In this inaugural edition of an ongoing series, StageLight celebrates one of the incredible performers who has made their Broadway debut within the last year by getting to know a little about them.

Today, StageLight welcomes Riza Takahashi.

What was the date of your debut and with which show was it?

RT: I made my Broadway debut in Mean Girls. The previews started on March 12th, 2018 and we officially opened on April 8th, 2018.

Do you have any preshow rituals?

RT: I have post show rituals! When I get off stage at the end of the show, I bow to the stage and say “thank you” in Japanese. Not sure why I decided to say it in Japanese, but it reminds me to be grateful for where I am every day.

What’s something you’re passionate about that has nothing to do with the arts?

RT: Coffee! I love coffee so much – to a point where I started working as a writer for a Japanese web-magazine to write about cafes around the city and interview baristas.

Do you have any advice to 13 year-old you?

RT: Keep working hard! You don’t know how to speak in English just yet, but everything you’re doing right now will pay off in the future including your study in English and all your training in musical theatre.

Has there been a really incredible moment you’ve had on stage since making your debut?

RT: A lot! But the best moment was right before our invited dress on Broadway. Our amazing director Casey Nicholaw introduced and congratulated all of the Broadway debuts on stage right before the show. It was a special moment for all of us and I’ll never forget that moment on stage with Casey and all my fellow castmates feeling all the feels.

What role are you “completely wrong for” that you’d love to play?

RT: The thing is…if I can understudy Janis, there are no “wrong” roles! …but I’d have to say it would be so fun to play Damian… just saying.

Whether stars are made or born, there is still a moment where they must make their Broadway debut. Congratulations to Riza on her monumental achievement. Catch her in Mean Girls currently running Tuesday through Sunday at the August Wilson Theatre. For tickets and more information, please visit

Some answers may have been edited for length and clarity – never for content.