Marcus Lovett began his professional career at nineteen in Chicago in One Shining Moment at Drury Lane, Watertower. One month after graduating Carnegie Mellon University (BFA ‘86), he landed his first Broadway job in the original Broadway production of Les Misérables. His other Broadway and West End credits include: King David (title role), Phantom of the Opera (title role), Whistle Down the Wind (The Man), Carousel (Billy Bigelow), Aspects of Love (Alex Dillingham). Marcus made theatre history in 1994 by performing the lead in two Broadway shows within a two day stretch. Having played what turned out to be his final performance of Phantom, he was asked by Lincoln Center to leave Phantom to learn the role of Billy Bigelow, to fill in for their ailing star (they had temporarily closed their production). He did his first performance of Billy Bigelow at the Vivien Beaumont, forty-seven hours later. His Off-Broadway credits include: Urinetown (Bobby Strong), Queen Amarantha, The World Goes ‘Round: The Music of Kander and Ebb. Workshops of Up Against It and The Knife. His film credits include Jeffrey, Pieces of April and the musical animation “Young Herc” (Title Role). He has been a soloist at Carnegie hall, L’Opera De Paris and the Royal Albert Hall. He is on the cast albums for Les Misérables, Whistle Down The Wind and Andrew LLoyd Webber’s Fiftieth Birthday Celebration at The Royal Albert Hall. His debut solo album, Marcus Lovett, The Give Moment, was released in 2008. In addition to his stage and music career, Marcus has recorded thousands of promotions and commercials for television, and is currently the voice of “Good Morning America” on ABC, and for the promotions for “The Late Show with David Letterman.” He is working on a project with multi-Grammy winning composer and lyricist, Jim Steinman, and Grammy winning producer Steven Rinkoff, and another original project with his collaborator, Nolan Gasser.
|King David||New Amsterdam Theatre||Title Role|
|Aspects of Love||Broadhurst Theatre||Alex Dillingham|
|Carousel||Vivian Beaumont Theatre||Billy Bigelow|
|Phantom of the Opera||Majestic Theatre||Title Role|
|Les Misérables||Broadway Theatre||Original Broadway|
|Carried Away: Being Comden and Green||Lyrics and Lyricists||Self|
|Urinetown, The Musical||Chernuchin Theatre||Bobby Strong|
|And The World Goes Round||West Side Theatre||Man 2|
|Queen Armarantha||WPA Theatre||Lover|
|Up Against It||Public Theatre||Workshop|
|The Knife||Public Theatre||Workshop|
|Whistle Down The Wind||Aldwych Theatre||The Man|
|SCK BSTD||VA Stage||Dr. Jim Reynolds|
|Sunday In The Park With George||George||Pittsburgh Public Theatre|
|Fanny Hackabout||Jones||Long Wharf Theatre|
|Midsummer Nights Dream||Wall||Pittsburgh Repertory|
|Music of the Night||Self||Pantages|
|Jeffrey||Independent||Dir. Christopher Ashley|
|Pieces of April||United Artists||Dir. Peter Hedges|
|Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration||Self||Universal Pictures|
|The Wayans Brothers||Guest Star||Warner Bros.|
|As The World Turns||Recurring||CBS|
|One Life To Live||Recurring||ABC|
Many concert credits from Carnegie Hall, L’opera de Paris, Royal Albert Hall, etc.
The New York Times
The Show Goes On As Phantom Star Restarts Carousel
The New York Times
By GLENN COLLINS
Published: April 23, 1994
In a rare and highly theatrical conjunction of misfortune and last-minute improvisation, illnesses suffered by both the male lead of Carousel and his understudy forced the cancellation of four performances of the sold-out Broadway musical this week and sent producers on a frantic search for a substitute.
Now they’ve found one: the Phantom of the Opera.
At 2 P.M. today Marcus Lovett, the star of Phantom, is scheduled to take the stage at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in Lincoln Center as Billy Bigelow in the revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show. Mr. Lovett will go on with only two day’s preparation for the part, which he has never played.
