Austria had granted full civil rights to the Jewish citizens just one generation ago, and hundreds of thousands had escaped the violence they faced in the Pale and flooded into Vienna’s Jewish quarter, Leopoldstadt. Set in turn-of-the-century Vienna, the gripping story of Broadway’s “Leopoldstadt” tells of heartbreak and resilience that follows one family through the twentieth century. We talked with cast member Anthony Rosenthal about the show, Hanukkah and New York City.
Anthony Rosenthal's NYC Favorites
WT: Can you tell us about your role in “Leopoldstadt?”
Rosenthal: I play Young Nathan, a son of an Austrian-Jewish family, who is also the younger version of Brandon Uranowitz’s character in the last act of the show. I come into the picture at a shift in the show, a transition to 1938 Vienna, on the “Night of Broken Glass,” when Nazis demolished thousands of Jewish homes and businesses. The following scene is later in that year when I’ve taken shelter with my mom and sisters in our extended family’s house, keeping watch over everyone as we are worried about our future. For my only scene in the show, it is quite a rich and thrilling one to be a part of. And to play a 14-year-old who still has innocence yet is forced to grow up too quickly is a gift.
WT: How did you get your start in performing, and in what other shows have you performed?
Rosenthal: After I saw “Newsies” on Broadway when I was 8, I knew acting was what I wanted to do (gladly surprised I still feel that way ten years later). I was insanely lucky to start that path very soon after, as my family moved to Seattle that same year, which was where I did my first show, “Oliver!” at the 5th Avenue Theater. Then, at 10, I got the job as Les in the National Tour of “Newsies,” fulfilling my theatre kid dream, which sealed the deal for all of us that this was the path. We moved to New York in 2015, where I have been blessed to be in shows such as “A Christmas Story” at Paper Mill Playhouse, “Really Rosie” at New York City Center, and the one that’s made the biggest imprint of my life, the 2016 Broadway revival of “Falsettos.” And now, “Leopoldstadt!” I am the luckiest. Shoutout to my supportive family; I assure you that they like it here.
WT: What is your favorite Broadway show to see as an audience member?
Rosenthal: Understanding that I shouldn’t say “so many,” I have seen Hadestown several times now and am absolutely in love with it. The hypnotic, musically-varied score, the remarkable cast, the set, the sheer beauty of its story--it’s terrific. I am also going to say that I saw A Strange Loop during the rehearsal process for Leopoldstadt, and I’m going to try to see it again on the only day I will be able to before it closes. And that “Little Shop of Horrors” Off-Broadway production, while this might be cheating, is one of the best theatrical experiences you will find in the city right now.
WT: What are your favorite NYC local tips?
Rosenthal: Google Maps is your friend! Check how much you can walk instead of taking the train! Do research on tours instead of taking the first bus tour you’re stopped about! And I am not the first to say this, but cabs and CitiBikes are also very valid modes of transportation. I would have Lyft at least downloaded as well!
WT: Where do you like to take family and friends when they visit?
Rosenthal: I always recommend SoHo and West Village. They’re amazingly fun areas to explore, and I love their history of them. If you’re in Times Square and need a breather, Bryant Park is a great place to veer off to. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art are both essential museums. Movie theaters are part of my NYC pride--we have so many great ones! I haven’t gone to an Alamo Drafthouse yet, but they are loved here, as they have both pioneered and mastered the “movie and dining” experience. And I hate to be a normie, but I have to say it: Central Park is the king of parks to visit here, and it never gets old.
WT: Can you tell us about your favorite childhood memories?
Rosenthal: I have a few childhoods due to the different places I’ve lived, but the most immediate “childhood” I think of is in our old California suburb Vacaville. I love to remember scootering or playing two-square with my sister in our backyard or driving around in my miniature car. There is also dancing with my sister to “Hairspray” and “Grease,” as well as loudly singing Beatles songs with my untuned acoustic guitar in the house. My supportive family mic’ed me so I could feel like a rockstar doing that! I wrote a few good tunes, too, such as “Make Me Turn Into A Car” and “Don’t Shoot My Nose Off.”
WT: Is there anything in New York City that you particularly like to experience during Hanukkah?
Rosenthal: Bryant Park has an excellent winter-themed makeover called the “Winter Village,” where there are goods, things to eat, and ice-skating on top of a Christmassy aesthetic! It wins for its accessibility for me. After all these years, my family and I still see Rockefeller Center and Macy’s windows during Christmas time. If you have a Christmas show itch, you have the Rockettes and ABT’s “The Nutcracker” standing by!