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Broadway Road Trip Series: Hudson River Valley with Beth Leavel

We interviewed musical theatre actor and TONY award winner Beth Leavel to learn which cast albums she would take on her favorite road trip.

Discover the Hudson River Valley with Beth Leavel

While the pandemic has thrown off the rehearsal schedule Beth had anticipated, she is currently preparing to assume the role of Miranda Priestly in the new Broadway musical “ The Devil Wears Prada.”

The Interview

Where: What city are you in now?

Leavel: I have just moved to Nyack, New York, a mere 20 miles from New York City but a world away with its bohemian lifestyle and proximity to the river.

Where: How long have you been doing what you do?

Leavel: I have been performing on Broadway since my Broadway debut in “42nd Street” in 1984. I’m a North Carolina native and I made the huge leap to New York City after getting my master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (which makes me crave some North Carolina BBQ right now).

Where: What was the last theatrical project you were working on?

Leavel: My last theatrical project was to be “ The Devil Wears Prada.” It will be my 14th Broadway show and I will be playing the iconic Miranda Priestly. The pre-Covid plan was a six-week workshop, but that’s on hold until theatre comes back. Which it will, of course!

Where: What are some other shows you’ve been involved with and which ones are closest to your heart?

The shows dearest to Beth are “ The Prom” and “The Drowsy Chaperone” which she won a TONY award for in 2006 | WhereTraveler
Beth Leavel and Full Cast in THE PROM (Courtesy Deen van Meer)

Leavel: The shows dearest to me would have to be “ The Prom” and “The Drowsy Chaperone” which I won a TONY award for in 2006. It’s such a privilege to be involved in giving birth to an original character in an original show, and both shows were certainly original and had original characters. It’s also a privilege to bring so much joy to audiences, especially with “The Prom” which had such a powerful message of inclusivity, acceptance and love. Sometimes theatre can change lives. And this was a show that really did that. If you’re wondering about that photo of me in the leopard outfit, that was for the “Late Night with Seth Myers” show. That’s the “Saturday Night Live” set and me in my Dee Dee Allen (“The Prom”) get up.

Where: Do you enjoy going on a road trip and if so, where would you go?

Leavel: I LOVE a good road trip! I would take my fiancée with me, and he and I would head north to Bear Mountain in the Hudson River Valley. We’d look at the stunning views near Bear Mountain Inn, then head to Cold Spring and sit and watch the Hudson River after strolling through beautiful antique stores. After that, we’d head to West Point, and finally to Woodstock. We always look forward to a wonderful meal at the cozy Cucina restaurant where we can sit on the porch or by the fire if it’s a cooler night.

When asked about her road trip destination Leavel said, " I LOVE a good road trip! I would take my fiancée with me, and he and I would head north to Bear Mountain in the Hudson River Valley." | WhereTraveler
The bridge at Bear Mountain State Park (Courtesy Meryl Pearlstein)

Where: What cast albums would you listen to on your drive?

Leavel: Adam is a huge Sondheim fan so we would be listening to “ Sunday In The Park With George” and “Merrily We Roll Along”. Adam knows ALL the lyrics! I’m learning! Then we’d listen to the ones that I love, “Dear Evan Hansen,” “The Prom” (duh), “Ain’t Too Proud” and “Dreamgirls.”

Where: Would you sing along?

Leavel: Absolutely! I always sing along!

Where: Where would you stop along the way?

Leavel: We would definitely stop at any and every outdoor market we see and then sit by the river to soak in the views after antiquing along the way. Now THAT’S a road trip!!

Where: Are there any favorite places to eat along your route?

Leavel: We love Cucina in Woodstock and Boitson’s in Kingston. Boitson’s isn’t open at the moment, but we’re sure it’s going to come back as strong as ever.

Beth's favorite restaurant in the Hudson River Valley are Cucina in Woodstock and Boitson’s in Kingston | WhereTraveler
Cucina Woodstock (Courtesy Cucina)

The Road Trip

Enjoy

Bear Mountain State Park just 45 minutes from New York City along the western shore of the Hudson River, the four-season park is a popular destination for hiking, picnicking, cycling, river fishing, and, in the colder months, skating and cross-country skiing.

Stay

Bear Mountain Inn, the architecturally significant inn located in the center of Bear Mountain National Park is a member of Historic Hotels of America. Guests enjoy the inn’s full amenities including its spa, restaurants, and trading post. The inn is a favorite among area hikers.

Eat

Cucina, Woodstock, set in a beautifully restored farmhouse, Chef Gianni Scappin and Lois Freedman offer simple and elegant cuisine. The contemporary Italian menu is seasonal in approach and is based around local ingredients. The baked olives with Parmesan, penne puttanesca with a side of rosemary fries should not be missed. In response to Covid, the restaurant has expanded its offerings to include takeout and groceries.