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Feature: Top Three Musical Roles Jake Gyllenhaal Should Play on Broadway- BWW Readers Weigh In!

While theatre nerds everywhere were overjoyed to see Ellen Greene reprise her role in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at ENCORES! this summer, many were surprised to learn who her co-star was.

Greene originated 'Audrey' in the original stage and movie versions of Alan Menken/Howard Ashman's first hit, so she basically is LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, just like Colm Wilkinson is LES MISERABLES. In the role of 'Seymour' at ENCORES! was film actor Jake Gyllenhaal. (Check out production shots here!) Though most of us think of Gyllenhaal as the kid from the 1999 film OCTOBER SKY who grew up to receive an Oscar nomination for BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and has of late sported a rockin' beard, many people may not know that he has also graced both the London and Broadway stages.

With these credits under his belt, and of course his celebrity status, might a Broadway musical be Gyllenhaal's next venture? Maybe so! The critics loved him in LITTLE SHOP, and Ben Brantley of the New York Times said, "This production confirmed that Jake Gyllenhaal, as Ms. Greene's nebbishy love interest, is one of the few American movie stars who was also clearly meant to be a stage star. (Can we keep him?)" (Click here to check out more reviews!).? The question is: what role should he undertake? I consulted the official Broadway casting committee, aka, BroadwayWorld's readers, to contribute to my list of hypothetical roles I'd like to see him in.

Check out their answers below!


@colinmanderson : Hedwig duh

@Curr_Curr : Harold Hill, for sure. Just look at Love and Other Drugs; he's got the smooth-talking salesman thing down pat!

(In the role of Marian Paroo, "Definitely Laura Osnes. The role was practically written for her.")

@Scamandalous : Hedwig is the obvious one, no?

@merman_geek : Gaston!

@FaithNoMoar : Okay, but consider Jake Gyllenhaal as Mr. Wormwood in @MatildaBroadway. CONSIDER.

@sck915 : Guys & Dolls revival. He'd be great. I think he'd be great in either male lead but I think he may have more fun with Nathan Detroit.

@LaurenLuvvsYah : J.M barry in finding neverland!!!

In the naysaying category, we have an enthusiastic, if concise, "none!" from our Twitter friend, @mrspandolfo.

Thanks, readers! Check out my list of top three characters he should play, below!


Bobby, COMPANY
Memorable Song: "Being Alive"

COMPANY may not be due for a revival, as it was revived just nine years ago, but nonetheless, this could be an ideal role for Gyllenhaal. He is almost exactly the right age, for one thing, and I think his voice is well suited for the demands of the role. Since we already know he has the acting chops to do just about anything, I would be very interested to see what he does with the lead in this concept musical.

Watch Dean Jones sing the iconic "Being Alive" in this video from the recording of the original cast album! Side note: can you imagine the pressure of recording a Stephen Sondheim song with the writer in the room?

Sky Masterson, GUYS AND DOLLS
Memorable song: "Luck be a Lady"

@sck915 and I totally agree that Gyllenhaal needs to get his gambler on, but we are in complete disagreement about the role. I'd rather see Gyllenhaal as Sky, because first of all, he's the right age. Adelaide mentions that she and Nathan have been engaged for 14 years. Engaged, y'all, not dating. So I've always thought of Nathan as at least 40. The suave, bad-boy gambler with a heart of gold persona of Sky Masterson seems right up Gyllenhaal's alley, and I'd love to hear him sing "Luck be a Lady."

Watch Peter Gallagher, who played Sky in the 1992 Broadway revival, sing the 11 o'clock number!

King Arthur, CAMELOT
Memorable song: "Camelot"

Another Golden Age musical, CAMELOT is overdue for a Broadway revival. I know what you're thinking, Lancelot is the gorgeous tenor in that show! While Jake Gyllenhaal is gorgeous, I believe King Arthur's speak-talky (technical term) singing style, a staple of Lerner and Lowe works, fits Gyllenhaal well. His good looks of course will mean they'll have to get someone even better looking to play Lancelot... Maybe Aaron Tveit?

Watch this short clip of the original King Arthur, Richard Burton, singing the title song to Julie Andrews on the Ed Sullivan Show!

What roles do you think he should play? Or do you think he should shy away from musicals and stick to films?

Jake Gyllenhaal is an American actor. The son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner, Gyllenhaal began acting at the age of ten. Following his first lead role in October Sky (1999), he starred in the indie cult hit Donnie Darko (2001), in which he played a psychologically troubled teenager alongside his older sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal. In 2002, he starred in another indie film, The Good Girl. In 2004, he appeared in the science-fiction film The Day After Tomorrow, portraying a student caught in a cataclysmic global cooling event.

Gyllenhaal played a frustrated Marine in Jarhead (2005), and the same year, his role as Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain earned him critical acclaim. For his Brokeback Mountain performance, he won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for the Academy Award in the same category. He has since played lead roles in many notable films, including Zodiac (2007), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), Love & Other Drugs (2010), Source Code (2011), End of Watch (2012), Prisoners (2013), and Nightcrawler (2014).

In his theatrical debut, Gyllenhaal starred on the London stage in Kenneth Lonergan's revival of This is Our Youth. The play, which had been a critical sensation on Broadway, ran for eight weeks in London's West End. Gyllenhaal received favorable critical reviews and an Evening Standard Theatre Award in the category "Outstanding Newcomer."

In 2013, he made his Off-Broadway debut as Terry in If There Is I Haven't Found it Yet, which earned him a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor, and won a Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance. He also made his Broadway debut this past season in Constellations, as Roland, which earned him a Drama League nomination for Distinguished Performance.

Follow Sally and her undying love for Broadway musicals on Twitter: @BwayGinger



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From This Author - Sally Henry

BroadwayWorld Atlanta's Senior Editor. Freelance theatre journalist and incorrigible Broadway fangirl calling coffee shops home.

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