Watch the video of Miscast below, available through May 20th.
For the 21st year in a row (and the second year on YouTube), MCC Theater’s fundraiser showcased Broadway stars performing songs in roles for which they would never be cast. Except times have changed, because I thought, for example, Robin De Jesus, singing one of the funniest songs in Broadway theater history, “Nothing” from A Chorus Line, would be perfect playing the role of Diana originated by Priscilla Lopez. And come on, how could it be inappropriate for Billy Porter to sing “Diva’s Lament”?!! LaChanze as Aaron Burr rapping “Wait for Me” from “Hamilton” made perfect sense for a show that already gets much of its juice from its non-traditional casting. I’d wait for her! Calling Bernie Telsey, the casting director for “Hamilton”….and the co-artistic director of MCC Theater, as well as the host of Miscast21.
Of the 13 numbers in this year’s show, I’d say the least likely ever actually to be cast in the show she picked was Star Wars’ star Kelly Marie Tran doing both Elder Price and Elder McKinley Moroni, the two (white male) missionaries in “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” from “Book of Mormon” — and she has such surprising comic song-and-dance chops that somebody should lure her into a Broadway musical for real. (Bernie?)
Dynamic duo Gavin Creel and Aaron Tveit, who went viral with “Take Me or Leave Me,” from “Rent” in the 2016 Miscast, followed up this with another duet that was inappropriate…and steamy. But most of the songs this year just seemed gorgeously appropriate, especially for those well-versed in the musicals from which they were lifted.
The order of singers and songs:
Renee Elise Goldsberry: “Those Magic Changes” from Grease (accompanied by Blaine Alden Krauss, Raymond J. Lee and Jonathan Young)
In The Heights’ Leslie Grace and Melissa Barrera: “What You Own” from Rent
Cheyenne Jackson: “If I Were a Bell” from Guys and Dolls.
Jai’Len Josey: “Out There” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Robin De Jesus: “Nothing” from A Chorus Line
Patrick Wilson: “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera
LaChanze: “Wait for It” from Hamilton
Annaleigh Ashford: “Mr. Mistoffelees” from Cats
Kelly Marie Tran: “You and Me, but Mostly Me” from The Book of Mormon
Billy Porter: “Diva’s Lament” from Spamalot
Gavin Creel and Aaron Tveit: “In His Eyes” from Jekyll and Hyde
Kelli O’Hara: “Beautiful City” from Godspell
Idina Menzel: “Morning Glow” from Pippin
As in last year’s virtual show, #Miscast21 was free, though with frequent requests for donations — which is an argument, I suppose, for its returning when all is reopened to a live and in-person gala. But the show also featured quick excerpts from some of the 500 submissions from TikTokers singing roles for which they would not be cast — but maybe in a better world, they would be. And they were an argument for keeping it online — or perhaps making it a hybrid.
This year’s show begins at around the 1:03 mark. Before that there is a pre-show of past performances.)