Eric Wiegand’s first Broadway show has certainly been memorable.
The 2014 Carmel High School graduate has been appearing with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick in Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite” at New York’s Hudson Theatre.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be lucky enough to work with this nice a group of people again, so I couldn’t be happier to be back,” Wiegand said.
Parker and Broderick, who are married in real life, play three different characters each in three different stories.
“I get to play a Plaza Hotel bellhop at the top of the first act, and a very late-1960s-era groom at the end of the third act,” Wiegand said. “There’s certainly some butterflies going out on the stage, but the overwhelming feeling is how fun it is. Since none of the supporting cast is onstage for very long at a time, we have a great environment backstage, lots and lots of board games.”
Wiegand had his first audition for the show in December 2019 with the director, John Benjamin Hickey.
“The callback was a few days later, where I had a kind of surprise introduction to both Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick who read the scenes with me,” Wiegand said. “So, it had already been a pretty thrilling experience just auditioning, and then later that same week, I got a call that I had been cast. So, from the audition through the entire rest of my time with the show, it’s been absolutely surreal in the best way.”
In February 2020, Wiegand said the production went on the road to the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston.
“We performed there for about a month, which turned out to be a huge blessing, because we were able to get the show on its feet before the pandemic shut everything down,” Wiegand said. “After the Boston run, we came back to New York and moved into the Hudson Theatre. We were in the middle of a rehearsal day, one night away from our first preview, when the governor announced that Broadway would be shutting down. Our producers kind of raced over to the theater to talk with us. Rehearsal was canceled for the day, and we all went home thinking we’d be back in a couple weeks, maybe a month, at most. And, of course, that timeline just got pushed and pushed and pushed. Overall, though, I consider us to be extraordinarily lucky
“Our producers were in constant communication over the next two years, sending us cookies and assuring us that, at the earliest possible chance, the show would be back.”
Finally, this February, the show was set again.
“They never tore the set down in the Hudson Theatre. It just sat there gathering dust throughout the pandemic, and anything we left in the dressing rooms was still there,” he said.
The play opened in March and is set to run through July 10.
Wiegand, a 2018 Carnegie Mellon University graduate, appeared in a “Law and Order SVU” episode that debuted in March.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work on smaller theater projects in New York, often with folks I knew in college,” Wiegand said. “It’s such a fun situation to be living in a city with so many other theater artists I moved here with. That’s certainly been a huge highlight of my past few years here.
“Working on this show has been a very fun peek into the Broadway world though. It feels incredible just to be along for the ride.”
Wiegand earned a role in the TV series “Outsiders” the summer after his freshman year at Carnegie Mellon.
“They were shooting in Pittsburgh, so a local casting director reached out to Carnegie Mellon looking for folks in the acting program to audition,” he said. “I got hired along with one of my closest friends and classmates (Carson McCalley), who I got to fake punch on camera.”
Wiegand said his favorite theater experience at CHS was playing Enjolras in “Les Miserables” in 2012.
“My brother Ryan played Jean Valjean, and just about all my friends were also in the production, which is an experience you probably only get once, even if you’re lucky, so I really cherish that memory,” he said.
Wiegand was in the Ambassadors, the mixed show choir, at one point with his brother, Ryan, a 2012 CHS graduate.
“From middle school shows with June McCarty Clair and Sylvia Hyde, to getting directed in high school by Jim Peterson, Maggie Cassidy, and Lamonte Kuskye, I feel unbelievably fortunate to have had such incredible mentors,” Wiegand said. “I know I’m not alone, either. There are so many Carmel alumni in New York and elsewhere who feel wildly blessed to have grown up with these teachers.”