Something I love to do, and should get paid for but don’t, is casting shows. If you put a script in my hand, I love to rake my brain to find you the current list of working actors that should play these parts. And while I think Telsey & Co. are certainly missing out by not using my talents, I will not be silenced. For anyone that cares, this will be the number one spot to hear who I would cast in upcoming movies, musicals, and movie musicals.
Today’s show of choice is Bye Bye Birdie Live, which, let’s just say it now and get it out of the way: I’m ecstatic for. While BBB is by no means one of the best musicals ever made, it somehow always finds its way in my Top 10 Broadway shows (which is a post for another day), so I was thrilled when I heard it was NBC’s next choice. Honestly, I didn’t care what they did; I just needed SOME KIND of palette cleanser after the travesty that was Rocky Horror: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again. Yikes. My PTSD is flaring up just typing it.
So, I was already excited by the announcement, but became even more flambouyant (read: high pitched squeals included) when I discovered that Jennifer Lopez would be playing everybody’s favorite 1950’s Latina, the soon-to-be Rosie Peterson, the English teacher’s wife. The Shiner’s Ballet dance sequence is enough to make this casting worth it alone, but I’m tingling to see what she does with “Spanish Rose.” It won’t top Vanessa Williams’ performance, but I’ll settle for a close second.
No one else has been cast yet, so I will take it upon myself (You’re welcome, Mr. Telsey) to flesh out the rest of the cast:
Audiences love James Corden, and I could totally see him as Rose’s fiance of eight years/Conrad’s agent.
To be honest, this show’s young female lead will probably be an unknown. NBC has prided itself on finding fresh talent to headline their most recent live shows, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
Although diversity wasn’t this country’s strong point in the 1950’s (or now, but again – another day, another post), musical theater is the one place we can ignore that and cast how the world should be, not how it is. (Questions? See Tony award sweeping “Hamilton.”) Bruno Mars would work wonders as the sleazy, gyrating teen idol, Conrad Birdie.
Patti Lupone would slay in the role of Albert’s racist, pushy, guilt-trip slinging mother.
While I don’t think Nick Jonas fits this role perfectly, I’m kind of just shoving him in here because I think he should have been Link in Hairspray Live! and this is second best, I guess. I think Jonas is too cool to play Kim’s nerdy (and clingy! Like, for real, boy bye!) boyfriend, but the youngest famous JoBro considers himself an actor, so… start acting.
Steve Carell is still in good graces with NBC because of his little hit, The Office, so I could see this casting happening. Kim’s cranky, opinionated father steals the show with his Act II number, “Kids!” I’m not sure if Carell has any musical talents, but Norm from Cheers has little-to-none and I had to sit through that in the 1995 TV remake, so we’ll be fine with whatever Carell is able to “sing.”
There is nothing remarkable about Kim’s mother, Doris. Literally any actress of a certain age could play her. I just enjoy Sutton Foster on my screen, so she gets the part.
While Ursula is practically the same role Elle McLemore played in Grease Live!, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. She’d be great as Kim’s best friend and co-president of the Conrad Birdie fan club, Sweet Apple branch.
I’m sure NONE of these will happen, but a boy can dream. I’ll settle for even one of these actors being picked, not that I’d be bitter about alternative casting… just don’t ask me about my VonTussle casting choices in Hairspray Live! (Emma Roberts and Jane Krakowski, if you were wondering. I mean, what the hell is a Dove Cameron?)