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5 Broadway Icons We’d Love to See On TV

Category Broadway

|by Marshall W. Mabry IV |

Following the success of FX’s ‘Fosse/Verdon,’ which backstage story could be next?

In 2019, FX premiered its Fosse/Verdon limited series, and Broadway fans everywhere started buzzing with excitement well before it arrived. Produced by Hamilton’s creative team, Fosse/Verdon chronicles the intersecting lives of legendary choreographer Bob Fosse and Tony-winning performer Gwen Verdon. The show follows the highs and lows of both their relationship and their various theatrical collaborations (including Damn Yankees and the original run of Chicago on Broadway). With an onslaught of special guest roles and theater Easter eggs, we started thinking about other theater innovators whose backstories we’d love to see onscreen.

The Alvin Ailey dance troupe, founded by legendary performer and choreographer Alvin Ailey (Photo: Donna Ward/WireImage)

The Alvin Ailey dance troupe, founded by legendary performer and choreographer Alvin Ailey (Photo: Donna Ward/WireImage)

Today, Alvin Ailey is revered as one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of all time. Before then, he was in the ensemble of Harold Arlen’s House of Flowers alongside Diahann Carroll and Pearl Bailey. A miniseries re-examining Alvin’s career on Broadway as a dancer and activist would change the way we look at the theater icon for the better. Who would play the role? One actor with the training and ability to tell Ailey’s story is none other than Hadestown’s Ahmad Simmons. From Cats to the recently announced West Side Story revival, Ahmad has proven himself as a true triple threat.

The Jonathan Larson Project
A series documenting the life of the young Rent and Tick, Tick…BOOM! writer leading up to his untimely death would be groundbreaking. The composer passed away the night before Rent was set to open Off-Broadway, which means he never had the chance to see the show go on to change theater itself. Shining a light on the young composer’s thoughts and dreams could be more powerful than the works he has created.

A series highlighting the lives of musical theater’s most iconic writing duo? Yes, please! There’s a new, reimagined revival of one of their works just about every season – with the Tony-winning revival of Oklahoma! currently ravishing audiences at the Circle in the Square Theatre – but what do we know about the men behind the music? How exactly did they craft the classic songs and stories that have become the soundtrack to our lives? Questions like these are exactly why this series should be made.

August Wilson: American Playwright
August Wilson is known as one of the most prolific African American writers of all time. His works, from Fences to King Hedley II, have become classics pieces of American literature. A series chronicling how his century cycle came to be would be incredible. This series would be the perfect opportunity to peek into his early days at Yale rep and on Broadway with then-unknown stars like Viola Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Samuel E. Wright and James Earl Jones.

With West Side Story returning to both movie theaters and Broadway soon, it’d be incredible to see how the show came to be. How these two men (and their many other collaborators) came together and created arguably the greatest musical to ever be written would be a series worth watching. There’s nothing audiences love more than story behind the stories they love, and West Side Story sits high on that list.

For more of the best of Broadway this season, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in August 2019.

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