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‘A Star Is Born’: 6 Actors Who Could Play Hercules in the New Disney Musical

Category Broadway

|by Marshall W. Mabry IV |

Here are the actors we think could ‘go the distance’

This week, the Public Theatre announced that it will present the long-awaited musical stage production of Disney’s Hercules as part of its free, open-air Shakespeare in the Park series. Though a Broadway run is not guaranteed, we fully expect that this highly anticipated musical event, which will play Aug. 31 – Sept. 8, to be a hit with audiences. The new adaptation of the Disney classic will feature music by Alan Menken, lyrics by David Zippel and a book by Kristoffer Diaz. Hercules will be directed by Lear deBessonet and choreographed by Chase Brock. Perhaps even more exciting is the news – revealed by the casting notice, and just in time for Black History Month – that the title role would be played by an African American actor. Here are five actors we’d love to see as Hercules.

Jeremy Pope, Jellani Aladdin and Joshua Henry (Photo: ‘Choir Boy’; Backstage; Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for Elsie Fest)

Jeremy Pope, Jellani Aladdin and Joshua Henry (Photo: ‘Choir Boy’; Backstage; Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for Elsie Fest)

Jelani Remy, The Lion King, Smokey Joe’s Cafe
Jelani Remy was known as Simba, the son of pride rock, for so long that it just makes sense he’d return to a Disney show. Once you’re a part of the Disney family, you’re always a part of the Disney family. So why not return to New York theater in Hercules? After singing “Endless Night,” eight shows a week, for several years, he’s more than prepared to belt out the classic Disney tunes of Hercules.

Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy, Ain’t Too Proud
All you need to do to fully grasp the brilliance that is Jeremy Pope is understand that, in 2019, he booked a play and musical both headed to Broadway within two months of each other. Did we mention he hadn’t even made his Broadway debut? Jeremy Pope is one of theater’s biggest hidden treasures. From Pharus in Choir Boy to Eddie Kendricks in Ain’t Too Proud, he has proven that he has the potential to be Broadway’s next big star.

Roman Banks, Dear Evan Hansen
“Dear Evan Hansen, today’s gonna be a good day, and here’s why”: you’re making history. Roman Banks made history as the first Evan Hansen of color, and will do it again as the first Connor Murphy of color. He’s on a roll, so why stop there? If nothing else, this 19-year-old has proven that he can “go the distance.”

Jelani Alladin, Frozen, Choir Boy
As soon as it was announced that Hercules would be black, Jelani was the first person that came to mind for many. The Frozen Broadway standout is leaving the show Feb. 17, and the timing seems a little too right. Known for his golden voice and perfect smile, Jelani could be the prince of Olympus we’ve been waiting for. He’s rumored to be involved in the project, but we’ll see what happens next.

Isaac Cole Powell, Once on This Island
The Broadway newcomer burst on the scene in Once on this Island, and has been stealing hearts ever since. He’s got the charm and voice necessary for Hercules, and we’d love to see him play the good guy this time around. After hearing Isaac sing “Some Girls” in OOTI, we’d gladly hear him sing anything and everything.

Joshua Henry, Carousel, Hamilton
Three-time Tony nominee, Joshua Henry; Do we need to say more? Everything he touches turns to pure gold. Yes, the Hercules of the movie is technically a teenager or young adult, but Joshua Henry could play a toddler and would still earn a Tony nomination. Is this another excuse for Joshua Henry to be on Broadway? Yes. Is anyone complaining? Nope.

For more of the best of New York theater, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in February 2019.


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