Friday, June 7, 2024

Friday 5: 5 Pop Stars Who Wowed Me

5 Pop Stars Who Wowed Me

Some people call it "stunt casting," and sometimes, it is - anything to get butts in seats, right? Sometimes, though, it is just good casting. Here are five times that pop stars were cast and they were amazing!

1. Sara Bareilles as The Baker's Wife in Into the Woods (2022):
I didn't think there'd ever be anyone as amazing in this role as its originator, Joanna Gleason. Then along came Sara Bareilles. She made the part completely her own, low-key, earthy and sincere. I was as full of awe and wonder at her performance, as her Baker's Wife was at the magic to be found in those woods.

2. David Cassidy as Mickey Johnstone in Blood Brothers (1993):
Some 20 years after he was a teen heartthrob in The Partridge Family, David Cassidy returned to the Broadway stage in a performance that eclipsed its originator. Gritty and troubled, his take on the role was deeply moving. And what a voice! (His half-brother, Shaun, no stranger to pop stardom himself, was also wonderful as the other "blood brother.") 

3. Ingrid Michaelson as Sonya in Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812:
I've been smitten with her since I found her video for her song, "After Life." When I saw the announcement that she'd be taking over the part of Sonya, I had to get a ticket! She did not disappoint! What I loved about her performance was her commitment to the ensemble aspects of her track. She really rocked it in the upper mezzanine of the Imperial - even when Sonya was alone...

4. Helen Reddy as Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers (1995):
I feel so fortunate to have seen this singing icon in her only Broadway role. She hadn't lost one bit of her extraordinary gifts, singing the hell out of Willy Russell's score. Her acting, as the tragic Mrs. Johnstone, was...dare I say it? great as her vocals!

5. Vanessa Williams as Aurora/Spider Woman in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1994):
Heck, she was so magnificent as the title character, they put out a second cast recording! A sensuous, provocative and thoroughly engrossing star turn solidified this pop star as a bonafide Broadway star. No slight intended to the original star, the incomparable Chita Rivera, but Ms. Williams made the role completely her own, disappearing into the cinematic temptress and harbinger of death. Brilliant.

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