Saturday, July 7, 2012

If "Community" Was a Musical...

You'll notice that since it is a Saturday, this isn't a blog-review. Rather, it's a bit of a continuation from a Twitter discussion that I had a while ago with some friends. As a complete lover of everything and anything musical theatre-related, I had fun speculating with others the prospect of a Community Broadway musical. Now, of course, there is about a 99% chance that this would never actually happen. But if it did, it's fun to imagine who would play each of our lovable study group characters. So, in the spirit of all things silly (and the fact that I am still massively jet-lagged from vacation), let me introduce you to my choice for a Broadway cast for Community: The Musical. 

Richard H. Blake as Jeff Winger
Known for his roles as: Glenn Gulia in The Wedding Singer: The Musical and Warner Huntington III in Legally Blonde: The Musical

Why I chose him: Apart from the fact that Richard definitely looks like he could be the part of a smarmy ex-lawyer, he definitely could hold the lead in a musical on his own. He would be able to play the hilarious vanity of Jeff Winger perfectly, and also provide the heart that he did in "Legally Blonde." There's no other Jeff Winger I'd cast, really.

Lauren Lopez as Britta Perry
Known for her roles as: Draco Malfoy in A Very Potter Musical & A Very Potter Sequel and her involvement in other StarKid productions

Why I chose her: I absolutely ADORE Lauren Lopez. She's insanely talented and beautiful and I knew that I would want at least one of the Starkid crew in the show as the backward, feminist, and adorably endearing Britta Perry. Lauren would provide the hilarity and heart that makes Britta who she is as a character. And, you know, she's awesome and already loves Community, so she'd agree to it. ;)

Colleen Ballinger as Annie Edison
Known for: Her YouTube alter ego channel Miranda Sings

Why I chose her: Years ago, I became obsessed with the musical "The Last Five Years" and decided to YouTube any song that I could find. What I discovered was a high school performance of the show with Colleen as Cathy and she blew me away. She'd be perfect as the overachieving Annie Edison and bring a lot of youthfulness to the part as well. Plus, I always imagined Annie would be a soprano in the show and Britta would have more of a mezzo/alto range, so that fits my casting choices.

Elijah Kelley as Troy Barnes
Known for his role as: Seaweed in the 2007 movie version of Hairspray

Why I chose him: I feel like Troy, Abed, and Shirley were the more difficult people to cast for me. But I absolutely adored Elijah in the movie version of "Hairspray" and think he did a fantastic job both acting and dancing in it. Plus, even though there weren't a lot of moments for him to showcase his humor, he did stand out with little moments. Troy is a complex character -- he is someone who is a jock, but not entirely dense. He's a leader, but not Jeff. And I think it would be interesting for Elijah to play Troy Barnes.

Dev Patel as Abed Nadir
Known for his role as: Jamal Malik in "Slumdog Millionaire" and Sonny in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

Why I chose him: No, I didn't just choose Dev Patel because he's insanely adorable. ... ahem. And yes, I KNOW that he is not Polish or Arab, but Indian. I just think that, as Abed, he would provide some really great depth and would do a fantastic job with the nuances that are necessary for this character. Plus, okay. Yeah, he's adorable.

Audra McDonald as Shirley Bennett
Known for her roles as: Bess in The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and Dr. Naomi Bennett in "Private Practice"

Why I chose her: Like I said earlier, a few of these choices were difficult for me to do. And I could have honestly gone with someone like Queen Latifah for the role of Shirley (and I was tempted to). But I really think that Shirley is an under-appreciated character in Community as it is, and I wanted to pick someone who would help to make her shine like she does to me, not only vocally, but also acting-wise as well. I loved Audra on "Private Practice," because she can do drama and humor, but then I heard her voice and was blown away. Really, I am happy with my decision.

