NBC has officially pulled the plug on its Broadway-themed drama Smash. Say what you will about the series as a whole, but the consistent bright spot was Broadway’s own Megan Hilty in the role of Ivy Lynn. This season, Hilty came into her own with jaw-dropping renditions of “They Just Keep Moving the Line” and “Don’t Forget Me.” Since she is no longer committed to Smash, we want to see this golden goddess back on the Great White Way! Two obvious choices are Gentleman Prefer Blondes (in which she won raves at Encores!) and Can-Can (she's doing a workshop), but if those don't work out, we've got five other ideas that are not only good casting but could win this talented leading lady a Tony Award! See if you agree.
Queenie in The Wild Party
Like Ivy Lynn and Marilyn Monroe, vaudeville chorus girl Queenie is a blonde with a dark side who likes to have fun. Hilty played the role in the Michael John LaChiusa version back in her student days at Carnegie Mellon, so the debauched hostess would be a great full-circle way to return to the stage. With big songs and a big story arc, Queenie could help this big star nab big honors.
Nancy in Oliver!
Producer Cameron Mackintosh has made noises about casting Les Miz’s Samantha Barks in a Broadway Oliver! revival, but we'd love to see Hilty as Nancy, the ill-fated hooker with a heart of gold. Hilty can bring tons of fun to showstoppers like “Oom-Pah-Pah” and “It’s a Fine Life” then break hearts with the Act Two anthem “As Long as He Needs Me.” And what about Broadway fave Danny Burstein as Fagin?
Ella in Bells Are Ringing
The ghost of Judy Holliday looms over this 1956 hit from Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, but Hilty could make this story of the romantic misadventures of a 1950s answering service operator work—even if most of the audience has never touched a rotary phone. The key is finding the perfect male co-star for Hilty and a visionary director/choreographer. (Hi, Warren Carlyle.)
Christine in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Christine Colgate, the American Soap Queen and professional con artist, would be a delicious role for Hilty to sink her teeth into. The former TV star could tap into her glamorous side, her comic side and her sexy side. So what if the musical was on Broadway in the last decade? The only challenge is finding an actor to step into Norbert Leo Butz's fedora as Freddy.
Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors
The role of Audrey made a star out of Ellen Greene, and it could make Hilty the toast of Broadway. She not only has the perfect look, she’s also unafraid to go the extra mile for a laugh (a necessary Audrey trait). Practice your Skid Row accent, Megan, and ride "Somewhere That's Green" and "Suddenly, Seymour" to an aisle seat at the Tonys.