Broadway cherishes its stars, and the theater community is always very protective of those veterans who have been singing, dancing, and acting on stage for multiple years. Recently it was announced that when Laura Osnes’s contract with Cinderella ends in early January, pop star Carly Rae Jepsen will take over. This is the same Carly Rae Jepsen that was made famous almost two years ago for her single “Call Me Maybe.”
It’s not surprising that the producers of Cinderella have decided to go with a well-known name. Bringing in a star is often the course of action when sales are down. Whether for love of the star or out of curiosity, celebrities help shows increase profits and this seems to be the case here. Cinderella ticket sales have not been stellar, especially with the competition from Tony-winning blockbuster shows like Pippin, Matilda, and Kinky Boots.
While celebrity castings always come with some controversy, often from theater fans who like seeing Broadway actors get the work over international celebrities, this transition has garnered a surprising amount of animosity. Not only did regular old theater fans weigh in across social media, but celebrity Broadway-lovers also had things to say. Modern Family star Sarah Hyland made headlines with her opinionated tweets. “Today’s a meltdown day. Carly Rae Jepsen is going to be Cinderella? On Broadway. Not ok with this,” Hyland posted. “Tell me it’s gonna be ok Laura Osnes… Hoping she will be amazing. I’m hesitant though,” she continued. The tweets have since been deleted.
While Broadway fans everywhere seem very angry with the decision to cast Jepsen, we have to remember that a big name could pull enough ticket sales to keep Cinderella running for a longer amount of time. Stunt casting, as many of these transitions are referred to, always has a bad connotation in the theater world. However, many of the audience members don’t realize that Jepsen attended the Canadian College of Performing Arts, so she probably has a very good background in the arts and musical theater.
It’s also been such a magical process to follow Carly Rae’s journey to Broadway on Instagram. The star and her team have been sharing updates since the casting announcement. Shots include her move to New York, her first moments trying on the glass slipper (with William Ivey Long looking on), dance rehearsals with her new Prince, and, maybe our favorite, a share of the Cinderella logo on the day of the casting announcement. The caption on the photo read, “dreams do come true!”
Throughout this time of transitions, some important words to remember are those spoken by Laura Osnes during the height of this debacle. She tweeted on December 29th, “Have we learned nothing from Ella about charity, generosity, and kindness?” We love the support being shown from princess to princess and, when we realize how excited Carly Rae must be as her dreams come true, we can’t help but wish her all the best in this role!
Photo via NBC