The unusual arrangement, apparently without precedent on Broadway, was made after Michael Hayden, who has been playing Billy Bigelow, damaged his vocal cords by singing while suffering from a viral infection, and Duane Boutte, Mr. Hayden’s understudy, developed a bronchial infection. With neither man able to go on, the Wednesday matinee and evening shows were canceled. The next day, the Thursday and Friday performances were called off.
Mr. Lovett, who began to rehearse with Nicholas Hytner, the director of Carousel, on Thursday, will perform today’s two shows and tomorrow’s matinee. Carousel is dark on Monday, and the producers hope that Mr. Hayden will be able to resume by Tuesday.
Taking over for Mr. Lovett in Phantom, meanwhile, will be Jeff Keller, who has been playing Monsieur Andre, one of the opera managers. Mr. Lovett, whose contract with Phantom was to expire on April 30 in any case, will not return to that show, in which he has been starring since May 1993.
The Carousel cancellations have caused inconvenience, confusion and no little anger among ticketholders, not to mention loss of revenue for the show’s producers. Since Wednesday, many people with tickets have had to scramble to make other arrangements, or have showed up at the box office to ask for refunds.
Because many tickets were purchased by telephone through credit-card transactions, Tele-Charge, which handles the phone sales, has called more than half of the ticketholders before each performance, said Bernard Gersten, executive producer of the Lincoln Center Theater. On Thursday night, however, about 300 of the 1,000 patrons went to the theater expecting to see the show.
Because many ticketholders are exchanging for future performances rather than asking for refunds, Mr. Gersten said, the ultimate loss for the week will be about $100,000: less than it might have been.
The box office has had to refund less than $5,000 for the four canceled shows, he said, and that was mostly to out-of-towners who could not reschedule.
The extraordinary series of events surrounding Carousel started on April 8, Mr. Gersten said. Mr. Hayden, whose vocal cords were inflamed, was told by his physician, Dr. Jeffrey D. Libin of Manhattan, not to sing that night. He was replaced by Mr. Boutte, who normally plays a minor part as Enoch Snow Jr. Mr. Boutte was ill with a bronchial infection, Mr. Gersten said, “and he barely made it through the performance.” About 25 people were unhappy with Mr. Boutte’s performance and asked for a refund, Mr. Gersten said.
Mr. Hayden resumed his role the next day, but he was not fully recovered, Mr. Gersten said, so the producers began to hunt for a standby performer. Mr. Lovett and several others were brought in to audition with the “Soliloquy” and “If I Loved You,” Billy Bigelow’s major songs.
After last Tuesday’s performance, Mr. Hayden’s doctor ordered him to rest for a week, and Mr. Boutte was still not yet ready to sing the lead, so Wednesday’s performances were canceled.
Coincidentally, Mr. Hytner, the director, arrived in New York from London on the same day to supervise the recording of the show’s cast album. On Thursday morning, he auditioned two singers for the part of Billy Bigelow, and chose Mr. Lovett. They began rehearsing the show at 3 P.M. that afternoon, after Cameron Mackintosh, the producer of The Phantom of the Opera and an investor in Carousel, released Mr. Lovett from his obligations in Phantom.
Although Mr. Lovett, who like Mr. Hayden is 30 years old, knew the principal songs for his audition, he will have had only 47 hours to master his lines and the staging before he goes on this afternoon.
On Thursday, Mr. Lovett rehearsed with Mr. Hytner for three hours and with the full company for three and a half more. Yesterday, he began rehearsals at 10 A.M. with Mr. Hytner, and was joined by the full company at 1 P.M. Last night they held a dress rehearsal of the show.
Today the performers will “do whatever is necessary” before the matinee, Mr. Gersten said.
Mr. Gersten declined to permit a reporter into the rehearsals or to make Mr. Hytner or Mr. Lovett available for an interview yesterday, calling the rehearsal a “very private enterprise.” Lincoln Center Theater officials, who consider this a temporary substitution, said they were not permitting critics to attend today’s performance, which is sold out.
