Monday, November 8, 2010

Roles They Could Have Had

I've been reading a lot lately about prominent actors that audition for or were considered for parts in Broadway shows or movie musicals that either turned down or were denied the roles. I find this fascinating because I think we all feel that once you reach a certain point in your acting career, you can have any role you want. Well prepare to be surprised, because some of these names are big, I'm talking Patti LuPone and Meryl Streep big. Some of these casting situations are confirmed by the actors and some are just rumors, but nonetheless they are all juicy
  • West Side Story (film)-Elvis was offered the role of Tony but his manager turned it down as "Elvis only does Elvis movies"
  • Sunday in the Park with George-Patti LuPone auditioned to replace Bernadette Peters as Dot/Marie but was denied the role
  • A Little Night Music(Broadway revival)-Patti LuPone reportedly contacted director Trevor Nunn about playing the role of Desiree but he never returned her call
  • A Little Night Music(Broadway revival)-Broadway heavy hitters Sherie Rene Scott, Marin Mazzie, and Victoria Clark were considered for the role of Desiree but producers decided to go the way of "star casting" with Catherine Zeta Jones; Laura Benanti was also offered the role of Charlotte but turned it down to star in In the Next Room/The Vibrator Play
  • Crazy For You-Karen Ziemba was up for the female lead but lost to Jodi Benson; Ziemba later toured with the show and was much more acclaimed in the role than Benson
  • Wicked-Stephanie J Block played Elphaba in the first workshop but was later recast by Idina Menzel
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie-Kristen Chenoweth was cast as the original Millie, but left to film her sitcom Kristin and was recast but Erin Dilly and ultimately Sutton Foster
  • Little Shop of Horrors-Nathan Lane and Faith Prince were considered for the original Seymour and Audrey but neither got the part; ironically both were later cast together in the revival of Guys and Dolls
  • Sunset Boulevard-Hollywood stars Meryl Streep, Faye Dunaway, and Barbra Streisand were considered for the role of Norma, which was ultimately played by Patti LuPone in London and Glenn Close in LA and New York
  • Into the Woods-Patti LuPone reportedly auditioned to play the Witch, but it was given to Bernadette Peters
  • Wicked-Sara Ramirez was considered for Elphaba before Idina Menzel was hired
  • The Rocky Horror Show (revival)-Matthew Morrison was offered the role of Rocky but turned it down to be in a boy band; when the band failed he joined the production in the chorus
  • Grease (movie)- Henry Winkler was offered the role of Danny but he turned it down because "it was too similar to the Fonz"
  • Sunday in the Park with George- Kelsey Grammer played a soldier when the show debuted off-Broadway but left to play Frasier on Cheers
  • Sweeney Todd (film)- Meryl Streep was offered Mrs. Lovett but turned it down to do the film version of Mama Mia
  • Young Frankenstein- All 4 principle actors from Will & Grace auditioned, but only Megan Mullaly was cast, in the role of Elizabeth
  • Wicked- Mandy Moore received an offer to replace Chenoweth as Glinda, but "didn't want to follow someone like Kristin"
  • Hello Dolly- Ethel Merman was offered the role of Dolly Levi but turned it down and it went to Carol Channing; ironically Merman later played the role as the final  Broadway replacement and the last role of her career
  • Passion- Patti LuPone was offered the role of Fosca but turned it down to do Sunset Boulevard in London
  • Cabaret-Madonna seriously considered playing Sally in the revival but turned it down for "security reasons"; Anne Heche was rumored to headline the first national tour but the role ultimately went to Terri Hatcher
  • Sweet Charity (revival)- Brittney Spears turned down the offer to replace Christina Applegate as Charity
  • Moulin Rouge (film)- Renee Zellweger was on the short list for the Nicole Kidman role but ultimately lost out
  • Chicago (film)- Kristin Chenoweth lost the role of Mary Sunshine to Christine Baranski and was also considered for Roxie; Catherine Zeta-Jones was cast and given the choice of Roxie or Velma
  • Wicked- John Gallagher was considered for a role in the original production but told producers he "could never do musicals"
  • Ragtime- LaChanze was almost cast as Sarah until the producers insisted in Audra McDonald
  • The Light in the Piazza- Celia Keenan-Bolger was the original Clara out of town but producers thought she "read as too young" and promoted Kelli O'Hara to play Clara after originally playing Franca
  • Evita (film)- It seems like everybody in New York and Hollywood was considered for this film role, from Patti LuPone to Michelle Pfeiffer but it ultimately went to Madonna
  • American Idiot- Constantine Maroulis played the role of St. Jimmy in workshops until Tony Vincent joined the production

1 comment:

  1. Just to make sure it is clear, Constantine Maroulis did do the workshop for American Idiot but did not do the show as he was not ready to leave Rock of Ages at the time. Wise (but hard) decision on his part, IMO.