7 Celebrities Who Need to Come to Broadway Already
These are TheaterMania's most anticipated celebrity debuts.
We know, we know...Broadway shouldn't be all about celebrities — but since it is undeniably already about celebrities (and their box-office appeal), why not encourage some of our favorites to step into the spotlight? Here are 7 celebs we would love to see bow on the Great White Way.
1. Lady Gaga
As the above video demonstrates, Lady Gaga has always had an uncommon flair for theatrics. This is less surprising when one considers that she studied musical theater at NYU before becoming an international pop sensation. She recently cut an acclaimed jazz album with Tony Bennett and blew us away with her Super Bowl rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." She's obviously in the best voice of her life, so the time is ripe to bring her talents to Broadway. Sure, we would love to see her in the (much speculated) revival of Funny Girl, but we really want her to originate a role in a new musical. Either way, it's only a matter of time before Gaga comes to town.
Academy Award winner Mo'Nique (Precious) may not be the first name you think of when you think of the stage. That is, until you consider her background in stand-up comedy. Mo'Nique has played some pretty tough crowds in her day, so she should have no trouble winning over the genteel audiences of Broadway. She has recently opened up about her belief that she has been "blackballed" by Hollywood (and her thin résumé since her 2010 Oscar win seems to confirm that suspicion). She should leave La La Land behind and step out on Broadway. We would be thrilled to have her talent here, perhaps in a new stand-up comedy special.
3. Benedict Cumberbatch
One of the hardest-working actors in Hollywood (The Imitation Game, August: Osage County, 12 Years a Slave), Benedict Cumberbatch recently made a highly publicized and controversial return to the London stage in Hamlet. His arrival on Broadway would be no less sensational, both in the press and at the box office. He would make an excellent Angelo in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure or Andrew Undershaft in Shaw's Major Barbara. Either way, we'll be there in a heartbeat.
4. Tyler Perry
An award-winning actor, director, writer, and producer, Tyler Perry is best known for his films (the extensive Madea series, For Colored Girls, and others). He got his start, however, in the Atlanta theater scene in the 1990s, self-producing his own plays. He's still at it: In 2005, Forbes reported that Perry's theater-ticket sales came to over $100 million, a number that has certainly grown in the past decade. His latest play, Madea on the Run (written by and starring Perry) made stops at the Upper West Side's Beacon Theatre and Brooklyn's Kings Theatre last year, but Perry has yet to plant a flag on the Rialto. We hope that changes very soon, hopefully with a new play: Madea Takes Manhattan?
5. Gael García Bernal
The Golden Globe Award-winning star of the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle, Gael García Bernal is one of the hottest stars in film and television. He's not a complete stranger to the stage either, having starred in a 2005 London production of Federico García Lorca's Blood Wedding. For his Broadway debut, he could revive his role as Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara for a stage adaptation of The Motorcycle Diaries. Or he could star in a new play by that film's screenwriter, Obie Award winner José Rivera. With so much potential for a Bernal debut, it's high time he make it happen.
6. Kristen Wiig
Funny lady Kristen Wiig routinely floored us with her performances on Saturday Night Live, where she was a regular cast member from 2006-12. A master of sketch comedy, she proved she can be hilarious in long form with 2011's Bridesmaids, which she starred in and cowrote (receiving an Oscar nom for Best Original Screenplay). She also surprised us with her dramatic chops in The Skeleton Twins. Wiig is now starring in the highly anticipated remake of Ghostbusters, so her celebrity will only grow in the coming years. If she's able to take time away from her busy filming schedule, we would be delighted to see her in a new comedy on Broadway (perhaps of her own creation).
7. John Abraham
For at least a decade, John Abraham has been one of Bollywood's most bankable beefcakes. Dhoom, New York, and the gay classic, Dostana: All grossed exponential returns at the box office and all starred Abraham. In addition to thrilling the tri-state's burgeoning South Asian community, his arrival on Broadway would certainly garner an armful of new fans (everyone likes hot dudes). Of course, unlike Bollywood, Broadway doesn't employ playback singers, so it has yet to be determined whether or not a musical would be the right vehicle for Abraham. But it's been over a decade since Bombay Dreams played Broadway, so this might just be the perfect opportunity for a revival.