All of my career, I have had one great insecurity. One unfulfilled wish. To be able to sing in a Broadway show.
When I have watched and admired people who can sing, like Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Victor Garber, Mandy Patinkin, Michael Cerveris, Jason Danieley, Julie Andrews, Brian Stokes Mitchell, to name a few, I have always wondered what that must be like as a performer. To have that freedom. That joy.
Over the past few years, I've watched people tackle that task, actors who audiences might have assumed were not up to it. I remember wondering how Johnny Depp would measure up in the lead role of Sweeney Todd after seeing so many Broadway greats like Len Cariou and George Hearn shine in that part.
Johnny Depp amazed me. I thought he was truly great. Maybe the best thing he's ever done.
Now I am shooting the musical version of Rock of Ages. And in this film, there are other people who are bravely attempting things you might not expect of them and with remarkable results.
I have seen some of the comments here and on Twitter that people have made, without seeing a frame of the film. That's a shame.
For an actor or actress to reinvent themselves through the musical form takes guts, whether it be Cagney or Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls or Tom Wopat in Annie Get Your Gun or Johnny Depp. It is one of the most naked, and thus demanding, aspects of performing.
I always think of Dean Jones and his career as a Disney star, yet who memorably performed one of the more powerful musical numbers written by Sondheim. Watch this clip and remember that the greatest performers nearly always have another card or two up their sleeve, no matter how well you think you know them.