Inside a New Broadway Swing’s Tech Week

November 26, 2021

Libby Lloyd has always dreamed of being in a Broadway show, and this month, after years of dedication, that dream has become a reality. She has joined the cast of Diana: The Musical on Broadway as both the Diana understudy and a female ensemble swing.

Lloyd grew up training at Luv 2 Dance Studio in Kaysville, Utah, from the age of 10. After graduating high school, she attended Brigham Young University, where she danced on the school’s national-championship–winning dance team, The Cougarettes. While earning her bachelor of fine arts in the Music, Dance, Theater program, she also performed in various regional productions with companies like Tuacahn Center for the Arts and Music Theatre Wichita, and earned her Actors’ Equity card. In 2019, she moved to New York City, where she had her off-Broadway debut in The Wrong Man. Like other performers, she spent the first portion of the pandemic training at home, looking forward to the day that Broadway would reopen. In the summer of 2021, she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: a spot in the reopening of a Broadway show.

Tech week
for Diana began last month, and Dance Spirit spoke with Lloyd about all the exciting details from her first week in the theater. —Haley Hilton

Monday, October 25: New Beginnings

Lloyd poses with her fellow swings and understudies in front of of the Longacre Theater
Lloyd poses with her fellow swings and understudies in front of of the Longacre Theater

Photo courtesy of Lloyd

On the first day of tech week, Lloyd posed for a picture with her fellow swings to celebrate the start of their new adventure.

“It felt surreal,” Lloyd says. “This is something that I have always wanted. Yet at the same time it felt right. It’s similar to other tech weeks I have experienced in the past, but this time, I am in a Broadway theater in Times Square, and I am part of this special community. You feel like you are part of something greater than you—greater than your show, even.”

Tuesday, October 26: Costume Fittings

A rack full of 80s style dresses
Photo courtesy of Lloyd

On Tuesday, Lloyd spent a portion of her day in costume fittings.

“Diana has 39 costumes in the show,” Lloyd says. “I have my own version of all of those costumes fitted personally to me and my measurements. Beyond Diana, I have all of the female ensemble costumes, shoes and props as well. I have had more than 15 hours of costume fittings in total.”

Wednesday, October 27: Getting Stage-Ready From the Mezzanine

A photo of the stage from the Mezzanine. The cast stands around onstage dressed in black.
Photo courtesy of Lloyd

For many rehearsals, Lloyd and the other swings tracked their castmates’ onstage moments from the mezzanine.

“We moved around looking for different views of the stage,” Lloyd says. “We wrote down the marks for the various characters in the show so that we will be ready when it comes time for us to go on. It was challenging because we had to mirror everything in our minds, since stage-left to a performer is to the audience’s right. So, on top of learning the choreography of various people, you are also flipping it, and memorizing where it moves in space, without actually moving in the space yourself. It’s complicated.”

Thursday, October 28: Broadway Company Board Goes Up

"Diana: The Musical" company Board with the names of everyone in the cast listed.

Photo courtesy of Lloyd

“Today I got to see my name on a Broadway company board for the first time, and it was so exciting,” Lloyd says. “I saw them putting up the sign as I walked by and it felt surreal. I only found out I would be having this opportunity about a month before it began, so I am trying to recognize and appreciate all of these ‘pinch me’ moments within the whirlwind of it all.”

Friday, October 29: Makeup Magic

Lloyd sits in front of a vanity loaded with makeup, while her makeup artist does her makeup.
Lloyd poses with Angelina Avallone in front of her mirror while getting her makeup done.

Photo courtesy of Lloyd

Lloyd sat down with the show’s makeup artist, Angelina Avallone, to discover which color tones worked for both her face and the different roles she will play.

“In this picture I have the Diana makeup on, which is more peach,” Lloyd says. “We also tried out Diana’s sister Sarah’s makeup, which is more purple. Then we did the ensemble’s makeup, which is more pink and red. Makeup looks different on everyone, so I couldn’t simply use the makeup that Jeanna de Waal [the actress who plays Diana] uses. We had to make adjustments for me and my specific skin tone.”

Saturday, October 30: Stand-In With a Broadway Legend

Lloyd sits onstage in red chairs with Judy Kaye.
Lloyd onstage with Judy Kaye

Photo courtesy of Lloyd

While Waal was being utilized elsewhere, Lloyd stood in for her onstage to share a scene with Judy Kaye, who plays Queen Elizabeth II. Kaye has won two Tony Awards: one for Carlotta in Phantom of the Opera and another for Duchess Estonia Dulworth in Nice Work If You Can Get It. “It’s so great to be with such talented artists,” Lloyd says.

Sunday, October 31: Rest and Review

Lloyd sits in front of her window with her cat on her lap, reviewing notes for the show on her iPad.
Photo courtesy of Lloyd

On her day off, Lloyd reviewed details of the show and created a tracking sheet (think flash cards) to use should she be asked to go on last-minute. “Some people are more visual and will print out images to help them,” Lloyd says. “For me, writing the information is what really helps me remember.”

Monday, November 1: Final Dress Rehearsal

Lloyd and Kelly Devine pose for a picture in front of the stage.
Lloyd poses with choreographer Kelly Devine

Photo courtesy of Lloyd

For the final dress rehearsal before previews, Lloyd snapped a picture with the show’s choreographer, Kelly Devine. “Kelly was the first member of the creative team to see me in my initial audition,” Lloyd says. “From the very beginning, I felt that she had my back and was rooting for me. I mentioned that to her, and she told me she had been watching me since I was in The Wrong Man, and that she always wanted me in this show.”

Tuesday, November 2: First Day of Previews

Piles of roses lay on the floor of the "Diana: The Musical" theater

Photo courtesy of Lloyd

“All these roses were thrown on the stage during preview bows,” Lloyd says. “Jeanna gave a speech that was really awesome, and in it she asked the understudies and swings to join the full company onstage for bows. It was so special to me. My first Broadway bow! I had tears in my eyes as I looked up at the audience. There are a lot of times as a swing that you feel removed from the production. You are an important part of the show, but you’re spending a lot of your time watching from the audience, so there is a degree of separation. I had been feeling that in rehearsals and was a little bit bummed. Standing there onstage, I was reminded that I really am part of this company. This show would not be possible without me and the other swings and understudies.”

Lloyd poses outside of the Longacre Theater with her arms full of roses.Photo courtesy of Lloyd