From Bette Midler to Beth Leavel: Dream Casting a Hocus Pocus Musical

By Playbill Staff
October 31, 2013

The staff of Playbill.com shares its casting ideas for a musical adaption of the Disney film "Hocus Pocus."



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"Hocus Pocus," starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, has become a Halloween tradition for many, and many more have longed for the cult classic horror-comedy to be adapted for the stage. The film did feature three stage actresses (Midler recently starred in I'll Eat You Last, "Annie" veteran Parker is returning to the stage in The Commons of Pensacola and Najimy made her Broadway debut in Dirty Blonde) as well as the catchy musical numbers "I Put a Spell On You" and "Come, Little Children." A Facebook campaign to bring the musical to Broadway began in March 2013.

In honor of Halloween and the film's 20th anniversary, Playbill.com suggests several actors who could star in a Broadway adaptation of "Hocus Pocus."

Click through to read our choices for Winifred, Sarah and Mary, as well as Max, Thackery and more.

Beth Leavel

Winifred

Beth Leavel

Beth Leavel made a splash in the title role of The Drowsy Chaperone, winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She recently played the iconic title role in Hello, Dolly! at the Cape Playhouse and has starred in Baby It's You!, Elf, 42nd Street, Mamma Mia! and Young Frankenstein.

Carolee Carmello

Three-time Tony nominee Carmello has starred in Parade, Lestat and Scandalous, and is known for her singing chops and comedic skills. Carmello, whose resume also includes Falsettos, Urinetown, 1776, City of Angels, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Mamma Mia! and Sister Act, could belt Winifred's solo "I Put a Spell On You" to the balcony. 

Annaleigh Ashford

Sarah

Annaleigh Ashford

Tony nominee Ashford has won notice playing ditzy blondes in Wicked, Legally Blonde and Kinky Boots. She could certainly embody the less-than-observant Sarah, and we imagine she'd sing a great rendition of "Come, Little Children."

Nina Arianda

Arianda burst onto Broadway with her hilarious performance as Bille Dawn in Born Yesterday and won a Tony for her tour-de-force as Vanda in Venus in Fur. Her scene-stealing abilities could easily explain Winifred's jealousy of Sarah, and we'd love to see her chanting "Amok, Amok, Amok."

Ann Harada

Mary

Ann Harada

Harada, whose stage credits include 9 to 5, Les Misérables and Avenue Q, is currently winning laughs while playing overlooked sister Charlotte in Cinderella. We'd love to see her move from one magical story to another by playing the silly Sanderson sister Mary.

Mary Testa

This two-time Tony nominee is no stranger to comedy, having performed in Disaster!, Queen of the Mist, Xanadu, 42nd Street and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. There aren't many performers who could pull off riding a flying vacuum, but we think Testa is one of them!

Aaron Tveit

Max

Aaron Tveit

Following his success in the film adaptation of Les Misérables and his sold-out concert engagement at 54 Below, fans have been longing for Tveit, who starred onstage in Next to Normal and Catch Me If You Can, to return to Broadway. We think the role of moody teenager-turned-hero Max is just the part for him.

Bobby Steggert

Tony nominee Steggert, who has received acclaim for his roles as earnest and angsty young men in Ragtime, A Minister's Wife and Giant, is currently starring in Big Fish on Broadway. We think he could easily portray fish-out-of-water Max, who is homesick and lonely before he finds himself fighting magic.

Hannah Nordberg

Dani

Hannah Nordberg

Nordberg is currently demonstrating her stage talents and spunk, playing beauty queen contestant Olive Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine at Second Stage. She could easily play the mischievous and brave Dani.

Sydney Lucas

Young actress Lucas is currently starring as "Small Alison" in the acclaimed Jeanine Tesori-Lisa Kron musical Fun Home, which is playing an extended world-premiere engagement at the Public Theater. She has also appeared on "The Late Show With David Letterman," "Sesame Street" and "Saturday Night Live." She'd be perfect to play little sister Dani. 

Anna Kendrick
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Allison

Anna Kendrick

Kendrick earned a Tony nomination for playing younger sister Dinah Lord in High Society and has shown off her singing talents in the films "Pitch Perfect" and the upcoming "The Last Five Years." Kendrick was featured in the "Twilight" movies and will be seen as Cinderella in the film adaptation of Into the Woods. Naturally, Hocus Pocus should be next on her musical resume! 

Jennifer Damiano

Damiano, a Tony nominee for her performance in Next to Normal, has already battled supervillains onstage in Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark. We think she'd be a great choice for the love interest who bravely fights the witches alongside Max and Dani.

Shuler Hensley

Billy

Shuler Hensley

Hensley, a Tony winner for his performance as Jud in Oklahoma!, took the stage as The Monster in Young Frankenstein, tapping up a storm in "Puttin' on the Ritz." He's a natural choice for the former-lover-turned-zombie that Winifred summons from the grave.

Norbert Leo Butz

Two-time Tony winner Butz has played a criminal, an artist and a policeman, respectively, in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Is He Dead? and Catch Me If You Can and is currently starring in Big Fish. We'd love to see what he could do with the new challenge of playing the undead by taking on the role of Billy.

Jonathan Groff
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Thackery

Jonathan Groff

Groff earned a Tony nomination for his role as the intellectual Melchior in Spring Awakening and played Claude in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Hair. He could easily bring that earnest appeal to the role of Thackery, who does everything he can to save his innocent sister Emily.

Rory O'Malley

Tony nominee O'Malley, who has starred in The Book of Mormon and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and is currently featured in Little Miss Sunshine, would be a great fit for the noble Thackery, who devotes his life to protecting the residents of Salem from the evil Sanderson sisters.