There’s a mysterious new trend sweeping the nation—first, Bebe Neuwirth returned to Broadway’s Chicago to take on the role of Matron “Mama” Morton after playing both Roxie and Velma. Two days later, Colm Wilkinson made a cameo as the Bishop in the Toronto production of Les Miserables. This crazy epidemic could revolutionize Broadway as we know it, and we are perfectly OK with that. Here are eight more stage favorites we’d love to see shake things up and return to the show that made them a star in an unexpected new role. Casting directors, you’re welcome.
Sarah Brightman as Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera
It’s been over two decades since Sarah Brightman made her Broadway debut as Christine Daae in Phantom, but judging from her solo concert extravaganzas, she’s totally still got that high E. From her lavish stage shows to her lunar vacation plans, we've got more than enough proof that Brightman should graduate to the role of the ultimate Prima Donna at the Opera Populaire. She could even provide her own costumes.
Constantine Maroulis as Dennis in Rock of Ages
Has it really been nine whole years since Constantine Maroulis wailed “Bohemian Rhapsody” on American Idol? We’d love to see him return to the show that made him a Broadway mainstay, Rock of Ages—but this time, instead of playing wanna-be rocker Drew, we think he'd really kick ass as Bourbon Room honcho Dennis. He’s got the comic timing, the luscious locks and the chest hair for the gig.
Kristin Chenoweth as Madame Morrible in Wicked
Kristin Chenoweth first floated onstage in Glinda's bubble 10 years ago, but her star has only been on the rise since then—we think it’s time she makes a deliciously sinister return to Oz. She’s a master comedienne, she knows how to work those hair extensions and she's not afraid to let her inner mean queen shine. Plus, she'll look striking in that green mink!
Ben Vereen as King Charles in Pippin
Pippin's original magic man has become a household name since his breakout stint as the Leading Player in 1972. Vereen returned in '74 for a return engagement, but it's high time this Broadway legend makes an encore appearance in the show that made him a star—this time, as King Charles. He's already got experience playing the ruler of a kingdom on Broadway and on TV, and the 67-year-old can still bust a move! Now can he ride a unicycle?
Joel Grey as Herr Schultz in Cabaret
Broadway legend Joel Grey played the Tony-winning role of the Emcee in two productions of Cabaret—the original 1966 Broadway mounting and the subsequent 1987 revival. Nearly five decades after his first “WIllkommen,” it would be a treat to see him return to the Kit Kat Klub as pineapple-toting dream date Herr Schultz. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah…
Joe Machota as Sam Carmichael in Mamma Mia!
After making his Broadway debut as the very first flipper-wearing husband-to-be Sky in Mamma Mia!, Joe Machota deftly switched career paths to become a successful Broadway talent agent. Now that he's tried a different side of the business, we invite him to return to the Greek Isles—but this time, no wetsuit! We think he'd really be able to nail "S.O.S." as Sophie's possible papa Sam Carmichael.
Frances Ruffelle as Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables
She hasn't appeared on Broadway since her Tony-winning turn as Eponine in Les Miz, but over the last 25 years, Frances Ruffelle has inspired countless pre-teens to belt "On My Own" in their bedrooms (OK, we still do this once in a while. Fine, we did it this morning). Ruffelle returned to New York to star in a solo show at 54 Below in 2013, which is a great warm-up for a Broadway return as Eponine's mean momma, Madame Thenardier.
Terrence Mann as Old Deuteronomy in Cats
While Ben Vereen is enjoying his stint as King Charles, we'd love to snag Tony winner Terrence Mann to star in a new revival of Cats—not taking on his original role of Rum Tum Tugger, but Old Deuteronomy! These days, Mann has been rocking the all-natural white locks and beard, and his booming baritone would be perfectly suited to sing the wise cat's Jellicle proverbs and rhymes.