Theater Thursday: Gender-Blind Casting Dream List–Girl Power Edition

I must confess, that I have a secret. No, not anything of Batman reveal levels, but something I don’t talk about too often: when I was younger, I dreamed of wanting to be the first girl to play The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. That dream has honestly never really died–though I’m certainly no vocal pro to accomplish such a task. And to many of you, this might seem like a bizarre fever dream, one that could and would never come true.

But it turns out, thanks to the success of Hamilton, the increase in gender blind casting might actually happen in my life time. In a recent article, Lin-Manual Miranda, star and creator of the new hit show, spoke about how he is excited for the possibility of doing gender blind casting for the show. Though it has yet to be confirmed or denied if this will ever actually happen, the thought does give me some hope and has inspired a thought–what fabulous ladies should be cast as leading male roles on Broadway? Here’s a list of my top picks, and they’ll inspire you to dream too!

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Lena Hall as Judas from Jesus Christ Superstar

If there ever was a role that needed to be gender-swapped, it’s Judas, so that Lena Hall could slay the heck out of it. We already know that she is a pro at tackling rock ballads (Hedwig and her two cabaret concerts are proof alone), and she has a stage presence that is insane to boot. All that and more make her an excellent Judas. Heck, I’d even be okay with her performing the entire musical as a one woman show.

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Mandy Gonzalez as Erik, The Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera

Okay, aside from me playing this role, I’d be totally okay with Mandy taking the part. Mandy is called “The Beast” for a reason, and it’d be amazing to see her take on such a powerful role like this. If you need proof of the intensity of her pipes, I recommend checking out the clips of her in Wicked, particularly when she sings “No Good Deed” where you can totally hear the operatic quality in her vocals. Heck, she might even sing better than the Christine she’d get partnered up with! But if I ever got to hear her sing the “Point of No Return,” I think I’d die happy.

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Annaleigh Ashford as Billy Flynn from Chicago

In the past few years, the Broadway world has been blessed with the gift known as Analeigh Ashford. A gem with a gift for spunk and humor, I think it would be just pure joy to see Ms. Ashford take the role of the suave Billy Flynn. This is a role that demands a cool edge, ability to be sexy, funny, and a schmuck all at the same time, a role that Analeigha can do in her sleep. Can you imagine her doing “When We Both Reached For The Gun”? Because I can, and it would be genius.

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Keala Settle as The Genie in Aladdin

Ever since I got the chance to see Aladdin on Broadway back in 2014, I felt like there was something missing, and that was Keala Settle. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love James Moore Iglehart like the rest of the world does, but there is something beautiful and magical about Keala that somehow fits in line with the same spunk that the role of the Genie requires. Granted, at least girlfriend got to show off her comedic brilliance in Les Miserables of all places, but if they ever were going to do some new gender-blind casting at Aladdin, I know a girl who would slay that role like crazy.

So those are just a few of my choices, and with the recent TV version of The Wiz showing off Queen Latifah as the title role, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more ladies taking on these manly roles in the future. So who would you put on your list? Comment below and tell us your dream gender-blind casting. And don’t worry, we got a boy playing girl list coming in the future as well. 

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