There will certainly be no place like home on Thursday, December 3rd when the much-anticipated The Wiz Live airs on NBC TV. Starring a fantastic cast including Ne-Yo, David Allen Grier and Mary J. Blige, this live production looks to be yet another ratings-grabber that will ensure we will be treated to a Broadway-to-TV event every Christmas season for the foreseeable future.
This begs the question: what show will NBC bring to television next year? And the one after that? And if FOX’s Grease Live experiment pays off in January, will FOX enter the annual Broadway-to-TV game, too?
Here’s our wish list for musicals, both classic and recent, that would make an excellent small screen spectacle, complete with a few dream cast suggestions. Have any you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments!
The Who’s Tommy
That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball! Tommy is definitely long past due for a stage revival, so why not bring this massive rock opera to TV while we're waiting? As for casting, how about One Direction’s Harry Styles as the titular main character? His long, dreamy hair certainly fits the bill. And let’s bring in How to Get Away With Murder’s Viola Davis as the Acid Queen, just because no one can ugly cry like she can. And since we need an emotional Hot and Cold young mother with some star appeal, how about Katy Perry?
Fiddler On The Roof
Tradition is both the title of the opening song and the central conceit of this musical currently being revived on Broadway. Can Ben Stiller grow a beard? We’d totally cast him in the lead role of Tevye. Sarah Silverman could play his henpecked wife Golde. And why not get creative and cast Jack Black in drag as the deceased grandmother Fruma Sarah? That’d be a graveyard nightmare scene we’d never forget.
Guys and Dolls
Luck would certainly be on NBC’s side if they were to bring back this oft-revived golden era musical. For the slick and sexy Sky Masterson, we’d offer the role to none other than Justin Timberlake. And for his foil, Nathan Detroit? Ryan Seacrest is a perfect choice to really bring in the screaming girl audience. For the two leading damsels, we’d love to see Lady Gaga as Adelaide (she'd nail the Queens accent!), and Taylor Swift as the innocent, yearning-to-be-liberated, needs-to-be-heartbroken missionary Sarah.
Next to Normal
Dark material aside, Next to Normal is a brave show that tackles the effects of bipolar disorder and loss on a family. Perfect for MTV (take note, Viacom!), we could totally see Adele playing the belting, bipolar mother. And Justin Bieber is a dead ringer for her (spoiler alert) dead son, assuming he could keep his pants up and not get into too much trouble during rehearsals.
Why isn’t this on television yet!? Probably because it’s still making billions of dollars on Broadway and on tour in every city around the world. But we’re dreaming, here, so let’s dream on. If we were to bring yet another version of the Wizard of Oz tale to television, we’d re-cast Idina Menzel as Elphaba (she did it best, let her do it again!), and Ariana Grande as Glinda. There might be an age difference, but, who cares? Tell us that duo wouldn't defy gravity in all the right ways.
A strong leading man is required when it comes to playing the young, directionless lad of this eponymous musical. We’d go with Darren Criss to fill Pippin’s shoes. And we’d love to see Blacklist’s James Spader in a white wig playing the role of his father King Charlemagne; he'd chew the scenery in all the right ways. As for the “ordinary kind of woman” Pippin meets named Catherine, we think that Anna Kendrick would fill the shoes perfectly. And how about Beyonce as the mysterious, enigmatic, sexy Leading Player? How cool would that be!?
Why re-cast If/Then if you don’t need to? We’d take Idina Menzel and throw her right back into her original role (and yes, take her off the tour in order to do so). But for her nerdy best gay-ish friend, we’d offer the part to Dr. Who’s Matt Smith. And, you know what? Let’s get the nerd audience on lock-down. Dr. Who’s David Tennant would make a fantastic husband Josh. And to bring in some real belting we'd give the part of Liz/Beth's friend Kate to Jennifer Hudson. The success of this adaptation wouldn't be an "if," it would be a "when."
In The Heights
The hip hop and pop superstar potential of an In The Heights TV broadcast is a casting director’s dream come true! Let’s put Bruno Mars in the lead role of Usnavi. And then we can cast Rihanna as his wanna-be-girlfriend Vanessa. Rapper and cab dispatcher Benny should totally be Kanye, no matter how hard he would be to work with.
Bridges of Madison County
Bridges was a beautiful show that saw its end far too soon. We wish it all the luck in the world on its new national tour. We also think this would make for an amazing TV production with its soaring ballads and soccer mom-romance leanings. Imagine Julia Roberts as the sad and homesick Francesca. Matt Bomer could be the sexy stranger Robert Kincaid (yum). And you know what? We'd give the role of Bud back to Norbert Leo Butz who played him on Broadway. It's time for him to get a bit more TV play.
Phantom of the Opera
The longest-running show on Broadway has already been made into a film, but we think it would make a fantastic live TV special, too! In fact, we are shocked that it hasn't made it to television yet. We can only guess this is because the show will never close on Broadway, so why give it for free to people around the country who would pay to see it live in New York. Imagine the ratings?! We’d put Michael Buble behind the mask (you know you would too). And Selena Gomez would make a very pop-friendly Christine (good luck on those high notes!)
FOX is already doing a Grease Live… but we think Disney would most certainly do it better. Mario Lopez as Vince Fontaine? Carly Rae Jepsen as Frenchy? C'mon! No good. We’d even let them cast the full thing from their stable of pre-teen and tween talents. Nick Jonas as Danny Zuko. Demi Lovato in a cute sweater ensemble as Sandra Dee. We could even ask Miley Cyrus if she’d play Rizzo! (And she probably would.)
La Cage aux Folles
With LGBT characters making their way into leading roles on programming on all channels across basic and broadcast cable, and The Birdcage being a timeless movie classic, it’s definitely time for a television production of La Cage Aux Folles. You know what, what if we gave this one to Netflix? We’d go ahead and cast the two leading men from Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston in the leading roles of Georges and Albin. And Zachary Quinto would make an excellent son for those two to embarrass and mortify.
(H/T TV Guide)