News broke this week that Oprah Winfrey’s network OWN has canceled Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show, which means that Broadway’s biggest cheerleader is coming home to New York. With rumors swirling that O’Donnell is taking meetings about starring as Miss Hannigan in the upcoming revival of Annie, we started thinking about other Broadway roles that would be a good fit for the Queen of Nice. We want Rosie back to Broadway stat! Here are five possible roles for her:
Madame Morrible in Wicked
What better way to transition back to the stage than with a bona fide Broadway blockbuster? And if you want a smash hit, Wicked is the way to go. Though O’Donnell is taking the high road and being gracious about the end of her show, she can work out any residual bitterness toward her former employer with this delightfully villainous role. Bonus: If O’Donnell does eventually take on the role of Miss Hannigan, she can prep her evil headmistress routine here.
Matron “Mama” Morton in Chicago
This is such a natural fit; we’re surprised it hasn’t happened yet. The warden of the Cook County jail is strong, sassy and salty. Aren’t those words you might use to describe O’Donnell? Also, wouldn’t you love to hear her sing “Ah, there ain't no gentlemen/To open up the doors/There ain't no ladies now/There's only pigs and whores”? Hey, maybe Elisabeth Hasselbeck, O’Donnell’s former nemesis on The View, can play Velma. She’d be good to Mama—or not! Paging Barry Weissler: Please make this happen!
Mother Superior in Sister Act
Speaking of The View, we think Whoopi Goldberg, O’Donnell’s successor on the daytime gabfest and producer of Sister Act, would want to nab the star for the part of the stern head nun in this musical comedy confection. O’Donnell, a real-life mom of four, certainly knows a thing or two about tough love, which is what Mother Superior is all about. Plus, she’d get to confiscate wannabe disco diva Deloris Van Cartier’s glitzy getup and lay down the rules. Box office gold!
Rosie in Mamma Mia!
Our brains are fuzzy on this, but we remember buzz back when Mamma Mia! was readying for Broadway that O’Donnell would play this role. It never happened, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t. The part of Rosie is perfect for O’Donnell: She’s a hoot. Not only does Rosie get the delicious duet “Take a Chance on Me,” she also gets the last (almost always hilarious) last word in a number of scenes. Bring on the Spandex, because Rosie would make a great Rosie.
Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark
OK, bear with us. Though O’Donnell is far from evil, she does share two characteristics in common with this green mutant: an affinity for quirkiness (to quote Taboo, the show she fell in love with and produced on Broadway in 2002, “Give me a freak any day of the week!”) and the ability to think big. Plus, it’s hard to think of a better way to celebrate returning to New York City than sitting atop the Chrysler Building singing “I’ll Take Manhattan.” Welcome home, Ro!