The Brightest Light On Broadway: Sarah Pidgeon

by Natasha Wolff | April 26, 2024 10:41 am

In a crowded, competitive season of theater openings, one of the year’s biggest breakouts is certainly 27-year-old actress Sarah Pidgeon. She makes her Broadway debut this month in Stereophonic[1], a riveting play with music by Will Butler about a band in seemingly endless recordings of the follow-up to a smash success album. Echoes of the 11-month saga in which Fleetwood Mac recorded Rumors are no doubt a bit intentional. Pidgeon plays Diana, a Stevie Nicks-like singer trying to find her voice while dipping in and out of a toxic relationship with lead singer Peter, an exacting megalomaniac whose goal is sheer auditory perfection. After a critically acclaimed run at Playwrights Horizons last fall, Stereophonic opens this week at the Golden Theatre.

How did you find Stereophonic, or how did it find you?

It was one of the last auditions that I got before the pandemic shut down. The production didn’t move forward at the time so when I got the audition in my inbox last May, I jumped at the chance to tape for it again. It was one of those scripts that you don’t forget. The material is so rich. I’d like to think I’ve grown as a person and performer over the past few years so I was thrilled to bring that to it. A couple months later we began our rehearsals at Playwrights Horizons.

In the show, we only hear snippets of the songs the band is recording. What’s that like as a performer?

The snippets of the songs allow for the process of songwriting to do the storytelling. The songs aren’t these theatrically transcendent moments like they would be in a traditional musical. In Stereophonic, the characters are listening, commenting on the tempo, watching whether or not they’re playing in the right key. At least that’s what I try to keep in mind when those moments reveal themselves in the show. It also allows for a catharsis once we finally make it through a full song. We occasionally practice the full song in band rehearsal to remind us that the tiny parts we are working on in the play will ultimately gel into a could-be 70’s hit rock song.

Will the Stereophonic band of the play release an actual album?

During our break before our Broadway transfer, we put a record together. It got all of us excited and gave us a chance to reflect on how far we had come as a band since our first rehearsals. The process was also a helpful reminder that this is what our characters were living every day for years. Constantly listening, re-recording, spending hours killing time in between takes. The record will be out soon. We still need to figure out our band name.

There’s a scene where your character sings certain phrases of a song over and over, and you can’t quite hit a high note. How do you do that?

These characters are constantly seeking perfection in their music, the mood and tone and what evokes the world of the song. “East of Eden,” the song at the top of Act II, is Diana’s most personal, tortured song. It speaks so clearly to the dynamics in her and Peter’s relationship. Making my voice crack is the last thing I’m thinking about. I’m thinking of how fatigued Diana is, how tense her relationship is at the moment, and, more than anything, I’m trying to do the opposite of cracking and actually land the note.

What do you feel about bringing the show to Broadway?

Out of the seven cast members, six of us are making our Broadway debut alongside the playwright David Adjmi. When I signed on for our Playwrights run, I had no idea we might transfer a few months later. And now that it’s happening, it all feels like kismet.


  1. Stereophonic:

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