Bullets Over Broadway Comes to PPAC

bulletsWhen Andrew Hendrick visits Providence this week, he won’t be completely unfamiliar with the area. The native Connecticut resident knows Rhode Island well, for a particularly endearing reason. “My middle name is Bryant. My parents met at Bryant College.” And of course, being a New Englander he has visited friends at some of the great colleges we have. However, this time when he visits Providence it will be for professional reasons. On May 31 , PPAC will present Bullets over Broadway, currently on the last leg of its tour. The play, written by Woody Allen, is based on the movie of the same title by Allen and Douglas McGrath. With direction and choreography by Susan Stroman, this show promises to have it all — singing, dancing, and comedy!

Bullets Over Broadway is about a playwright who needs financial backing for his show, so he turns to a mobster. This Tony-nominated show did not run very long on Broadway, only 100 performances, and as ensemble member Andrew Hendrick told me, the tour has now run longer than the Broadway production. “It’s pretty incredible to work on the first national tour. I saw it (on Broadway), but never thought I’d be in it,” Hendrick remarks mentioning his luck in landing a role so close to graduating from college. A 2012 graduate of Western Connecticut State University, his drive and grateful nature shine through in everything he says.

His bio is an interesting one, as he is listed as a producing associate with Broadway Records. Broadway Records has produced the recordings for The Visit, Big Fish, Disaster, and many other original Broadway productions. He acknowledges that his bio is eclectic. “It’s a rare breed crossing onstage and behind the scenes. In middle school I got into acting, and in college I got into the producing as well, as a secondary way to make a living in an industry that is hard to do so.”

This level-headed approach is a demonstration of his resolve, and showcases how he might make it through a nerve-wracking audition for one of today’s most accomplished choreographers — especially for someone who doesn’t consider himself a dancer. “I commend her so much,” he explains when asked about working with Stroman. “She sees beyond the dancing, she sees the story. She recognizes if he’s a hard worker he’ll pick it up,” he finishes.

In addition to his role in the ensemble, Hendrick is the understudy for not one, not two, but three principal roles. Nick Valenti, the mob boss, Julian Marx, the producer of the show within a show, and Warner Purcell, an actor in the show within a show. Of the three roles, he has a fondness for Nick because Hendrick hails from an Italian family and in his family his grandfather is the boss. (Of the family — he is quick to remind me — not the mob!)  He also enjoys Warner. “Warner was more of a challenge for me to get so I enjoy that,” he explains.  His love for a challenge will surely give help him in a career that is chock full of challenges. “Acting is first and foremost my passion, but I’ve learned my passion extends to always being part of the industry.” Spoken like a true theater artist indeed.

Bullets Over Broadway opens runs Tuesday, May 31 through Sunday, June 5 at PPAC.  Call 401-421-2787 for tickets or visit their website at www.ppacri.org.  

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