Singular Sensations: 9 One-Person Shows That Need to Happen
Broadway has always had a thing for one-person shows. This season is no different as solo-show mainstay, John Leguizamo, and rock legend Bruce Springsteen have taken to the boards to hand-deliver their stories to theatre audiences.
For decades, one-person shows have been a staple of the Broadway landscape, with some of history's most notable talents taking to the stage for up close and personal looks into their lives and careers.
Featuring a wide array of experiences, the solo show landscape is one that has seen a varied intersection of artists. From Gilda Radner's landmark comedic solo gig in 1979, to Billy Crystal's emotional family excavation in 700 Sundays; from Anna Deveare Smith's striking look at the L.A. riots in Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, to Mike Tyson's unthinkable one-man show The Undisputed Truth, the Broadway stage has welcomed many stars to step forward and share their tales of heartbreak, triumph, and so much more.
Taking unflinching looks at nearly every topic from history to sports, politics to music, the one-person show is a format that knows no limits. With more and more stars jumping on the Broadway bandwagon, here are a few of our picks for artists that should take a Broadway run under consideration:
This Emmy Award-winning master comic has been winning audiences over for years with his thought provoking and evocative stand-up specials. While Patton specializes in laughs, his greatest strength is in his ability to balance the very hilarious with the deeply human and profoundly personal. With a long and varied career, beginning on the hit television comedy, The King of Queens, to his lovable turn as Remy in the Disney hit, Ratatouille, this gifted comic, thinker, and storyteller would be a great candidate to take Broadway audiences through a journey of professional success and personal tragedy that is sure to inspire.
You. Better. Work. Who wouldn't line up to spend an evening with everyone's favorite drag queen diva, RuPaul? A pop culture icon for more than thirty years and just hitting her stride, Mama Ru is one star that would be sure to stage a spectacle that Broadway audiences would remember. Taking us through humble beginnings as RuPaul Andre Charles through the NYC punk and club scenes of the 70's and 80's, to her super stardom of the 90's and beyond, Ru's story of acceptance, hardship, and transformation, marked by her trademark optimism, wisdom and wit, would be a tale for the ages.
Though Ms. Turner is set to be the subject of her own upcoming bio-musical. Broadway audiences would be truly blessed if the legendary star took a page out of the Bruce Springsteen playbook and delivered her own story on the stage. Though her tale of survival and stardom is one that has been told before, to hear it from the diva's own lips, punctuated by the songs that made her famous, would be a landmark experience for music and theatre fans alike.
Though his name may not be familiar to all, comedian and storyteller, Mike Birbiglia has been a staple of the off-Broadway scene for some time. Beginning in 2008, with his part stand-up/part theatre one-man show Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Tales, Birbiglia has been lauded by publications like The New York Times and theatre elite, such as Nathan Lane, who presented a production of the show at the Bleecker Street Theatre. In 2011, he presented a second one-man show, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, which ran for four months off-Broadway and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show. With popularity booned by Netflix specials and appearances in film and television, Mike is a seasoned solo performer who go surely go the distance on Broadway.
Sounds crazy, yes. But follow me here. Ms. Love has spent decades as rock's resident bad girl. From her fascinating beginnings on a commune in California, to her life on the road as an abandoned teen, to her reign as First Lady of Grunge, followed by the tragic suicide of her husband, Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain and all that followed, Courtney's story is one that has it all. For decades she has captivated audiences as the front woman of the band Hole and has flexed her acting chops on the big screen, earning an Golden Globe nomination in the process. Part rock show and part confessional, Love's tale could hit the stage as a Hedwig-esque experience that would break hearts and melt faces.
So, yes, Chris Rock has paid a visit to the boards in recent years, starring opposite Bobby Cannavale in the play, The Motherfucker with the Hat, but it's really time for this comedy legend to bring his unique perspective to Broadway. Keeping audiences in stitches and informed for decades, Chris Rock's career is one that has taken him from Saturday Night Live to selling out arenas all over the world. Bringing provocative and evocative points of view on race, relationships, and more, the world could certainly use more Chris Rock right about now, and Broadway should be the one to bring it to them.
As the rebel of the culinary world. Anthony Bourdain has been making waves since 2000. Beginning with a landmark piece in the New Yorker spilling the secrets of the New York culinary elite, Anthony has captured the public's attention for over a decade, as author and star of hit shows for the Food Network, the Travel Channel, and CNN. Known for his pointed commentary and intellectual wit, this punk rock cook and world traveler has stories for days. Already a stage pro from his live speaking tours, a Broadway engagement would be no problem for this thoughtful, adventurous, and hilarious star chef.
Who doesn't love Aziz? From his beginnings on the beloved comedy, Parks and Recreation, to his smashing success with the Netflix series, Master of None, Aziz has proven not just his comedy chops, but a knack for progressive and emotional storytelling as well. A long-time stand up comic, Aziz has kept audiences laughing for years, but his recent efforts have shown us that Aziz is an entertainment force to be reckoned with. With his candid takes on relationships, race, and the immigrant experience, Aziz could certainly bring laughs and levity to an evening at the theatre.
Hillary Rodham- Clinton
As a politician, Mrs. Clinton has shown extensive prowess in captivating large groups of people. With a career spanning nearly fifty years, her story is one that couldn't possibly be written as fiction. Beginning as a congressional legal counsel to her work as advocate for families and children, through her time spent in the White House, both as First Lady and Secretary of State, to the election that shook the world. Hill would have my vote if she decided to visit our shores. Plus, she's definitely shown her appreciation for Broadway over the years. Ridiculous. Perhaps. A long shot? Totally. But can you imagine the tea an off-duty HillDawg would have to spill?