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Bobby Gibson
Thayne Jasperson on the "Hamilton" stage at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

NEW YORK CITY — It’s known by different names: The Great White Way; 42nd Street. But for these Utahns, it’s just work.

The bright lights of Broadway shine on several Utah actors each night. For some, it took years of waiting tables and working temp jobs to finally land a gig, while others got a lucky break and booked a role on the world’s biggest stage right away.

But for all, it was a dream come true. Meet some of the actors who are living their dreams:

Thayne Jasperson

Play: "Hamilton: An American Musical" at the Richard Rodgers Theater

Role: Samuel Seabury, King George understudy, John Laurens understudy, Philip Hamilton understudy

Jasperson spends every day of the week except Mondays being part of a national phenomenon.

The Springville High School graduate knew “Hamilton: An American Musical” had hit potential in its early workshops, where he helped create his role of Samuel Seabury, a British loyalist in the American Revolution. But he never could have imagined it would become a national sensation.

“The hype has been insane. I knew it would be successful, but I don’t think I knew to what degree,” Jasperson said of the musical that has changed his life. “Who knew I’d go to the White House and be invited to sing in front of the president,” Jasperson said of the March 2016 performance for then-President Barack Obama. “It was incredible.”

Name a celebrity, and Jasperson has performed for them at the Richard Rodgers Theater, where "Hamilton" has been playing since August 2015. Legends like Aretha Franklin, Julie Andrews and Oprah Winfrey, actors Tom Hanks, Daniel Radcliffe and Julia Roberts, and musicians Beyonce, Kanye West and Jon Bon Jovi have all sat in the audience for the chance to see "Hamilton."

Bobby Gibson
Utahn Thayne Jasperson danced his way to Broadway. Seen here in Times Square, just a short walk from the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where Jasperson plays a British loyalist in "Hamilton" eight times a week.

The attention has been surreal, Jasperson says.

“Ever since I was young I used to say I wanted to be an actor,” Jasperson said. “I’d write in my journal about Broadway, and I just knew that someday it was going to happen. It was meant to be. It was just a matter of when.”

Before he ever started acting, Jasperson made a name for himself as a dancer.

Growing up in Springville, he clogged his way through elementary school — until he realized clogging probably wasn’t the coolest thing to do — danced with a chain saw at Lagoon’s Frightmares, and performed as a cast member with Odyssey Dance Company as a teenager. He even made it all the way to the finals of the Fox TV show, “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Bobby Gibson
Thayne Jasperson at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

Jasperson’s dancing made it easy to transition to musical theater, where he landed the lead role in Tuacahn’s “Footloose.”

“I always wanted to perform in some aspect. I was dancing a lot, but I knew I wanted to sing and act,” Jasperson said.

So he took a leap of faith.

“I packed my bags, got a one-way ticket, and came out here and went to every single audition I could possibly do,” Jasperson said.

The leap was worth it. Within a month, Jasperson booked a role in an episode of the NBC musical-themed drama, “Smash.” Then a month later, he landed a role in the national tour of “West Side Story.”

His career took off from there. In 2012, Jasperson made his Broadway debut in “Newsies,” followed by a year with the cast of “Matilda” at the Shubert Theatre. He was then in the early developmental workshop in Boston of “Finding Neverland,” before joining the “Hamilton” family.

Bobby Gibson
Thayne Jasperson at the Richard Rodgers Theatre stage door.

At his “Hamilton” audition, the casting director asked Jasperson to sing the song, “Dear Theodosia,” and then perform a rap.

“I didn’t even have to dance,” Jasperson said. “I sang. I rapped. I was in.”

Jasperson now performs eight times a week as Samuel Seabury, or occasionally as King George or John Laurens (two roles he understudies). He’s in an open-ended contract with “Hamilton” and says he loves being a part of a national phenomenon.

“Ever since I was young I knew Broadway was going to be in my life at some point. I just knew,” Jasperson said. “I’m so lucky I get to do this every day.”

DeLaney Westfall

Play: “Kinky Boots” at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre

Role: Lauren

Westfall fell in love with performing as an 8-year-old girl playing in “Annie” at St. George Musical Theater.

“Since then, I haven’t stopped,” Westfall said from her dressing room of the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, home to Broadway’s “Kinky Boots,” where she plays the lead role of “Lauren” eight times a week.

It took a trip to New York City three years later where she saw “42nd Street” and “Beauty and the Beast” to realize Broadway was where she wanted to be one day.

Westfall, who lived in St. George as a child and went to high school in Cedar City, credits supportive parents who did “whatever it took” to help her achieve her dreams — putting her in dance classes, singing lessons and even Brigham Young University’s musical theater camp.

Bobby Gibson
DeLaney Westfall in her dressing room at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

And despite making a “terrible mistake” at age 16 and deciding sports were more important than musical theater (and causing her to “lose all of her dance ability,” she claims), she still made it into BYU’s Music Dance Theatre program.

While at BYU, she starred as Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera,” and performed in several productions at Hale Centre Theatre. After graduation, Westfall traveled to New York with her classmates to perform in a showcase for Broadway casting directors and agents. That performance secured her an agent, a move that changed her life.

