Danny Gurwin to star in an evening of classic showbiz tunes
NEW YORK – It’s probably a sure bet that Broadway star Danny Gurwin doesn’t include on his resume roles with Detroit’s Peanut Butter Players or Nancy Gurwin Productions. But it was from these humble beginnings that the young actor forged a successful career, and now he’s returning home April 1 to give something back to the community that nurtured his talents.
“It’s going to be a great evening,” Gurwin said of his upcoming benefit concert for the B’nai B’rith Great Lakes Region at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield. “I’ve been asked to do this in the past and I’ve always said no, because I thought, I’m not really a star; if I am, it’s a tiny, little star. So my fear was, ‘Who do I think I am?'”
But that was before the affable, yet humble actor won rave reviews for his roles on Broadway in “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” “Urinetown,” “The Full Monty,” “A Little Night Music” and most recently “Little Women,” in which he created the role of Laurie.
It’s a fast-rising career that was preordained as far back as the fourth grade. “I remember my first performance was ‘Love Makes the World Go Round.’ I believe I was accompanied by the Pop Bottle Band. So even then we knew great things were going to happen,” the Southfield native laughed.
As the youngster grew up, he appeared on many stages throughout the area. But it was while working with the Peanut Butter Players, a children’s theater company, that the future Broadway star first worked with Sutton Foster, another local thespian with whom he would later co-star in “Little Women.” “I think we’ve both come a long way,” the actor chuckled.
Given that he knew all the lyrics of every classic Broadway show by the time he was 15, it probably surprised no one that Gurwin decided to pursue theater as a career. So with a full scholarship from the University of Michigan tucked under his arm, Gurwin headed to Ann Arbor – and immediately after graduation in 1994, to New York. His bags were barely unpacked, however, when he was cast in his first major production, the Washington, D.C. premiere of “Jeffrey.”
It was the beginning of a career that has never slowed down. “I’ve been really fortunate. I think the longest span [of unemployment] I’ve had is maybe eight weeks at most.”
For his triumphant return home, Gurwin is planning an evening that features many of his favorite show tunes, including those that influenced his life. It’s a night of classic Broadway, from “West Side Story” to “Snoopy” and “Scarlet Pimpernel” and “The Fantasticks.”
Joining him on stage will be his mother, Nancy Gurwin. “I love her, and I think she’s a gifted lady who’s really worked hard all her life, so I’m thrilled to come back and sing with her.”
Also appearing in the show will be Dana Steingold, another native Detroiter who recently received a theater degree from New York University. David Sherline serves as music director.
“It’ll be a beautiful evening,” Gurwin concluded.