Take a Night Off, Bette! Why Some Broadway Fans Prefer Understudies

Headliners will dominate Sunday’s Tony Awards, but fill-ins for the stars have their own followings, too; ‘we can’t wait for you to go on!’

Broadway obsessives, who will go to shows dozens of times, say they appreciate the energy and perspective understudies bring to their roles. Not unlike baseball fans who attend minor-league games to see the sport’s rising prospects, they also admit to taking a kind of geeky pleasure in “collecting” understudies, noting which ones they have seen in which roles over the life of a production.

.. the Broadway equivalent of, say, sightings of a rarely seen owl among bird-watchers.

.. “Understudies always bring something completely different” to the part, Ms. Goldstein said, adding that when she makes plans to see a show, she considers it a plus if there is a fill-in.

.. fans like her “just want to support the show by supporting the people who are less celebrated in it.”