Our dream cast for a Hocus Pocus musical!
Released in 1993, Hocus Pocus has become somewhat of a Disney cult classic. The Halloween comedy tells of Max Dennison, a teenage boy in Salem, Massachusetts who accidentally brings three witches back to life. The movie’s full of famous faces like Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler, but who would star in a Hocus Pocus musical?
Ahead of Halloween, we asked our staff who they would cast in a stage production of Hocus Pocus. Now we can’t be certain, but we’d cast a spell to make sure this show got all the Tony Awards.
Out of the three witches, Winifred really is the witch to watch out for. Smarter and cleverer than her sisters, a lot of things are left up to her. So it makes sense that we’d love to leave Winifred Sanderson to Bette Midler, who played the role in the movie. Other Broadway stars that we’d want to see tackle Winifred are Beth Leavel, last seen in Broadway’s The Prom at the Longacre. Or, how about Mary Testa? She’s played Aunt Eller in Oklahoma and Madame Morrible in Wicked, so we think she’d pick up on Winifred’s characteristics perfectly.
She’s not the evil witch, but you won’t want to rub up Mary Sanderson the wrong way. The character needs an actress who is able to balance being hilarious one second and deadly serious the next. We think it’s a role Ann Harada would nail, best known as Christmas Eve in Avenue Q but also playing the Pile of Poo in Emojiland. If not Harada, why not Jennifer Simard, a Broadway veteran who is set to appear in the gender-swapped Broadway transfer of Company?
Hypnotizing those around her with her singing, Sarah Sanderson needs to have an angelic voice. We think Annaleigh Ashford would be perfect for the role, recently starring as Dot in Sunday in the Park With George. We’d also love to see Ali Stroker as Sarah too; the record-breaking performer would definitely add her own magic to the character. If not Annaleigh or Ali, then why not Bonnie Milligan or Leslie Kritzer? Honestly, we couldn’t decide who would be best to play Sarah Sanderson.
Dennison brings the Sanderson sisters back to life, lighting the Black Flame Candle for the first time in 300 years. Our first pick for Max is Andrew Barth Feldman, who made his Broadway debut as Evan in Dear Evan Hansen in 2018. We’d also love to see Jordan Fisher in the role. Having played Evan, as well as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton in Hamilton, we think he’d portray the mystified young man well.
This little girl is Max’s eight year old sister who just loves Halloween! There’s one actress we think could capture this role well, and that’s Presley Ryan, last seen on Broadway as Lydia in Beetlejuice. If it’s not Presley Ryan, then we think Sydney Lucas would capture the essence of Dani too. She’s best known for playing small Alison Bechdel in Fun Home, but she’s also starred as Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden.
Max falls in love with Allison, a classmate who knows all about Salem’s myths and legends. Having performed alongside mythical characters in Once On This Island, we think Hailey Kilgore would do a great job of playing this role. She’s also played Rapunzel at Hollywood Bowl, so she’d know how to conjure up a magical performance. If not Kilgore, we’d also love to see Laura Dreyfuss as Allison. Dreyfuss is perhaps best known as Zoe Murphy in Dear Evan Hansen, but she’s also starred as the Girl in Once, so she’s definitely got room to play another love interest.
Okay this one’s a hard character to cast. Who could really do justice to playing a 17th century teenage boy that’s been a cat for nearly three centuries? This is where the recent Cats movie solves everything. If he weren’t the Rum Tum Tugger, we think Jason Derulo could add a musical flair to Thackery Binx, or perhaps Robbie Fairchild, who originated the role of Jerry Mulligan in An American in Paris and also appeared in the Cats movie. If not these two, then we think Ben Platt could definitely add Thackery Binx to his musical theater CV.