Wednesday, 6 May 2009

FROM THE STAGE TO THE SCREEN

So I was looking at the legend Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl the other day and it occurred to me that she got her start acting on Broadway, and although she is regarded more as a singer than an actress, she has been successful in making the transition from stage to screen quite well along with another legend of her time the luminous Julie Andrews. So I compiled a list of 13 Broadway gems I would like to see make it big on the screen. I had to put some restrictions on the list because you’d have probably seen Bernadette Peters or maybe Chita Viera make the list. I mean, why hasn’t Bernadette Peters had a successful movie career? I’ll assume she doesn’t want one… not that that’s any consolation, but I digress. These women are too old (I know I lack tact) to break it into the business now. Anyhow, here’s the list continuing with my trend of Nines…

Sutton Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Women, The Drowsy Chaperone)



She’s talented and she has unique features. That sounds like Ms. Streisand actually. And she has a weird name – it seems like that is a status quo for actresses these days.

Casted Roles She Could Have Done: Poppy in Happy Go Lucky
Don’t ask why. I just feel she would have been really good, granted she is not British – but nonetheless. I feel this would have been right up her alley.

Un-casted Roles She Could Do: Although I hate having Broadway stars come to big screen for only musical roles I will say I would love to see her do Clara from Stephen Sondheim’s Tony winning Passion. She has the chops, it’s a siren role and she goes nude. If that doesn’t get her an Oscar… I'd choose her for the Lead - Fosca, but I think she's too young.


Anika Noni Rose (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Caroline, Or Change)



She was introduced to mainstream audiences in Dreamgirls, and to be honest – if they really wanted to give someone in that talented ensemble an Oscar – why not give it to her? She was head and shoulders above Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson. She’s in her mid thirties – which she doesn’t look like – and she has a sweet personality. Where are the offers?

Casted Roles She Could Have Done: Queenie in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Granted Taraji owned this role, but I think she would (like Taraji) have had that innate comic timing necessary for this role. Oh, God, I can see it now!

Un-casted Roles She Could Do: Carmen Jones in Carmen Jones
Not sure if she has the right look for the movie, but damn can she sing. That’s why I want her to do a musical. The problem with her (and Beyonce to an extent) in Dreamgirls was that they had to undersing themselves, so we never saw the power she had. She can knock it out of the ballpark and I really want to see her do a movie musical.


Sheri Rene Scott (Aida, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)



Casted Roles She Could Have Done: Ulla in The Producers
Uma Thurman was not the problem with this movie – it just wasn’t the type of film meant to be made into a movie. Sheri’s strong point is her sweet voice and it would have been perfect for this role.

Un-casted Roles She Could Do:
Adelaide in Guys & Dolls
She’d be good at this. Enough said.


Lea Michele (Spring Awakening, Les Miserables)




Doesn’t she look like Idina Menzel? She has a sweet voice, but I think she needs to vere away from musical roles until she is older. I don’t want her to end up type-casted.

Casted Roles She Could Have Done:
Johanna in Sweeney Todd
A musical yes, but this could have been good.

Un-casted Roles She Could Do: Fanny in Mansfield Park
This may be a bit too generic. I’m not sure what role she could do. I do not love this Jane Austen novel – but it could make a good film adaptation in the vein of Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice. Can she manage an English accent? Or maybe Jane Eyre.


Laura Benanti (Into the Woods, Gypsy)



Casted Roles She Could Have Done: Cristine in The Phantom of the Opera
Why exactly was the film version of this long running musical such a flop? Even though it had Miranda Richardson in it? I don’t know. I mean the bulk of the problem was not Emmy Rossum, but she wasn’t that much help either. And Laura Benanti has the voice of an angel.

Un-casted Roles She Could Do: Laura in The Glass Menagerie
These are two vastly dissimilar roles and I suppose she may be too old, but I always felt that she had the look for Laura. And considering that this is a Tennessee Williams play – there is so much that lends itself to a cinematic adaptation. Of course you’d have to have a good supporting cast – Susan Sarandon perhaps as her mother. I don’t know who’d play Tom… but it could work.


Jane Krakowski (Grand Hotel, Nine)






Do any of you look at 30 Rock? I don’t like it. At least that’s what I tell myself every Thursday while I look at it. Still, I think Jane Krakowski is the standout in the cast. She has perfect comedict timing and I am appalled at the Emmy Snubs she has received. They certainly need to apologise with a nomination and perhaps a win for her this season. Krakowski earned her Tony for her role in Yeston’s Nine.

