“I still can’t even wrap my brain around The Tony Awards last night...so amazing to be part of the Broadway community.” That’s how Christine Dwyer ’07 summed up her feelings to her fans on Twitter, one day after performing at the Tonys on Sunday, June 8. Dwyer, who plays the leading role of Elphaba in the long-running musical smash Wicked, sang “For Good” with co-star Jenni Barber in front of millions of television viewers. (Watch the performance at the bottom of this page.)
That was not the only dream come true for Dwyer. She got to meet her hero and Broadway’s original Elphaba, Idina Menzel. Dwyer shared a photo of the moment on her Instagram account with the caption “My reaction to meeting Idina backstage last night!” The picture shows Dwyer and Barber beaming and clapping when the star walked up to them.
“Idina Menzel was my idol growing up,” Dwyer told Broadway.com in March. “She has a low, raspy voice like mine! When I heard Rent for the first time, I thought, ‘This is a show I could be in.’ Then I saw her in Wicked, and I burst into tears because she was such a huge influence on me.”
Dwyer’s journey to Broadway stardom started when she saw Cinderella as a child and told her mother she wanted to be on stage. Just over a decade later, she enrolled in the University of Hartford’s Hartt School and started working with vocal teacher Kristin Huffman.
“We have very high standards at Hartt and I set the bar very high in my studio,” said Huffman. “But she had so much potential when she arrived as a freshman.”
Huffman says Dwyer, who also trained with Hartt’s Alan Rust and Diana Moller-Marino, worked hard to reach that potential during her time at at the University. She performed in school productions of I See London…, Meet John Doe, and Smile. Dwyer and her classmates also learned about the inner workings of the theatre business when Huffman received a callback and then landed a lead role in the Tony-winning Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company. Huffman taught students about the audition process as she was going through it.
Huffman said it was thrilling to watch a former student perform at the Tonys. She said Dwyer seemed “very relaxed” on the stage and did a “great job.” She also praised Dwyer’s work ethic.
“She paid her dues,” explains Huffman. “She worked her way up through the chorus to Elphaba’s standby, to the lead. I am very proud of her, not only for her success but for being a very solid person."