I fell in love with Broadway musicals at age 6 when my parents took me to see “Camelot”. It was a truly magical experience, and over the years I’ve often wondered if my early love of musicals contributed to my discovery of country music, as both rely on the emotional connection developed through story songs.
In recent years, a number of mainstream musical artists have ventured onto “The Great White Way.” Among them former American Idol contestants and pop stars. For the most part country music stars have stayed away, but Reba McEntire stands out as a noteworthy exception. In 2001, she starred in “Annie Get Your Gun” to great acclaim. Even as a mid-run replacement she was given a special Drama Desk award, among others. She also gave a memorable turn as Nellie Forbush in the Carnegie Hall production of “South Pacific” in 2006.
While I do believe the experience may be beneficial for some artists in learning how to interpret lyrics and connect with the audience, most country artists will likely never perform on Broadway. So mostly for fun, and out of appreciation and love for both genres, I cast some of today’s country artists in various Broadway roles:
- Carrie Underwood as Cosette in “Les Miserables”
- Kellie Pickler as Ado Annie Carnes in “Oklahoma”
- Emily West as Sally Bowles in “Cabaret”
- Julianne Hough as Glinda in “Wicked”
- Toby Keith as Jud Fry in “Oklahoma”
- Taylor Swift as Wendla Bergmann in “Spring Awakening”
- John Rich as Harold Hill in “Music Man”
- Ashton Shepherd as Jo March in “Little Women”
- Keith Urban as Roger Davis in “Rent”
- Brad Paisley as Seymour Krelborn in “Little Shop of Horrors”
- Charles Kelley as Joe Gillis in “Sunset Boulevard”
- Martina McBride as Peter in “Peter Pan”
- Big Kenny as the Engineer in “Miss Saigon”
What do you think? Any additions?
Reba in “Annie Get Your Gun”