Curious Casting

People keep asking Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber how he feels about casting trans actors.  Here’s his latest response: “I’ve got nothing against a trans performer.  The question is are they the best person for the role?  You always want to cast the best person possible for the role.  It really doesn’t matter what they are or what color they are.  It really doesn’t matter.  That’s always been my mantra.”  When specifically asked if he would cast a trans woman as Christine in Phantom of the Opera, he said, “Yes.  If she could sing it.”

Of course, there’s more to being in a musical than just singing.  You’ve also got to be able to act the part.  I thought about that when I read plans for a film version of WickedCynthia Erivo is an inspired choice as Elphaba.  Not only is she a dynamic singer, she’s also an Oscar-nominated actress (not to mention a Tony– and Emmy-winning one).  Then there’s Ariana Grande as Galinda.  She certainly can sing, but I reserve judgement on her acting ability.


This is another blow to poor Lea Michele.  In addition to having the Broadway revival of Funny Girl snatched away from her…twice, she’s also voiced her desire to play Elphaba in the Wicked film.  At least she’ll get to revisit one of her early successes.  The original cast of Spring Awakening is reuniting for a one-night-only benefit for the Actors Fund.  Lea will join Jonathan Groff and John Gallagher Jr. on November 15th at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway.  So, mark it on your calendars – for one night only in 2021, Lea Michele has something to do.


I always love seeing what different actors will do with the play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.  I still mourn the Broadway production with Laurie Metcalf, Rupert Everett, and Russell Tovey which closed after nine previews due to Covid.  So I was intrigued when I heard of a revival coming to the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.  Then I read that Zachary Quinto and Calista Flockhart were cast.  Hmmm – kinda old to play Nick and Honey, but maybe opposite the right George and Martha.  Strike that – Zach and Cali ARE George and Martha.  The production opens on April 19th.  I dunno…

Far more palpable is news that Quinto has been cast opposite Lukas Gage in the rom-com, Down Low.  The flick will also star Audra McDonald, Judith Light and Simon Rex, who is currently enjoying a bit of a renaissance.  Fun fact – Lukas also co-wrote the script and personally asked for Quinto to be cast.  Someone’s got daddy issues.


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