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Casting What Could Have Beens

magictodo123
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Casting What Could Have Beens#1
Posted: 7/29/19 at 5:13am
Have you ever gone on Wikipedia to look up a show and seen like the previous incarnations of the show and sometimes the casting just blows your mind? I read yesterday that Barrett Wilbert Weed partook in an early workshop of Dear Evan hansenas Zoe. Totally blew my mind.

Anyone else have that kind of realization/moment?
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Casting What Could Have Beens#2
Posted: 7/29/19 at 8:53am

Toni Colette was in talks for Sally in the '98 Cabaret revival and then later for Mrs. Lovett and Roxy, both on screen. Ah, what could have been!

I've been on a Theatre Talk binge lately and heard some other interesting ideas. Lily Tomlin was in talks to take over as Violet in August Osage County on Broadway and Joan Rivers mentioned she was approached for the last Annie revival. 

I also vaguely recall hearing Reba was in the mix for the LCT South Pacific revival (after she did the role in concert) but turned it down as she wanted to do something that was more of a departure. I'm still holding onto hope for that Reba led Best Little Whorehouse revival however.....

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bwayphreak234
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Casting What Could Have Beens#3
Posted: 7/29/19 at 8:57am

A few years ago it was STRONGLY rumored that Nicole Scherzinger would take over the role of Leading Player in the Pippin revival. Sadly, it was just a rumor and never happened.

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Casting What Could Have Beens#4
Posted: 7/29/19 at 9:04am
I actually recently discovered that Weed had done the workshop as well. I’m glad she didn’t end up continuing though. I can definitely see her singing Zoey, but I don’t think she’s right for the part, and Laura Dreyfuss was absolutely wonderful when I saw her. I wouldn’t be surprised if Weed regrets not doing the show on Broadway. It likely would’ve brought her far more fame and prestige than Mean Girls. Especially since doing Dear Evan Hansen would’ve allowed her to sing a score that was actually competently made.

As for other “Casting What Could’ve Beens”, the one that springs to mind is Thoroughly Modern Millie. Kristin Chenoweth did it in the workshop, but she didn’t continue so she could film a pilot. Then Erin Dilly was set to take over, but she didn’t end up going through with it. Thus, Sutton Foster went from being an understudy to a Tony winning star. In fact, the only three principles who took part in the initial workshop to play it on Broadway were Marc Kudisch, Ken Leung, and Francis Jue. Bea Arthur was actually supposed to be Mrs. Meers before Harriet Harris played it. I’m not quite sure why she didn’t continue, but I’m guessing Harris was pretty happy she didn’t, considering the role won her a Tony.
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BrodyFosse123
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Casting What Could Have Beens#5
Posted: 7/29/19 at 9:06am

Madonna was in negotiations to replace Jennifer Jason Leigh in the 1998 Broadway revival of CABARET but producers couldn’t guarantee proper security. The intimate semi-in-the-round staging would require more than standard security.

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Casting What Could Have Beens#6
Posted: 7/29/19 at 9:35am

Miley Cyrus as Hedwig

ElphabaGoodman
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Casting What Could Have Beens#7
Posted: 7/29/19 at 9:48am
Kate Winslet as Desirée in the revival of A Little Night Music
Laura Benanti did participate in a reading of Waitress, as Jenna
Susan Blackwell as adult Alison in Fun Home
Vanessa Ray as Carole King in Beautiful
Sherie René Scott as Diana in Next to Normal
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Casting What Could Have Beens#8
Posted: 7/29/19 at 9:50am

Britney Spears in the Christina Applegate led Sweet Charity revival was rumored to have been taking over when Applegate departed. 

magictodo123
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Casting What Could Have Beens#9
Posted: 7/29/19 at 10:34am

ElphabaGoodman said: "Kate Winslet as Desirée in the revival of A Little Night Music
Laura Benanti did participate in a reading of Waitress, as Jenna.  IM SORRY WHAT???
Susan Blackwell as adult Alison in Fun Home
Vanessa Ray as Carole King in Beautiful
Sherie René Scott as Diana in Next to Normal

"

 

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Casting What Could Have Beens#10
Posted: 7/29/19 at 11:18am

With the "could have been" conversation, it's important to differentiate between who was just OFFERED a role (or were considered/auditioned/did a reading), vs. people who were committed do doing it and dropped out late in the negotiation process.

