Staff Picks: Our favorite Miscast performances
From talking about who’ll star in the next big Broadway musical to naming who we want to see in upcoming film adaptations, we spend a lot of time imagining our dream casts. So, when the annual MCC Theater Miscast Gala takes place, we spend a few hours seeing if our dream casting has been manifested into reality.
Over the years, there’s been some truly iconic Miscast performances, with Broadway stars singing musical numbers for roles they wouldn’t traditionally be cast in. We’ve shared our favorite Miscast numbers from recent years, and you can be a part of the action in 2022. Miscast22 took place on April 4, but if you missed it, you can snag a ticket to watch it virtually from May 22-26.
Gavin Creel and Aaron Tveit performing “Take Me or Leave Me” from Rent
Jennifer, Marketing and Caitlin, Merchandising
Jennifer: What do you get when two of Broadway’s favorite leading men duet on a song from Rent? Perhaps the best Miscast performance of all time — and over 4 million YouTube viewers agree. (Admittedly, 3 million of those views probably came from us.) Gavin Creel and Aaron Tveit’s sultry voices came together in 2016 to sing the Jonathan Larson classic “Take Me or Leave Me” in one of the sexiest, most riff-tastic performances Miscast has ever seen. Let’s get these two in a gender-swapped revival of Rent stat. Or really, just get them together in anything.
Caitlin: I am an iPad kid when it comes to Gavin Creel and Aaron Tveit performing “Take Me or Leave Me.” If I am ever in a bad mood, just put this on in front of me and I will not only calm down, but I will become the most happy-go-lucky person alive. I will also be unable to function properly for at least 30 minutes after watching it as I try and compose myself again. I try and think I’ve matured since I was 14 — that I’m no longer the girl who obsessively watches the same YouTube videos of the same actors over and over again — but this video absolutely proves me wrong. The vocals, acting, and sexiness of their performance truly changed my life, and I can’t emphasize that enough.
Jeremy Jordan performing “She Used to Be Mine” from Waitress
We got to experience Jeremy Jordan shine as Dr. Pomatter in Waitress, but have you ever thought, “I REALLY need Jeremy to perform ‘She Used to Be Mine’”? Well, have no fear; it’s Miscast to the rescue once again. This gut-wrenching performance lives rent-free in my mind at all times, and I may or may not listen to his riff starting at 2:55 multiple times during every watch. The emotion and storytelling that is jammed into these 4 minutes is truly astounding.
Luca Padovan, Joshua Colley, Douglas Baldeo and Ana Villafañe performing “The Schuyler Sisters” from Hamilton
How do you make Hamilton better? Easy. Imagine kids as the Schuyler Sisters. The next generation of Tony winners are already here in the form of a young trio taking on the Hamilton song. There’s so much to enjoy here: the color-coordinated outfits, the sass, the strange yet hilarious duet between a child and a teenager, and the sheer amount of talent. Work!
Beanie Feldstein performing “Dancing Through Life” from Wicked
Matt, Theatre Team
This performance brings two of my favorite things together: A fresh take on one of my favorite Broadway shows and, well, dogs. Beanie Feldstein steps into the role of Fiyero to take on this beloved classic, and does so while serenading her absolutely perfect pooch. Throw in a Kristin Chenoweth cameo at the end and I am sold! This performance was from last year’s first ever virtual Miscast, so getting to watch this from home (and see it made from home) makes this video even more intimate (and awesome!)
Jonathan Groff performing “Anything Goes” from Anything Goes
After seeing a screening of Sutton Foster’s Anything Goes and wanting more, I immediately went home and watched #1 Foster fan Jonathan Groff recreate the title number, complete with the full eight-minute tap sequence and the ensemble from the 2011 Broadway revival. I can’t decide on my favorite part: The fact that Groff spent six months learning the choreography, the commentary he makes while dancing, or the appearance of phrases like “Eat your heart out, Sutton!” on the wall behind him. But seriously: Groff in a tap musical when?
Laura Benanti and Christopher Fitzgerald performing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from The Sound of Music
Abby, Creative Studio
This is not up for debate: Laura Benanti and Christopher Fitzgerald are two of the funniest people in musical theatre. This video has community theatre energy in the best possible way except it’s performed by a Tony Award winner and a Tony Award nominee, respectively. It’s awkward and the singing is definitely something and are they playing Liesl and Rolfe as a modern-day couple and if so why are they wearing that? Also who is dancing during the dance scene? We will never know these answers and that’s what makes it perfect.
The cast of Mean Girls performing a Jersey Boys medley
Jersey Boys is one of the musicals I’ve seen the most times, and Mean Girls will forever hold a piece of my heart. I was in the actual audience for this performance, and the second the lights came up on those glittery red jackets, I screamed. Gender-bending an iconic quartet with another iconic quartet seems so obvious but was so genius, so, watch this video. It’s like, so fetch!
Katrina Lenk performing “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof
When I say I think about this video three times a week, it’s not an exaggeration. I think about it near-constantly. It rattles around in my otherwise empty brain with the verve and unnecessarily catchy ping of Katrina Lenk plucking a violin. I would say that it’s in there rent-free, but the price I pay? I haven’t known peace since 2018, when this was uploaded to YouTube. It is, quite possibly, the most witchery, charisma, and flat-out talent ever displayed in a single performance. And luckily for us (or, probably, unluckily for me and my ability to focus on anything except this extremely specific genre) Katrina Lenk’s mastery of gender-bent roles has barely just begun.
Tina Fey and Tituss Burgess performing “You’re Nothing Without Me” from City of Angels
This is one of my best stories, probably top three. I attended the Miscast Gala in 2016, and a friend who worked on the event decided to sit me at the same table as Tina Fey and not tell me. Imagine my surprise when I sat down. (She and her husband were absolutely lovely and included me in their conversation for the whole night.)
Well, imagine my surprise again when halfway through dinner and the performances, she whipped a microphone out of her purse, Jenna Maroney style, and walked up to the stage to sing with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (and Broadway) fave Tituss Burgess, completely bringing down the house. If you look closely, the back of my head is in the video. I hope I never stop telling this story or watching this performance.