Hackettstown’s Own Emma Crow Lights Up Broadway in The Music Man 

By Jillian Risberg 


She’s had a lifelong love for The Music Man — and to make her Broadway debut as Zaneeta,  one of her favorite characters in the (1962) movie was a full circle moment and out of this world thrilling for Hackettstown’s Emma Crow. 


“It’s a dream come true; I never thought I was going to be in musical theater, especially not this early in my career — so it was just perfect,” Crow says, adding that it’s an honor to be on that beautiful stage with the best ensemble and immerse herself in the history of the Winter Garden Theater.


She calls their audiences fantastic as well, and she wants everyone to feel happier than when they came in.


“I feel like we achieve that with our show; it’s bright and lovely and (offers) community and joy,” the 18-year-old says there’s something for everyone — singing, dancing and incredible actors.  “I want people to enjoy it as much as we enjoy doing it.”


According to Crow, to combine her extensive dance background with acting in this production was nerve-wracking. For ballets she’s done pantomime.

It was her first time speaking on stage.


“In the beginning I was a bit insecure, but everybody’s helped me a lot and I feel like I’ve grown as an actor throughout this process,” she says, citing one of her favorite lines: ‘It’s ‘Capulets’ like you who make blood in the marketplace! Ye Gods!’


“It’s very dramatic and silly,” says Crow. “I also love a bunch of Mayor Shinn lines: ‘Watch your phraseology! And there are some beautiful Harold Hill quotes.’” 


The dancer’s journey to Broadway began in September 2020, when she received an email from one of the casting directors, ‘We’re looking for somebody with great (ballet-based) technique and think you’d be a great fit for the show. Are you interested in doing Broadway?’


“At first I thought it was a scam because ‘Broadway doesn’t work this way; this is too good to be true,’” she says. 


Even so Crow responded, ‘sure.’


“The next day she sent me the script and I had some video calls, Zoom calls with our current director and choreographer and several associates. The first day I met anyone in person was the first day of rehearsal.  It wasn’t a usual trajectory — it was kind of special because of the pandemic.”


Crow has to pinch herself everyday.


“I get to perform on Broadway with massive stars and legends and Broadway vets and Oscar nominees — for a living for a year,” which she calls unreal. “Sutton Foster and Hugh Jackman have inspired me immensely. Not only is their work ethic insane but they are so kind.”


She says it would have been easy for them to not care about the other actor’s personal lives and their favorite foods and dogs but they do.


“I can see you can be in a great place in your career, in movies, Broadway shows, have Tony awards and still be a grounded and normal person,” says the dancer. 


The best advice Crow was given when she started this journey was ‘be kind’ because it’s much easier than being rude and nasty.


“So when it’s a hard day and doing eight shows a week can be taxing — one of our Pick-a-Little Ladies, Jessica Sheridan told me: ‘There is somebody out there looking up to you and it’s her first Broadway show; you’re gonna make a big impact so persevere and do your best no matter what,’” the 18-year-old says.  


That’s what Crow would have told her younger self… to keep training hard, ever since the dancer was little and a disciplined perfectionist, which she feels has helped her get to where she is today. 


“Enjoy each rehearsal because I think back and miss those rehearsals with my friends when it wasn’t Broadway; just a local ballet performance,” says Crow. “Be in the moment and enjoy the opportunities you’re having now.”


She was the overall gold medalist at the World Ballet Competition in 2016, an eye-opening experience, not only for Crow but the people around her as well.


“You might be good in your little town but compared to people in 24 countries it’s a different caliber,” she says it was a great opportunity for connections and exposure. “I got a bunch of scholarships, ballet artistic directors approached me.”


According to the dancer, in her downtime she likes to sleep in and the show is a good schedule because she is a night owl — though she goes to classes in the morning at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School (since 2018). 


“Waking up to that is a bit hard but when I come back from the show I like to take a bath and journal about my day or any thoughts that manifested; spend time with my mom and sister, dad and dog,” Crow says normal, quiet things. “And maybe read a book.”  


Ballet has been her first love since she was two-years-old. Whether it’s full-time ballerina at ABT or just taking classes; the 18-year-old plans to continue dancing. 


She started at Christine Taylor’s North Jersey School of Dance Arts (NJSDA) in Hackettstown, where she was trained primarily by Ballet Mistress Luba Gulyaeva. 


“Ballet’s important for everything, even carrying yourself as a person,” she says it helps her personally. “I’m not opposed to doing more theater, or TV and film. And I take voice lessons now; singing has become a passion.  We’ll see what opportunities arise as the year goes on.”


The constant support and kind messages from her fans mean so much.


“Or meeting people at the stage door and they want to be on Broadway one day and I can offer what advice I have,” says Crow. “It’s very special and humbling to be able to inspire someone.”


For more information, follow Emma on Instagram at @e_crow2004.


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