 

Announced but never happened:  Jake Gyllenhaal in Burn This, Josh Radnor in She Loves Me, Cate Blanchett in All About Ivo, Stephen McKinley Henderson in a cut role in To Kill A Mockingbird, Rosemary Harris instead of Holland Taylor in The Front Page, Bartlett Sher's Funny Girl revival (Lauren Ambrose, Bobby Cannavale, Randy Graff), Roundabout's Lips Together Teeth Apart (Mullally, Patton Oswalt), Cloris Leachman as a replacement in Young Frankenstein (it closed before she could join the cast).

Christine Baranski in Hay Fever at Roundabout last year.

Audra in a Sam Gold/Scott Rudin production of Streetcar (opposite Adam Driver) and in American Son.

Roger Bart was in rehearsal to take over for Brooks Ashmanskas in Shuffle Along (because Brooks had an out to do The Prom in Atlanta) when the show announced its abrupt closing. Bart was also fired from the producer/Hook role in Finding Neverland out-of-town; Michael McGrath took over, and then they replaced him with Kelsey Grammer.

Norbert Leo Butz as King George in Hamilton after Brian D'Arcy James left to do Something Rotten.

Manoel Felciano didn't move to Broadway with Anastasia (as Gleb), the Ragtime revival (as Tateh), and Mothers and Sons after doing the pre-Broadway regional run of all 3.

Martin Moran did the first Public production of Fun Home (the Cerveris role) and the Alliance production of The Prom (as Mr. Hawkins) but didn't continue with either.

Faye Dunaway in Tea At Five (eyyyyyy)

Updated On: 7/29/19 at 11:18 AM
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Casting What Could Have Beens#11
Posted: 7/29/19 at 11:31am

That rumored Follies movie starring Debbie Reynolds as Sally. That whole rumored cast was amazing, I can't find the link though.

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little_sally
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Casting What Could Have Beens#12
Posted: 7/29/19 at 11:40am

Jenna Elfman in Nine

Jane Krakowski in Sweet Charity 

Dianne Carroll in A Raisin in the Sun 

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Casting What Could Have Beens#13
Posted: 7/29/19 at 12:01pm

The Sweet Charity revival went through several possible stars over the years before finally becoming reality with Christina Applegate; at various points Paula Abdul, Marisa Tomei, and Jenna Elfman were attached to the project, and of course, as was mentioned earlier, the producers were trying to line up Britney Spears to take over once Applegate departed (I seem to recall that rumors suggested it would move to the much larger Ford Center/Hilton/Foxwoods or whatever it was named at the time if the negotiations with Britney Spears were successful)

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Casting What Could Have Beens#14
Posted: 7/29/19 at 1:00pm
I just remembered two particularly interesting examples, both involving the same man. Brian d’Arcy James originally starred as Dan when Next to Normal was off broadway. However, he left before they transferred to Broadway so that he could play the titular role in Shrek, which ended up competing with Next to Normal at the Tonys. Years later, d’Arcy James played King George in Hamilton while the show was still off broadway, but he left before the Broadway transfer so that he could star as Nick Bottom in Something Rotten. So basically, Brian d’Arcy James has not once, but twice, exited from a show that ultimately won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama to star in a much less ambitious comedy. While that sounds bad on paper, I can understand why d’Arcy James did what he did. While Next to Normal is the undeniably better show, doing Shrek likely brought him more mainstream recognition. After all, his career right now is certainly better and more active than his Broadway replacement J. Robert Spencer. And while Hamilton definitely would’ve given him more exposure, he was playing such a small role, that I can see why he’d rather star in a show that gave him a much bigger and showier part, and he later went on to play King George on Broadway as a replacement anyway.
On the topic of Hamilton, I remember seeing that Joshua Henry originally played the dual roles of Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in the workshop. The real kicker is that he also played King George in addition to those two. My guess is Lin Manuel Miranda realized that one actor couldn’t play all three since King George appears on stage at the same time as Mulligan and Madison, and it’s very likely that Henry, being a well respected rising star, wasn’t too interested in playing only Mulligan and Madison, two roles that individually are bigger than King George, but combined are much less showy. Henry later played Aaron Burr, which I believe is by far the best role in the entire show. The idea of Joshua Henry playing King George is particularly interesting to me, since that means show was originally going to have a cast made up entirely of minorities, rather than having a single white man play the king.
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Casting What Could Have Beens#15
Posted: 7/29/19 at 1:12pm

Not sure if this was ever an official rumor beyond speculation and hope but I often think about what Reba McEntire could have done with Dolly.

