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9 of the Best Musical Theater Moments On SNL

August 9, 2017 by Anne Berkowitz
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While a host with a career primarily in the musical theater world is a rarity, SNL has tapped into the theater scene over the years for inspiration.

Here are our favorite SNL sketches about musical theater:

1. Crucible Cast Party

It’s Miranda and Kate McKinnon together. Is there anything better? This genius sketch sees a group of high school drama kids narrating all the stereotypical moments of a post-production cast party. It’s hilariously accurate, and Miranda is a natural as he adds his trademark raps to the mix.

2. Anne Hathaway’s Les Miz Monologue

Three-time host Anne Hathaway busted out her killer pipes again when she opened the show with a tribute to Les Misérables, a movie that would later win her the Oscar. The cast members dream of what they will do with their upcoming day off, and Hathaway finishes the performance with a stunning, Julie Andrews-style high note.

3. High School Musical 4

Zac Efron has really embraced his strength as a comedic actor over the past few years, but that route is no surprise after seeing his hilarious SNL spoof of his days as Troy Bolton in the hit Disney trilogy High School Musical. Efron shines alongside SNL legends Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig, Kenan Thompson and Bobby Moynihan as he gives a speech warning graduates that life is not a musical outside of high school.

4. Save Broadway

This sketch from Season 34 guest stars Neil Patrick Harris and Taylor Swift and is overflowing with famous SNL cast members, including Jason Sudeikis as a sarcastic and frustrated Phantom. Harris is brilliant in his portrayal of Mark from Rent, while the rest of the cast take on characters from some of Broadway’s most famous shows and present their half-baked ideas for how to save the failing theater scene.

5. A Whole New World

Girls actor and Star Wars villain Adam Driver displays his musical abilities alongside SNL darling Cecily Strong, playing Disney sweethearts Aladdin and Jasmine. The parody of the Disney classic “A Whole New World” shows a more realistic version of the carpet ride, including a bird flying into them and being hit by airplane waste. But, in true musical theater fashion, the show must go on.

6. Before the Show

The ladies of SNL hit the nail on the head once again as they satirize an elementary school production of Legally Blonde. The backstage conversations are as humorous as the onstage action, with bumbled circular choreography, singing that is too quiet to be heard and a majority-female cast. It’s priceless.

7. High School Theater Show

This recurring skit has several different versions featuring other celebrity hosts, including Emma Stone and Reese Witherspoon. It’s hard to say what’s funnier, the student scenes featuring Elizabeth Banks or the comments from the exacerbated parents in the audience, played by Thompson and Vanessa Bayer. Parents of theater kids everywhere will be able to relate to this one.

8. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “My Shot” Monologue

Yes, Miranda’s already on this list, but it would be crazy to ignore his opening monologue, inspired by Hamilton. Strolling through the SNL studios, he drops truth bombs and even has a clever bit with SNL producer Lorne Michaels.

9. ‘50s Romance

It’s the ladies of SNL who once again steal the show, this time in a sketch inspired by Grease. Strong’s Angie relives her date with Justin Bieber’s not-so-bright Billy, and the reactions from her friends are sensational. Bieber does little to add to the comedy but does provide a nice vocal run at the end.

Any actor can attest to the difficulty of performing in a live show, whether it’s theater or television. Preparedness for that element can make or break an SNL host. Broadway actors face that challenge eight times a week and are the masters of improvisation when things go awry. With that in mind, here’s hoping more Broadway faces will grace the SNL stage in upcoming seasons. Andrew Rannells, anyone?

This post by Kate Johnston originally appeared on TheatreNerds.com.

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