Age & Hometown: 18; San Antonio, TX
Current Role: Crutchie, the loveable sidekick to revolutionary newsboy Jack Kelly, in the hit musical Newsies.
B’way Bucket List: Andy Richardson just graduated from high school, but he has already crossed off plenty of items on his “Broadway bucket list”: Richardson has performed at the Tony Awards twice (“that was definitely at the top”), sung on an original cast recording, performed on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and played a principal role. “Thanks to Newsies, I am tearing through that list,” the he jokes. The Texas native’s interest in theater began in second grade when he played the title character in The Cheese Stands Alone, and was nurtured at the local San Pedro Playhouse. As for what’s left, Richardson confesses, “I’ve always wanted to play Jack in Into the Woods. That’s a dream. I also love American Sign Language, and I want to be an interpreter, so I’d love to combine [performing and signing].”
I Saw the Sign: Richardson’s interest in American Sign Language began in high school when he signed up for a course to fulfill his foreign language requirement. “It caught me by surprise how much I fell in love with it,” he says. The young actor plans to enter NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study this fall to concentrate on musical theater and American Sign Language. In fact, his unusual skill played a crucial part in Richardson getting the news he'd been promoted to the role of Crutchie. He and Newsies director Jeff Calhoun (who also directed the Deaf West Theatre production of Big River) happened to be at the off-Broadway drama Tribes on the same night, and the two began signing across the theater. “I'd done the final callback for Crutchie that morning,” Richardson recalls, “and Jeff signed, ‘Did you get the call?’ and I’m like, ‘What call?’ Finally he signed, ‘You.’ That was the best way I could have found out.”
Let Him Entertain You: Before Newsies, Richardson had kid roles on Broadway in How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Patti LuPone’s revival of Gypsy. “It never hit me how important that was until years after,” he says of the Tony-winning revival. “I was directed by Arthur Laurents, and I got to work with Patti LuPone, Boyd Gaines and Laura Benanti.” This time around, Richardson fully realizes how major his musical is. “[Newsies] is so [famous] worldwide—so many people know it, and I love that because we get to share it with people,” he says. Richardson is even getting recognized on the streets of New York as the show’s new Crutchie, an experience he finds “surprising.” If you're hoping for a sighting of your own, check out local parks where this avid reader likes to "relax, sit in the shade and read."