Casted Roles She Could Have Done: Roxie Hart in Chicago
This is really a no brainer. As good as Renee Zellweger was Jane would have been superb. Of course having a Broadway star that was not bankable would have detracted from the entire point of Rob Marshall’s vision. I could also have seen her in the Naomi Watts role in King Kong – if only for the look. Still she would have killed as Roxie.

Un-casted Roles She Could Do: I’m actually stumped here… which probably means I have no imagination. I think more than Chenoweth Jane needs a project writer for her. But if I had to pick something I think Bernadette Peter’s Tony winning musical Song & Dance would be great for Jane. It’s not uber popular so it wouldn’t have tons of hype to live up to and what’s more it has Tell Me On A Sunday which (despite being a faithful Sondheim lover) is my second favourite Webber ballad (behind Memory of course).


Idina Menzel (Rent, Wicked!)





I like Idina Menzel. Her fans seem a bit rabid sometimes, but she is a great singer and wonderful actress and very sexy too, so there! She looks like a really gorgeous version of Nelly Furtado. She’s another surprising person that hasn’t done well in film. She was good in Enchanted.

Casted Roles She Could Have Done: Vivian in Pretty Women
This would be killer. I could just see her as the stripper – okay obviously she couldn’t have done it then, she would have been a child, but it could have / would have been great. Okay, maybe I cheated.

Un-casted Roles She Could Do:
I don’t know if she can do Shakespeare (it’s not for everyone), but I would love to see her do Katharine in The Taming of the Shrew. I think that sort of shrewish character that needs to be tamed is her specialty – only now I have to think which male actor could tame her… I’m tempted to think Peter Sarasgard or maybe Billy Crudup… She’ll upstage whoever, it doesn’t matter.


Audra McDonald (110 in the Shade, Master Class, A Raisin in the Sun)




Oh how I love this woman – she has Four Tony Awards and an Emmy, so you know she has talent. Right now she’s starring in Private Practice which I hope will make her popular with audiences. She needs a big screen career… and fast.

Casted Roles She Could Have Done: Tatiana Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda
Nothing less for Audra than Sophie Okenodo’s Oscar nominated turn in this wonderful film. She has the dramatic chops to pull it off, although I do wonder what her accent would be like… She’d have good chemistry with Don Cheadle though.

Un-casted Roles She Could Do:
Any of the leads in God of Carnage
This play is currently on Broadway with Hope Davis and the delightful Marcia Gay Harden. I’d like to see Audra take on either of these roles – although Marcia’s role seems more up her alley. I have not seen the original, but I have read snippets of the script. Of course if it comes to screen the original cast members are popular enough to get the roles. Still, I’d like to see Audra in this. A lot.


Kristin Chenoweth (Candide, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Wicked!)



I love this woman. I still find it shocking to believe that she is forty years old, and I will forever resent ABC (otherwise my favourite network) for cancelling Pushing Daisies, thereby stopping my weekly dose of Cheno. I think the reason it’s hard for her to get roles is because of her height (she’s a few inches below 5 feet), and her nasally voice, but like any actress she can change her voice. Apparently Wicked! will be made into a film, but I suppose she will be too old, and then they’ll probably recast it with stars.

Casted Roles She Could Have Done: Giselle in Enchanted
I think this would have been an obvious choice – and not because of her at the Oscars – but it is so reminiscent of her Tony Nominated role in Wicked! She would have rocked this, but Amy Adams was good too.

Un-casted Roles She Could Do:
The Muse in Pygmalion
Not as a musical – or adaptation of My Fair Lady, but an actual adaptation of the original play. I think Cheno would be great, and if they do it as a comedy they could write her height (or lack thereof) into the script. It could be genius – cast Robert Downey Jr. or Johnny Depp as the male lead and get Lasse Hallestrome to direct.


Which actress could have a big film career?

3 comments:

NATHANIEL R said...

Well, Bernadette Peters DID have a screen career (mostly mid late 70s through late 80s). It just didn't last as long and wasn't as successful as her stage/touring/TV guest spot career.

at the very least they were giving her musical roles in film which is more than Broadway stars get now.

NATHANIEL R said...

P.S. Kristin Chenoweth is going to follow in other broadway footsteps and have a role on UGLY BETTY's finale (i bet it becomes a recurring character because she's playing Betty's orthodontist)

Encore Entertainment said...

Oh that is cool. Thanks for telling me Nat. Damn...Ugly Betty...the only thing I like on Ugly Betty is Vanessa Williams... and Lindsay when she was there... but anything for Cheno.