Before taking over the role of the Phantom in May 1993, Mr. Lovett had played Alex Dillingham in Aspects of Love on Broadway, and had appeared in the original company of Les Misérables.
Although the simultaneous illness of performer and understudy would seem to be the greatest of theatrical disasters, Mr. Gersten did not agree. “The ultimate disaster for a producer is to have a show that’s lousy,” he said. “Losing four performances of a show that will play to half a million people is not a disaster. It’s more akin to a power failure, or an intermittent blackout.”
The New York Times
Bravos and a Bruise for Carousel Rescuer
The New York Times
By BRUCE WEBER
Published: April 26, 1994
The angry bruise across Marcus Lovett’s nose probably wouldn’t be there now if he’d been wearing his mask this weekend.
But then, Mr. Lovett doesn’t wear a mask any more.
In one of Broadway’s most electrifying show-must-go-on stories, Mr. Lovett, the erstwhile Phantom of the Opera, took the stage as Billy Bigelow in Carousel for three performances on Saturday and Sunday, replacing Michael Hayden, the star who’d strained his voice. And he did it with only two days of rehearsals. Cast members and audiences alike gave Mr. Lovett strong, appreciative reviews. He performed so well that he will go on for Mr. Hayden, who is due back on Friday night, four more times.
But he didn’t quite come out of the experience unscathed. It was in rehearsal, late in the afternoon on Friday, that Mr. Lovett, unaware of an equipment cue, was cracked on the bridge of his nose by an opening trap door.
“I got clocked,” he said in a cheerful interview yesterday, rubbing the black and blue spot between his eyes. “I saw stars and the whole thing. I said: ‘Ice pack! Now!’ But there was no time to be hurt. I just figured, ‘It happened; move on.’ Who knows what I would have made it into if I’d had the time to make it into something?”
Over an early lunch yesterday near his Upper East Side home, Mr. Lovett, 30, spoke as though the beaning were a metaphor for his wild weekend. He admitted the experience was still catching up with him. That’s what happens, of course, when you concentrate so fiercely and then let go.
“Looking back now it’s surprising how little panic I actually felt,” he said, though he added, “On Saturday night my wife said I actually sang while I was sleeping.”
In many ways, he said, the lack of time he had to get ready turned the whole enterprise into a valuable lesson in acting fundamentals. Since there was no time to ponder any of the nuances of his character or worry any moments to death, he and the director, Nicholas Hytner, approached the character of Billy Bigelow straight on.
No one would mistake Mr. Lovett, a pleasantly gregarious man, handsome in a cleft-chinned, magazine-model way, with Billy, a brutish carnival barker with an animal magnetism and a tragic gentle streak.
“But Nick said to me: ‘Where are you from? Chicago? O.K., Billy’s from Chicago. How old are you? Well, Billy should be a little younger, but O.K., he’s 30.’ We left as little for me to have to imagine as possible. I mean, I’ve dated girls. I’ve picked up girls. I happen to be married with children now, but this is relatively close to me.”
Memorizing the lines was not a problem, he said. In rehearsals, he ran through scenes the first time with a script in hand, the second time with the script at his side, the third time with the script on the floor. During performances, a stage manager was glued to his side every time he left the stage, helping him go over the action that would be coming up next.
“If you’re worried about memorization you probably won’t memorize it,” he said. “You’re not memorizing by rote, you’re memorizing in context. And Billy happens to be a reactive person anyway. Almost all his lines come directly out of what was just said to him.”
Mr. Lovett’s fellow cast members were enormously impressed by what he’d managed to accomplish, and what they accomplished, too.
“He’s unbelievable,” said Sally Murphy, who plays Julie Jordan. “We started rehearsing Thursday, and by Friday afternoon he had scenes memorized we hadn’t even done yet. I’m still in shock.” She acknowledged that, at least in the play’s beginning scenes, the mutual seduction of Billy and Julie was enhanced by the fact that the two actors as well had only just met.
“Sure, because it was completely realistic,” she said of the scene. “It was like some bizarre acting exercise. In front of 1,000 people.”