“They’ve done everything for me,” Westfall said. “Paying them 10 percent of my paycheck is hard, but every single job I’ve secured is all because of them.”

Westfall did one season at Tuachan in St. George, where she performed as Pearl in “Starlight Express” and understudied the title role in “Mary Poppins.”

In January 2014, she moved to the Big Apple and spent three months “waking up at 5 a.m. trying to be seen for auditions.”

In March of that year she joined the cast of a new Broadway revival of “Side Show,” the story of two conjoined twins. “I want to say it was because of my talent but I think it was because I looked a lot like the other twins,” Westfall joked.

She followed the show first to Washington, D.C., where it played the Kennedy Center, before moving to Broadway’s St. James Theater in October.

The show closed after just seven weeks.

Bobby Gibson
DeLaney Westfall getting ready for a performance of "Kinky Boots" at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

But Westfall bounced back quickly. She then joined the national tour of “Beautiful: the Carole King Musical,” and crisscrossed the country for a year and a half playing the role of Marilyn Wald, the “other woman” who had an affair with King's husband Gerry Goffin.

“Touring was a lot of fun, and I was able to travel all over the country,” Westfall said. “I’ll never forget the experience.”

But Westfall felt like bigger things were on the horizon. After her contract was up, she left the tour and moved back to New York. She lived off her savings from the tour, and auditioned for role after role for seven months. She endured several heartbreaks, as she “came close” to securing roles in “Frozen” and “Mean Girls,” but none of those panned out.

“That was very frustrating and scary and daunting and defeating,” Westfall said. “I left because I knew there was something bigger and better for me, but nothing was happening.”

Then she auditioned for “Kinky Boots.”

Bobby Gibson
DeLaney Westfall's script for "Kinky Boots."

On paper, Westfall didn’t think she fit the role of Lauren. Lauren, one of the factory workers in the play, was funny and quirky, and Westfall typically played the ingénue or vixen.

“I never saw myself as this character,” Westfall said. “But I figured I’d give it a shot.”

The call from her agent came on July 2, 2017. She’d gotten the role.

“I can’t believe this is my reality,” Westfall said of her life on Broadway. “It’s possible. I never thought it was possible, but it is.”

Will Swenson

Play: “Waitress” at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre

Role: Earl

Swenson always knew his career would lead him to the theater.

He just never imagined it would be on Broadway.

The Provo native grew up as part of the storied Hale family, who operate several theaters, including one in West Valley and Orem. Swenson grew up selling concessions, sweeping floors, ushering and doing just about any theater job you can think of.

“I love it. The theater is home for me,” Swenson said.

But it was a hard road to Broadway.

After graduating on scholarship from BYU, Swenson got his Equity card performing as Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast” at Disney World. He then performed in a national and international tour, but wanted more stability, so he moved to New York in 2000.

Bobby Gibson
Utahn Will Swenson stars as "Earl" in "Waitress" at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

It took four-and-a-half years to book a Broadway role — in the short-lived “Brooklyn.”

Now he wasn’t bored during that 4½-year theater drought. Utahns will know him for making several Mormon movies during that time, including “Singles Ward” and “Sons of Provo.” “Those kept me busy for a while,” Swenson said.

After about six months in “Brooklyn,” Swenson booked a role in “Lestat” — the “huge vampire flop,” Swenson said.

“I was lucky. After I booked my first Broadway show I was able to keep that ball rolling consistently,” Swenson said.

Roles in “110 in the Shade” and several off-Broadway shows followed. He had a Tony-nominated turn as Berger in “Hair,” and commanded the stage as Javert in the recent revival of “Les Miserables.” The New York Times said Swenson “musters his inner sinister to snarl and glower with gusto, and his singing has both power and precision.”

Swenson has played everything from bad guys ("Les Miserables") to drag queens (“Priscilla: Queen of the Desert”) and is always willing to try new things on stage.

Bobby Gibson
Utahn Will Swenson stars in "Waitress" at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

“It’s both trying to change people’s perceptions of what you can do and challenging yourself,” Swenson said. “My wife (Tony Award winner Audra McDonald) told me to go where you’re scared, because that’s where you will grow the most.”

Swenson and McDonald married in 2012. The pair met while both performing in “110 in the Shade.”

“I’m so lucky. I’ve got the world’s best acting teacher,” Swenson said. “We run lines with each other. She helps with auditions all the time. We definitely push each other.”

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Currently Swenson is back playing the bad guy as an abusive husband in “Waitress” at the Brooks Atkinson Theater.

He’s constantly taking part in workshops and developing new works. In January he will star in the off-Broadway premiere of “Jerry Springer: The Opera” at The Pershing Square Signature Center. And on Dec. 20, moviegoers can see Swenson as Philo Barnum in the new movie, “The Greatest Showman.”

“I love it. I pinch myself every day,” Swenson said. “The fact I get to come to work on Broadway — I do not take it for granted. It’s pretty awesome.”