Take your daughter to work Broadway: Jon Jon Briones and daughter see ‘Hadestown’    

New York — Jon Jon Briones saw his daughter Isa's Broadway debut from the greatest seat. He was not front row or backstage. He accompanied her. Last month, father and daughter played Hermes and Eurydice in “Hadestown”. They cried readily at curtain call, their first time performing. “Just this pinch-me moment. I can't believe I got to do this with a musical theater icon who is also my father and tells a beautiful story, says Isa Briones.

He laughs, “When we were rehearsing, I was crying watching Isa, and I would miss my cues.” “I've also learned to look relaxed for the cast because a nervous lead is bad. I broke down at curtain call. I blew it.” In the 2017 Broadway revival of “Miss Saigon,” the elder Briones played the Engineer, a part he played in a 2014 West End production and received an Olivier Award nomination. The 1989 London performance featured him in the ensemble.

After appearing in “Star Trek: Picard” and “Goosebumps,” Isa Briones played Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds in “Hamilton” on tour. “In the last few days, especially before we went on, I stepped back and thought, ‘Oh, right, it's your Broadway debut. This is your childhood dream,'" Isa says. The thing I grew up watching my dad do, now I do it with him, is incredibly special.

Jon Jon was in “Star Trek: Picard,” but his daughter wasn't. The couple were close to working together. They finally did it when dad had a recurring role in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” and Isa played his daughter for a brief period. They now star in hell together in “Hadestown,” the 2019 Tony Award-winning musical that combines Orpheus and Eurydice and Hades and Persephone. Hermes narrates.

I’m just so happy to be doing theater again,” says 25-year-old Isa. "I think we've both been away from theater for a long time, and it's been great doing TV and film, but we've both talked about how theater replenishes our soul." Their father-daughter bond has grown as they watch Hermes recite Eurydice's tragic love story in “Hadestown”. “It actually has raised the stakes for me,” adds Jon Jon. “My lover is involved.”

All of the Briones family acts, including mom Megan Johnson and younger brother Teo. Megan and Jon Jon met in “Miss Saigon.” Jon Jon told his wife to bring Kleenex when she saw him and Isa perform on Broadway. That decision worked. It was her crying. Like convulsive crying, says Isa. “The show already wrecks you. You have your spouse and daughter, which is cruel.”

Also proud was Teo Briones. “He ran up to me from across the street, hugged me, and cried into my shoulder. “Your 19-year-old brother doesn’t always give that,” Isa explains. Young actors have it tough, but Isa and Teo followed their parents.

“I think my wife and I are relying on the way we raised them,” adds Jon Jon. We instructed. We shared our work and how to behave in public with grace, humility, and thankfulness. They know how to value work. Not the glitz, but the work.” Before the Briones, several parent-child pairs have been on Broadway. In 2013, Laurie Metcalf performed with her daughter Zoe Perry in “The Other Place” and Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher starred in the 1973 production of “Irene”.

Both Isa and Jon Jon dedicated their Broadway milestone to Megan, who has sacrificed much for her career. “She keeps our family going,” adds Isa. Dad says, “We owe her.”

According to Isa, she debuted on Broadway with her mother. "I feel very lucky that multiple people have come up to me and said, ‘You have your mom’s voice’ and ‘I think you sound exactly like your mom,’ because she has a beautiful voice," Isa adds. “To know I have both in me is really, really affecting.”

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