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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

BW alumnus Dan Hoy makes Broadway debut in musical ‘Harmony’

Allison+Semmes+as+Josephine+Baker+sits+atop+a+piano+while+the+Company+of+Harmony+gather+around+her.+
Julieta Cervantes, DKC/O&M
Allison Semmes as ‘Josephine Baker’ sits atop a piano while the Company of “Harmony” gather around her.

Baldwin Wallace alumnus Dan Hoy recently made his Broadway debut in the musical “Harmony,” which opened on Nov. 13.

Hoy was given the opportunity to serve as the assistant dance captain along with working as a swing and principal understudy in the musical — an opportunity he attributes to his education at BW.

“Harmony” tells the true story about a group of six men called the Comedian Harmonists who were half Jewish and half Gentile during the rise of Nazism. Although they were Europe’s top selling recording artists in the late 1930s, their successes in music and film were wiped from history when the Nazis came into power.

“We like to say that they’re the most famous musical group that you’ve never heard of,” Hoy said.

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Hoy had the chance to perform the role of Ari “Lesh” Leshnikoff, one of the six Canadian harmonists, due to an emergency that prevented the original actor from performing halfway through the musical.

“Halfway through Act Two, it’s like, ‘You’re on. Go. Good luck,’ and so the preparation that kind of goes into that is challenging.” Hoy said. “But it’s also very rewarding. When you get to kind of see that preparation come to fruition, it feels really nice.

Left to right: Steven Telsey, Blake Roman, Danny Kornfeld, Eric Peters, Sean Bell, Zal Owen play the six members of the Comedian Harmonists. The narrator, played by Chip Zien, stands in the center. (Julieta Cervantes, DKC O&M)

Hoy’s journey to Broadway began with BW. When he was a senior at the University, he had done a masterclass with the casting director for the “Cats” National Tour, even getting to host them.

“I had been their host, taken them to dinner, gotten to kind of get to know them a little bit,” Hoy said. “And so when I went in for that audition, they already kind of knew who I was, and we were able to connect and kind of get right down to work.”

After booking the “Cats” National Tour in 2019, Hoy was supposed to start working on a show called “Between The Lines” in March of 2020, but the production was delayed until 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After that, Hoy worked on a few regional productions and was in the middle of working on “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” at Idaho Shakespeare when he was awarded the opportunity to do “Harmony.”

“Broadway came-a-calling, and you’ve got to say ‘yes’ when the opportunities knock,” Hoy said.

Hoy said the audition process for “Harmony” was “a little crazy” due to some unexpected surprises during the audition.

“When I went into the audition initially, I did just a little bit of material for them, they had me come back in and sing a little bit,” Hoy said. “I think I went through four or five rounds [of auditions] in the course of a month. And the final call they had me in for, it was just slated as a dance call.”

However, after the dance call was finished, the casting directors asked the auditionees to stick around to sing. They were given sheet music and had 15 minutes to learn their respective parts. Hoy was the only person in the room asked to learn both the tenor one part, the highest of the male voice types, and the bass part, the lowest of the male voice types.

“I was literally walking back and forth across the room as the learning process was going on, to get to learn both of these parts…” Hoy said. “And it was a little crazy, it was a little wild. It was a lot of fun, though.”

Hoy said he credits BW’s bachelor of music program, and especially Victoria Bussert, the director of BW’s music theatre program, for his success during that call.

“Her whole philosophy…was, ‘I’m going to throw everything in the book at you so that when you go into New York, it’s going to feel like a cakewalk’,” Hoy said.

Hoy recalled a semester where he took an audition workshop class with Bussert where she had a selection of songs one would use during an audition. Each student picked up random audition books and had five minutes to learn the part, maybe in a key they’ve never sung.

“I felt very prepared at every audition setting I’ve ever been in because nothing’s ever going to be as intimidating as getting five minutes to learn a song you’ve never heard in your entire life that’s nowhere remotely in a key that you’re usually singing,” Hoy said.

Hoy also credits Baldwin Wallace’s bachelor of music program in his success, as the years spent on theory work and the music side of music theatre have really helped him throughout his career.

Hoy said he’s been performing since he “came out of the womb,” remembering a story his parents always like to tell about him.

“When I was two years old… I stood up on a chair in a restaurant and just went, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, can I have your attention, please?’ And you know, everyone’s giggling because it’s a two-year-old demanding attention in a restaurant,” Hoy said. “And apparently, I was like, ‘No, no, this is serious. You have to listen.’ And then I proceeded to sing something from Barney.”

Since that moment, Hoy said he’s just “had the bug” and always felt at home on stage.

As for “Harmony,” Hoy said that his favorite part of the musical was the power in telling a true story, and the biggest lesson he’s learned is to always be prepared and to know where you belong within the company.

“It’s been a constant reminder to me that every production truly does take a village, especially on Broadway,” Hoy said.

The advice Hoy would give to BW students hoping to get on Broadway one day would be to be prepared for anything and to take every opportunity you can, because you never know where it’s going to lead.

“There’s no formula to get to Broadway. It’s 99% preparation and then that 1% luck. That’s just the reality of it,” Hoy said. “Rejection is just a part of the game. But you never know the one time that opportunity is going to come knocking.”

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    ANN DAHNE (BW1967)Jan 9, 2024 at 3:02 pm

    This is a nice article. However, both photos with it involve the leads in the cast, but not Dan. I wish you had added even a headshot of him; including his website would have been a bonus.

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