Joel Grey as Pierce Hawthorne
Known for his roles as: Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret, The Wizard in Wicked, and Moonface Martin in the revival of Anything Goes

Why I chose him: Joel Grey is... well, he's awesome. And, if I am to choose someone to play Chevy's character in a Broadway musical, why not someone with as much longevity and history in the theatre as Chevy in movies? I think he would be an interesting choice for the final member of the study group -- he would play Pierce with humor and intelligence, but I also think that he would be a perfect choice as the character you're not supposed to like out of the group -- the one who is annoying to Jeff -- but also the one who you can't help but "aww" with Annie and Shirley over sometimes.

Some other characters to note:

Moby as Dean Pelton
Best known for his role as: a musician

Why I chose him: ... really? You have to ask?

Ken Jeong as Ben Chang
Known for his role as: Ben Chang on Community

Why I chose him: I know what you're thinking right now. "Jenn, you DO know that Ken already PLAYS Chang, right?" Exactly. I wracked my brain trying to think of someone who would be best suited to play the power-hungry, slightly crazy Spanish teacher turned student turned security guard and couldn't think of anyone better than Ken. So, there you go. That's my one cop-out.

Kate Schindle as Professor Michelle Slater
Known for her role as: Vivenne in Legally Blonde: The Musical

Why I chose her: Nothing like reuniting Richard H. Blake and Kate Schindle to be romantic interests again, huh? ;) Honestly, Kate is the first and only person that I thought of to play Slater. She's tall, brunette, attractive, and can play cool detachment and slight cruelty with ease. On top of that, she has a killer voice. I'd love a musical number with her and Lauren.

Tyler Brunsman as Rich
Known for his role as: Cedric Diggory in A Very Potter Musical and Lucius Malfoy in A Very Potter Sequel, as well as his roles in other StarKid productions

Why I chose him: I loved, LOVED Tyler in AVPM and AVPS. He's adorable, has a super white smile, and would play the perfect Doctor Rich with such amusement that I literally just want to make this show happen for the sheer reason of seeing him drive Richard H. Blake's character crazy. Plus, it would be a nice little StarKid reunion with him and Lauren!

Christian Borle as Professor Ian Duncan
Known for his roles as: Emmett Forrest in Legally Blonde: The Musical, Black Stache in Peter and the Starcatcher, and Tom in "Smash"

Why I chose him: You didn't actually think that I would create a Broadway version of Community and NOT include Christian, did you? I think that he would be hilarious as Professor Duncan, both when interacting with the study group and also Ken as Chang. He's a fantastic actor and comic, so he'd fit right in. Plus, he'd get to be British. ;)

Chord Overstreet as Vaughn
Known for his role as: Sam Evans on "Glee"

Why I chose him: I was trying to think of someone who would be a good fit for Vaughn, apart from Eric Olsen and -- ironically -- "Glee" came to mind. I really do enjoy Chord and his performances, and I think he could play the hackeysack-playing love interest of both Lauren and Colleen's characters very well. Plus, he's already got the shaggy blonde hair!

Joey Richter as Random Ginger/Various Characters
Known for his roles as: Ron Weasley in A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel, Bug in Starship, as well as various other StarKid productions

Why I chose him: I don't care who he plays (though I think playing Kerry's favorite random ginger would be amazing), I just want Joey in my show. So there.

So there you have it, guys. What do you think? Do you agree with my casting choices? If not, who would you change and why?

Have a fabulous weekend and don't forget that Thursday night re-watches resume THIS Thursday night when we watch "Basic Rocket Science" at 8PM EST! :)


  1. Tyler as Rich is PERFECT! Did you hear about AVP3D: AVPSY?

    1. Thank you! Tyler is my first and only choice for a Rich. Wouldn't he just be so amazing? And yes, I DID hear about it and am SO EXCITED! :D

  2. Personally, Ruthie Henshall was the first to come to my mind for Professor Slater, but I love all your choices.

    Although, I'd love to see Lauren tackle Annie rather than Britta, and have... say... Kerry Butler, Jane Krakowski or even Heidi Blickenstaff (in my mind, she seems like an odd one out in a cast like this, but isn't that really what the core of Britta's character is - insecurity?) take on the great Miss Perry.

    Still, great list! :D