If you see my glass slipper . . . Call Me, Maybe?
In a casting choice that is going to divide theatre fans across the world Broadway’s Cinderella is introducing a new Cinderella and Madame (Evil Stepmother).
Currently performing these two main roles are Broadway sweetheart Laura Osnes and comic genius from stage and screen Harriet Harris. And it has just been announced that joining Fran Drescher as the new Madame will be recent pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen in the title role of Cinderella.
As suspected, this announcement has already started to cause controversy across the theatre community online. Some people think it is a great move for the popstar, others aren’t quite as positive about the casting choice. Me, well I am with the former!
Among the exciting new releases on Broadway, Cinderella has been hanging in there with the best of them but it isn’t leading the pack. Only filling around 55% of its potential Box Office grosses in the last couple of weeks and filling 70% of the theatre is passable but pales in comparison to the big leagues of Newsies, Matilda and Kinky Boots (currently filling 114% of its potential grosses).
So while some very talented leads are bidding the show goodbye, maybe it is time for a change of direction. A risky move to try and bring some new audiences to fill up the rest of the theatre? And that is exactly what they have done.
A lot of people are worried about Carly Rae Jepsen’s lack of Broadway training as she takes over the lead role in a rather well-known production. Well, it wasn’t too long ago that Laura Osnes one a reality television competition to take on the lead role of Sandy in Grease – and no one is regretting that casting choice with some of the great roles that this actress has gone on to perform.
Plus, while Laura Osnes may bring a lot of theatre people into Cinderella, the show has been running since January 25, 2013. So all those people who want to see Laura Osnes on the stage have probably found time in the last 11 months (and if they haven’t . . . well there is still another month to go on her contract!).
Carly Rae Jepsen will bring with her a whole new group of fans who are interested in music but may not have investigated the musical theatre genre before. People who haven’t previously felt the need to see the show!
As for Fran Drescher . . .
For anyone who grew up watching The Nanny like me, you will appreciate that she is an absolute comic mastermind! And the role that she is taking over is that of comic relief – something that fits her talents uniquely.
Like Carly Rae Jepsen, being a comedian her fans don’t directly overlap with those who have already seen the show in the last 11 months – but this new addition to the cast may make them reconsider and provide the show with enough demand to keep running.
While it may be controversial, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the wrong decision – the producers will have put a lot of effort into finding someone who can take over from the phenomenal Laura Osnes. It is just something that will shake the audience up and provide a renewed vitality to the production. I know if I was in New York I would be lining up for tickets to see the new line up!