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Casting What Could Have Beens#16
Posted: 7/29/19 at 1:22pm
Elaine Stritch almost opening the London Gypsy is one I think about all the time.
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Casting What Could Have Beens#17
Posted: 7/29/19 at 1:40pm

Mandy Moore as Glinda

Updated On: 7/29/19 at 01:40 PM
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little_sally
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Casting What Could Have Beens#18
Posted: 7/29/19 at 1:57pm

WldKingdomHM said: "Mandy Moore as Glinda"

Which reminds me of how Laura Bell Bundy was announced to replace Kristin as Glinda.

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magictodo123
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Casting What Could Have Beens#19
Posted: 7/29/19 at 2:19pm
I’m sorry you’re right—-I should’ve made the distinction between rumor and actual offer.

I heard Laura Osnes was in the running for Jenna? Or was that a rumor?
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Casting What Could Have Beens#20
Posted: 7/29/19 at 2:21pm
Who else remembers the printed Les Miz fan magazine, The Barricade? There was an announcement in there in the early/mid '90s that Michael W. Smith was going to be Enjolras and LaChanze was coming in as Eponine, both at or around the same time. Sharon, the EIC, generally didn't print anything unless there was a reliable source. I wonder what happened with those two.
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Casting What Could Have Beens#21
Posted: 7/29/19 at 2:35pm

Valentina3 said: "That rumored Follies movie starring Debbie Reynolds as Sally. That whole rumored cast was amazing, I can't find the link though."

Sally: Debbie Reynolds

Phyllis: Elizabeth Taylor

Buddy: Gene Kelley

Ben: Robert Fonda/ Richard Burton

Hattie "Broadway Baby": Joan Crawford

Heidi "One More Kiss": Gloria Swanson

Carlotta "I'm Still Here": Bette Davis

Solange "Ah Paris!": Leslie Caron

Janie Leigh and Shelley Winters in various roles

https://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/08/movies/l-follies-a-movie-that-wasn-t-725544.html

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Casting What Could Have Beens#22
Posted: 7/29/19 at 3:01pm

Which reminds me of how Laura Bell Bundy was announced to replace Kristin as Glinda.

Well, Bundy was Chenoweth’s standby and did go on as Glinda so technically, she DID play the role.  The assumption that she would be replacing Chenoweth when she left was fully justifiable.   

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Casting What Could Have Beens#23
Posted: 7/29/19 at 3:10pm

BrodyFosse123 said: "Which reminds me of how Laura Bell Bundy was announced to replace Kristin as Glinda.

Well, Bundy was Chenoweth’s standby and did go on as Glinda so technically, she DID play the role. The assumption that she would be replacing Chenoweth when she left was fully justifiable.
"

Wasn't she eventually fired? I read in an article which profiled her that she went out of town for an audition without permission on a night when Kristin called out, and producers were beyond mad. I think that was also why she wasn't offered the role after Kristin left.

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Casting What Could Have Beens#24
Posted: 7/29/19 at 3:10pm
Audra and Oprah in “night, mother”
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Casting What Could Have Beens#25
Posted: 7/29/19 at 3:28pm

Valentina3 said: "BrodyFosse123 said: "Which reminds me of how Laura Bell Bundy was announced to replace Kristin as Glinda.

Well, Bundy was Chenoweth’s standby and did go on as Glinda so technically, she DID play the role. The assumption that she would be replacing Chenoweth when she left was fully justifiable.
"

Wasn't she eventually fired? I read in an article which profiled herthat she went out of town for an audition without permission on a night when Kristin called out, and producers were beyond mad. I think that was also why she wasn't offered the role after Kristin left.
"

I am certain she was announced to replace and then it ended up being JLT but I might be mis-remembering?

A little swash, a bit of buckle - you'll love it more than bread.