re getting to do what you love on Broadway in an incredible theatre surrounded by great places to eat… there’s not too much to complain about. Oh yeah, and it’s hard to complain when fans bring us treats!

So come out and see us all in [title of sushi]…I mean [title of show]! See you on Broadway!

Reporting for Adam Roberts and The Amateur Gourmet…signing off, Hunter Bell and his happy, hungry cast of [title of show].

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