Fisher Stevens, who plays the villainously influential Jigger Craigin, said: “If I was doing it I would have been freaking out about it, but he was calm. The first performance, we ad-libbed a whole scene, the card-playing scene. It didn’t matter. It worked, I guess. He never really lost his cool. For me, it was a blast. I love when you don’t know what’s going to happen. I never knew when he was going to move around the stage, when he was going to hit me. Lines meant different things. The only time I had any terror was when by mistake he pushed me too hard and I almost went into the orchestra pit.”
For Mr. Lovett, the whirlwind began a week ago Thursday. His 11-month contract as the lead in The Phantom of the Opera was due to run out on April 30 and, looking to the future, he asked his agent to recommend him to Daniel Swee, Lincoln Center Theater’s casting director, for an audition. He hadn’t been aware that Mr. Hayden was singing through a vocal strain and that his understudy, Duane Boutte, was also ill and under-rehearsed, but he had auditioned for the part of Billy two years earlier when Mr. Hytner was mounting the show originally in England, and he’d also auditioned for Mr. Hytner for the New York and Chicago productions of Miss Saigon. In any case, his idea was simply to audition for Carousel in case it was recast at the end of the summer.
The audition was originally scheduled for last Friday. Knowing that, and feeling his own voice could use a rest, he skipped a matinee of Phantom the Saturday before and went to see Carousel. Then, during the early part of the week, he worked with his vocal coach, Colin Romoff, on his audition numbers, “Soliloquy” and “If I Loved You,” while performing Phantom at night. It was on Wednesday afternoon that he was asked to advance his audition to Thursday morning, which at first he refused because he was scheduled to do a commercial voiceover. That’s when he was told that he had to show up: performances of Carousel were being canceled for want of a Billy Bigelow.
At 10 A.M. Thursday, he sang “Soliloquy,” Billy’s solo rumination on his impending fatherhood, which closes the first act, for Mr. Hytner. He also did a little of the first-act scene in which he woos Julie Jordan before the two of them launch into the ballad “If I Loved You.”
“Nick stopped me and said he didn’t like the way I was playing it,” Mr. Lovett recalled. “He said: ‘You’re too charming. Billy doesn’t need charm. Do it again.’ So I did it again, and he said, ‘That was a nice adjustment. Thank you.’ I didn’t know what the thank you meant, except that it meant he had decided.”
So he left. It was while he was off recording a perfume commercial that he was offered the part through his agent. By 3 that afternoon, he was rehearsing as fast as he could, and on Saturday at 2 P.M., with only 10 hours sleep in the previous 60 or so, he was performing Rodgers and Hammerstein in front of a full house at the Vivian Beaumont Theater instead of Lloyd Webber at the Majestic. (At the Majestic, Jeff Keller, who had been playing a small role in Phantom, took over the title role.)
Before Saturday’s matinee, Bernard Gersten, executive producer of Lincoln Center Theater, and Andre Bishop, the artistic director, stood fidgeting with aniticipation amid the crowd in the lobby of the Beaumont, and with a little prodding, acknowledged it was an exciting moment.
“He’s better than a pro,” Mr. Gersten said of Mr. Lovett. “He’s a high-wire walker.”
Mr. Bishop, who is characteristically not quite so excitable, said almost the same thing, in his own sober way. “I’m nervous,” he admitted. “But I also feel lucky we were able to find someone who was available, talented — and game.”
By intermission, everybody knew it was going to be all right. Mr. Lovett had gotten through the vocally complex “Soliloquy.” And the audience, after prolonged applause, had exited the auditorium buzzing with approval. Mr. Gersten and Mr. Bishop were in the lobby again, but they’d stopped hyperventilating.
As for Mr. Lovett, when the opening performance was behind him, he had a little down time, a few welcome moments of repose. And that was when a few things caught up to him.
“We had all given Marcus his space,” Ms. Murphy said of the cast’s acknowledgement of how much work he’d had to do. “But after the first performance, everyone went up to him and introduced themselves.”
Mr. Lovett sighed when he recalled it. “After the curtain, everybody stayed on stage,” he said. “And I just started crying.”