Who Would You Like to See In a One-Person Show on Broadway? Playbill Readers Pick Their Favorites
By Michael Gioia
Brooklyn-born boxing legend Mike Tyson brought his Undisputed Truth — a scripted one-man show chronicling the ups and downs of his life and career — to New York City. Since Tyson has now taken his last punch on Broadway, we wondered: What other celebrities would you like to see in the wings?
Here are some reader responses followed by our own commentary:
Caryl Puett Dowd: "Carol Burnett because she's incredible and would be a huge draw." Burnett, a two-time Tony Award nominee for her performances in Moon Over Buffalo and Once Upon a Mattress as well as the recipient of a 1969 Special Tony, was a popular choice among the Facebook crowd. The performer is no stranger to putting on a self-titled show — "The Carol Burnett Show" garnered the actress multiple Emmy awards over its 11 seasons. Aside from Burnett's genius comic timing, her road to stardom is a compelling and inspiring journey. Did you know an interest-free loan of $1,000 was given to Burnett to help her jumpstart her career?
Chip Byers: "Mary Tyler Moore. She has an incredible story!... Not to mention her struggle with diabetes and her involvement with Broadway Barks." Moore, who is also known for her self-titled television program, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," was another popular Facebook pick. Moore is the winner of seven Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards and a 1980 Special Tony for her performance in Whose Life Is It Anyway? The actress revealed her personal struggles in her memoirs "After All" and "Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes," which would serve as great source material for a one-woman show on Broadway.
Maleesa Lamatina: "I would love to see Sara Bareilles do a one-woman show. Although her music is beautiful and poignant, her personality is lively and humorous. And, I think she would give the perfect balance of eloquence and musicality to a show!" Singer-songwriter Bareilles, a three-time Grammy Award nominee, is no stranger to the theatrical stage — she starred as Audrey in her high school's production of Little Shop of Horrors. And, with the amount of musical theatre singers who've covered her hit songs (search for "Gravity" on YouTube), Broadway may be a good home for some Bareilles tunes.
Aaron Robinson: "Betty White!" "Golden Girl" actress White has done it all — almost! The award-winning actress, who recently celebrated her 90th birthday, has yet to grace the Great White Way. She sings, she dances and…she raps. What more can one ask for in a night on Broadway?
Douglas D. Fox: "Meryl Streep — enough said." Stage, television and film actress Streep received 17 Academy Award nominations, winning three, and 26 Golden Globe nominations, winning eight. She was also the recent recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor. What's it like growing up in New Jersey and later inhabiting a world of far-flung characters? Sounds like the stuff of great drama.
Raeann: "Jonathan Groff. He could yodel about goats…just because he's Jonathan Groff." Tony Award nominee Groff, who rose to fame playing radical teenager Melchior Gabor in the Tony Award-winning production of Spring Awakening, has proved to be a true triple-threat. Groff, who has also been seen on the Fox hit musical series "Glee," never shies away from a dance break. At the recent MCC Theater Miscast gala, Groff took on the title song of Anything Goes, complete with Kathleen Marshall's Tony Award-winning choreography, proving that he can, in fact, play the role of Reno Sweeney — in a one-man Broadway show, of course. (The reader's "goat" reference is to his parents' goat farm in Pennsylvania, where he grew up. Potential show title: Confessions of a Not-So-Lonely Goatherd.)
Andy Mientus: "Amy Sedaris as Jerri Blank for obvious reasons." Mientus, who has been seen in Off-Broadway's Carrie and will appear in the upcoming season of "Smash," responded to the Playbill poll via Twitter. Actress Sedaris is known for her portrayal of Jerri Blank, a 46-year-old high school freshman, in Comedy Central's offbeat series "Strangers With Candy." Blank, a teenage runaway of 32 years, describes herself as "a boozer, a user and a loser" — quality material for a one-woman comedy show. (We also think stories about growing up in the Sedaris household — her brother is humorist David Sedaris — would be a darkly funny autobiographical ride on stage.)
Katie M. Bottner: "Kristin Chenoweth… No need to explain why." Chenoweth, who took home a Tony Award for her performance in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, is a Broadway favorite. Besides her soaring soprano and her bubbly energy, the actress loves to interact with her fans (visit her Twitter page). In a one-woman show featuring Chenoweth, audiences would receive the perfect balance of song, dance and comic one-liners. The actress also knows how to take things down with a tender moment — check out "Fathers and Daughters" from her "Some Lessons Learned" album. (There is, in fact, some talk that her recent concert may actually play Broadway one day! For now, she's recovering from injuries she received on the set of "The Good Wife.")
Peter Sonnberg Schmidt: "Nathan Lane — what a fun evening it would be…and I bet tender, too." Lane, a two-time Tony Award winner for his performances in The Producers and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, has been seen in numerous films and Broadway productions. His one-man show could feature highlights from "The Birdcage" and The Producers with a "Hakuna Matata" finale.
Michael Wysong: "Dustin Hoffman." Hoffman, who was nominated for a Tony Award in 1990 for his performance in The Merchant of Venice, is also a two-time Oscar winner for his work in "Rain Man" and "Kramer vs. Kramer." He is known to portray a wide range of characters in his work both on stage and screen. A showbiz chronicle of his rise might be the stuff of drama.
SusanDC: "Bring back Hugh Jackman!! He puts on a show more than worth the ticket price. Incredible entertainer." Would anyone complain if Hugh Jackman was, yet again, Back on Broadway?
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