Stunt casting. We’ve all heard it and have all experienced it in our favorite musicals at one point or another. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, the definition of it is, “the casting of a very famous actor or other celebrity as a guest star in a movie or TV show, in order to garner publicity.” But for our sake, it’s the casting of a celebrity in a Broadway show to gain popularity or to raise ticket sales. In this day, when shows have to compete with the popularity of say Hamilton or Dear Evan Hansen, some shows need to bring in a secret weapon, and that’s where celebrities come in. Getting the famous of the famous to star in a Broadway show is an easy way to boost ticket sales and keep the show up and running for an extended period of time. However, I’ve noticed that most of the times, Broadway fans aren’t a huge fan of this practice. While I can understand why, and in the past haven’t been exactly thrilled myself, I’m here to praise those celebrities for taking on such a thrilling and daunting task such as Broadway. Also, as a note, I will be talking about musicals exclusively, considering almost every play on Broadway features a celebrity.
Broadway isn’t an easy task, there’s so much training and schooling that goes into mastering the art so it’s understandably very hard to get literally thrown into the role. While rehearsals are there to obviously prepare for the role, sometimes the show the celebrity is starring in is more than likely their Broadway musical debut, so naturally they’re nervous. Personally, I tend to forget that point when a stunt casting is announced and assume they know already what to do. While celebrities are prepared to master the art of acting, sometimes it takes them longer to adapt to singing, especially 8 shows a week. On that fact alone, they deserve praise from adapting from a shooting schedule, to doing 8 shows a week, sometimes 2 in one day.
Another fact I’d like to praise these actors on is adapting to a character. Sometimes when a celeb comes in, the character they’re taking over has been well adapted and taken on by people before, so they then have to take that character that is already known to most and make it their own. Granted that’s kind part of an actor’s job, they still have to adjust a screen role to a stage role. While that may be easy for a screen actor, it may not be so easy for a musician taking on a Broadway role. It’s not easy adjusting an already developed character, so for them to do that is praise worthy.
While there are so many different factors to praise, I want to praise them again for even doing Broadway. Singing and dancing at the same time isn’t easy, especially when you aren’t trained to do so, so to be able to adjust yourself into doing so in a short amount of time is phenomenal and shows how versatile actors are. So, next time a celebrity is announced to be in your favorite Broadway show, before resorting to an eye roll and a groan, think about the adjustment for them and how they are probably scared crapless about it, while I may not be the first one to warm up to it, in the end I admire and praise a celebrity for doing Broadway. A huge kudos to everyone who has and will do it, if they’re trained or not.