Broadway Musical Musings - Hamilton Abandonment
Well, Hamilton swept the Tony Awards and before the trophies could gather dust on the mantelpiece, news of original cast members departing the production began to get people (especially those who haven't seen it yet, down). In the coming weeks, the two male leads, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom, Jr., will depart the show, breaking the hearts of legions of zealous fans. True, they have spent quite a few months performing this show eight-times a week and have probably earned some time away, and they will most-likely return to the show for limited engagements. It's hard for many to imagine Hamilton without these two powerhouse performers.
The good news is this: the world of professional actors is a vast and varied one. There are plenty of performers who will fill these roles, delighting audiences with their own interpretations. For those who doubt me, think again. Brian D'Arcy James was not the only person to play King George, nor was he the definitive interpretation. Sure, he's an amazing actor, but Jonathan Groff, Andrew Rannells, and Rory O'Malley have each brought their unique spin to the character and audiences haven't complained. In fact, O'Malley may be the most-inspired choice yet with his malicious grin and interpret that borders on boyish petulance. The point is, there is no reason for audiences to fret. If the show is as revolutionary and well-written as everyone says it is, its durability and longevity will be demonstrated through changes in cast.
In other news: This week we say goodbye to Bright Star, the sublime "Little Engine that Tried" musical that was lost in the Hamilton hurricane. Steve Martin and Edie Brickell concocted a startling bluegrass score and Carmen Cusack has emerged as one of Broadway's most chameleon-like players. Sad that more audiences won't get to enjoy Bright Star, but it closes this weekend. Try to see it before that bright star fades.
Finally, the new SpongeBob musical opened in Chicago to mixed reviews this last week. I'm not sure what anyone is expecting from a musical about Mr. SquarePants, but my suspicion is that those expectations were probably low. Still - a larger than life personality with a cup overflowing with optimism used to be the perfect type of character to build a musical comedy around. As much as it startles me to admit it, I'm kind of pulling for the denizens of Bikini Bottom and I hope they can solve their challenges before they try to make it on Broadway. We could use another joyous musical and maybe Sponge Bob can be that.