When the rumor dropped earlier this week that Bruce Springsteen was coming to Broadway, I couldn't wait to hear which show he was starring in. As it turns out, though, he's not quite making his acting debut. Instead, he'll reportedly be playing a series of concerts in a residency at the Walter Kerr Theatre this fall.
He's not the first rock star to take over a Broadway house, of course. (Remember when Duran Duran was at the Ethel Barrymore?) But now I can't stop imagining him performing in an actual musical.
So let's talk about Springsteen dream casting. To kick things off, here are some roles that I think he's perfect for.
1. Claude & Others in “Come From Away”
In some ways, this is the perfect Springsteen musical. "Come From Away" is about a small town in Canada banding together to welcome travelers who were diverted to their tiny airport after 9/11. Bruce not only has plenty of songs about small towns, but also wrote his own inspiring anthem about emerging from that tragedy. If he plays Claude, the mayor of the town of Gander, then he'll be part of a story that complements his own material. He’ll probably have to work on his Newfoundland accent, though. He can start by attending one of the Show-Score Socials for "Come From Away."
2. Pierre in “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812”
First things first: I'm excited to see Okieriete Onaodowan take over for Josh Groban as Pierre in this show. (Maybe I'll see you at the Show-Score Social for "Great Comet" on July 29!) After Oak finishes his run, though, the production should let Springsteen play the sad, contemplative scholar who broods about problems in his society. Doesn't that sound like the story in one of his songs anyway? And besides, the Boss will probably love the show's interactive moments with the audience. Remember when he pulled Courtney Cox on stage for a dance?
3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in “Wicked”
This would be a great way to kick off Springsteen's Broadway career. The Wizard isn't in too many scenes in "Wicked," but he's still essential to the story. He also sings “A Sentimental Man”, which is about the Wizard's desire to be like a father to Elphaba. The Boss has plenty to say about his own father, so he could certainly find some emotional depth in that number.
4. Billy Flynn in “Chicago”
Bruce definitely has the charisma to pull off the smooth lawyer that everybody from Usher to Billy Ray Cyrus has played in the Broadway revival. Plus, he's already written a song that satirizes the viciousness of the media, so he clearly gets what Kander and Ebb are going for.
What role would you like to see Bruce Springsteen play on Broadway?