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The 5 Most Demanding Roles on Broadway Right Now

Category Broadway

|by Marshall W. Mabry IV |

Roles like these are the reason why “triple threats” exist

Each year, Broadway welcomes a new set of shows and incredible roles that inspire and leave audiences breathless. Everyone remembers the first character that truly captivated them. Maybe it was hearing Effie singing “And I am telling you” in Dreamgirls for the first time, or even hearing Jean Valjean’s lullaby to Marius, “Bring Him Home.” Audiences live for the moment where an actor shifts the atmosphere in a theater and these roles, which talented actors currently play on Broadway eight times a week, are guaranteed to do just that.

Adrienne Warren stars as Tina Turner in ‘Tina’ on Broadway (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Adrienne Warren stars as Tina Turner in ‘Tina’ on Broadway (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Tina Turner, Tina
This one likely comes as no surprise! The “Proud Mary” singer has been masterfully played by Adrienne Warren, Kayla Davion, and Nkeki Obi-Melekwe since the show opened on Broadway, and there’s no end in sight. Playing Tina Turner is an almost 3-hour marathon of dancing, singing, and acting for these incredible performers. This role of a lifetime brings out a new layer of skill in each of these incredible actresses. With incredible accuracy and care for Tina’s legacy, Nkeki, Adrienne, and Kayla are truly changing theater’s landscape with their powerhouse portrayals.

David Ruffin, Ain’t Too Proud
It’d be tough to find another front man as charming or talented as the Temptations’ David Ruffin. Tony nominee Ephraim Sykes is currently playing the “My Girl” singer in Ain’t Too Proud, and lighting the stage on fire every time he does. On top of his iconic voice, he Ruffin also one of the smoothest dancers of the Motown era. It’s a true tour de force role, requiring splits, turns, and high belting to match.

Evan Hansen, Dear Evan Hansen
Evan is arguably the toughest role, emotionally, on the list. Since it opened in 2016, Dear Evan Hansen has broken hearts and changed perspectives on Broadway and across the country. With songs like “You Will Be Found” and “Waving Through a Window,” Dear Evan Hansen has become a beacon of hope. Evan’s journey onstage encapsulates every emotion you could possibly feel as a young person trying to find his or her place in the world, and any actor appearing in the role give needs to give it every bit of energy and love they can. 

Elphaba, Wicked
Everyone knows the vocal prowess it takes to sing songs like “Defying Gravity” and “The Wizard and I,” but the emotional journey Elphaba goes on is an entirely different beast. When we meet her, Elphaba is dealing with issues of self-worth and feeling genuinely unoved.  Throughout the show, we watch her grow into an new, incredible, and wicked woman. With a show-stopping number at every turn and a signature green look, Elphaba not a role to be underestimated.

Genie, Aladdin
He’s the man with the master plan – and ten-minute dance number to back it up! Currently played with panache by Major Attaway, Genie is the ultimate Disney sidekick. From “Friend Like Me” to “Prince Ali,” he’s singing as high as he can, while dancing as hard as he can, the entire show. The role of Genie is a marathon, and it takes a true athlete to step into his gold shoes. From the moment the lamp opens and he’s out, it’s nonstop energy and pure Disney magic.

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