Broadway’s Star-Studded 2000s
Here’s an interesting article from The New York Times on the decade that was … star-wise, that is.
The 2000s witnessed an unprecedented number of “stars” tread the boards on Broadway stages. Some, like Hugh Jackman in A Steady Rain, returned to the place and skills of where their careers began. But others like P. Diddy and Jerry Springer were surely more questionable.
There was rising star Nicole Kidman in The Blue Room, the then wife of Tom Cruise. Even Cruise’s current wife got a guernsey in 2008 in All My Sons. Or how about Denzel Washington in Julius Caesar or Daniel Radcliffe in Equus? The list goes on.
We also saw inane marketing campaigns, clearly aimed at keeping an old dog alive … longer. The successful revival of Chicago in the late 90s resulted in key roles being swapped around on a regular basis in the 2000s, with big name stars like Usher, Huey Lewis, Melanie Griffith and Lynda Carter suddenly in the show.
Can they act? Can they sing? Does it matter?
More (or less) importantly:
Are they good looking? Are they a star? Will they sell tickets?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the footlights, people who had never been to the theatre in their life before were now sitting admiring their star on stage. Nice to get new people along to a Broadway show, but how about for the right reasons, please!
For better or worse, the power of stardom elevated many a Broadway production in the 2000s beyond its rightful place.
And while this may appear good for Broadway in the short term, surely it will prove damaging in the long run. Someone needs to stop and think about what’s happening, here. It’s a trend that needs to disappear … quickly.