Nathan Johnson is the man behind the glitz and glamour of many of our favorite Broadway photographic spreads. With his camera and eye for theatrics honed by his own acting chops, Nathan has captured some of the most profound images of Broadway stars and blockbusters of the decade. Show posters for Bandstand, Bonnie & Clyde and Spring Awakening join cast portraits of stars of Hamilton, Chicago and The King and I in his impressive portfolio which he will share with guests aboard Crystal Symphony’s April 30 Panama Canal cruise. Nathan is one of the eminent guests presenting as part of the Film & Theatre Experiences of Discovery sailing, during which he’ll regale guests with the backstories of some of his favorite projects and shows, as well as tales of life on The Great White Way.
While Nathan’s work can also be seen in such renowned publications as GQ, Vogue, Mens’ Fitness, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Sports Illustrated and Martha Stewart Living, his heart can be found on Broadway (quite literally, actually, as he is married to Tony®-nominated leading lady Laura Osnes). Next spring, his work can also be seen on board Crystal Symphony’s Panama Canal cruise, but for now, Nathan shares a glimpse of some of his favorites.
I would be remiss if I left our friend Lin Manuel Miranda out of this post. There are few (if any) in show biz that have had the successful year that Lin had with Hamilton, the hit show that he wrote and starred in. This photo was taken at the 2015 Tony Awards Press Day for The Broadway Style Guide (www.broadwaystyleguide.com — an online publication that I began with a few other friends). The press day was insane. It was basically a race for the nominees to try and get to as many press outlets as the could in 2 hours, not unlike a good episode of American Gladiator. We only had Lin for a total of about 45 seconds to capture this photo.
This shoot is one of my favorites to date. This image was taken for a show called “Bandstand” that had a successful premier at Papermill Playhouse in NJ, but was looking to come to Broadway. Unfortunately on Broadway, it’s not always easy to get a Broadway house as there are many more shows than there are theatres. We took this image almost a year ago in my studio in West Chelsea ( www.driftstudionyc.com) and had to sit on them until the producers secured a theatre just last month. The gorgeous gal on the right is my wife, Laura Osnes, and the handsome gent on the left is our dear friend Corey Cott. We had a wonderful team on this project. AKA, the ad agency, did a great job on this campaign. Bandstand opens April 26 (shameless plug).
Chicago is celebrating it’s 20th year on Broadway. Insane. I think their campaigns through the years have been some of the best, photographically speaking. I had the honor of getting to work with Barry Weissler, the producer of the billion dollar show, as well as the esteemed ad agency, SpotCo. Barry was extremely passionate and truly cared about the work that we were doing, and after 20 years and numerous Roxies, that really says something. The gal in the photo is Disney Star, Veronica Dunne. She played a six-week stint as Roxie Hart that just finished in November.
In 2014, Kelli O’Hara was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in The King and I at Lincoln Center. At that point, Kelli had been nominated for 6 Tony’s but never brought home the gold. I can honestly say that almost everyone I knew in the Broadway community was rooting for her. This photo was taken just weeks before the awards at the Empire Hotel. After we ran the story and photos on Broadway Style Guide, I received a beautiful voicemail from Kelli filled with tears of joy. Hearing her appreciation and gratitude in that moment was one of the most satisfying calls that I have received. Oh, and weeks later, she won.
Recently my friend and fellow photography, Jenny Anderson, and I decided to collaborate together and shoot some of the powerhouse duos on Broadway. Of course at the top of the list was Director Bartlett Sher and Actor Danny Burstein. These men have numerous projects that they have done together: South Pacific, Women on the Verge of a nervous Breakdown, Golden Boy, and the new Fiddler on the Roof with Danny as Tevya in the spotlight. I first met these guys when my wife was cast as Kelli O’Hara’s replacement as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. I immediately was hooked on Danny as a performer, and what’s more, he is just an incredible human. Bart’s productions have such a depth and beauty to them, I was honored to have these guys in the studio.
Crystal Symphony’s Film & Theatre themed Panama Canal cruise is available for booking now.