Robert Cuccioli fans flocked to the Ocean City Music Pier on Wednesday to see his performance with the Ocean City Theater Company during the second annual Broadway on the Boardwalk series.
All it took was an email for the Broadway star to accept the leading role in Wednesday's collection of Broadway favorites. Cuccioli said he was more than happy to participate. Over the years, he has worked with small theater companies, including the Ocean City Theater Company.
Artistic Director Micheal Hartman had always looked up to Cuccioli as a child, so when it came to choosing a star, Hartman knew whom to contact.
“He is someone I look up to, and I always have. I used him as a mentor growing up,” Hartman said. “The event covers everything from classic to contemporary. It is a good educational opportunity to learn about the shows.”
The event included actors from the theater company's other productions and members of the the junior theater company to accompany Cuccioli in acts. Some songs he chose to sing were “This Is The Moment” from Jekyll and Hyde, “This Nearly Was Mine” from South Pacific and “Music of the Night” from The Phantom Of The Opera.
Most of the audience had seen Cuccioli in other productions and in the Broadway roles that made him successful. The crowd was delighted and had only praise for Cuccioli.
“I recognize fans that have followed me for years. It's great and it helps the theater company,” Cuccioli said.
Cuccioli made his Broadway debut as Inspector Javert in Les Miserables in 1987. He went on to perform in other off-Broadway productions and returned to Broadway in 1997 when he was cast in the leading roles of Jekyll and Hyde. For this production, Cuccioli was a Tony Award nominee for Best Actor in a Musical.
Over the years, he has won many other awards such as the Drama Desk Award and the Fany Award. Having traveled all of the United States to help out small theater companies, Cuccioli has been occupied for the past couple of years, especially with his work in Pittsburgh and in New Jersey for Paper Mill Productions.
This was Cuccioli's first visit to Ocean City. Cuccioli will perform soon in the Sound of Music and Jesus Christ Superstar, both in Pittsburgh, and then will join the cast of Othello in the lead role at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey.
As for Ocean City Theater Company, will open Sunday, July 3 at the Hughes Performing Arts Center at 7:30 PM.
Wednesday's performance raised money for the self-funded, nonprofit theater company.
“I am very happy to be a part of it,” Cuccioli admits. “The timing was perfect, and it worked out. I think Michael has a very talented company, and I was happy to be amongst them.”