As they say in Guys and Dolls, "Chemistry?" "Yeah, Chemistry!" The connection between two actors that results in suspense, comedy and romance is difficult to define but easy to see and feel. A good cast has it, and theatregoers can definitely sense it.
Click through to see ten recent acting duos with great chemistry and suggestions for their next production.
Tony winner Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy sizzled onstage as the mysteriously seductive actress Vanda and the playwright and director Thomas in David Ives' Venus in Fur. The suspenseful two-hander showed just how sexually charged an encounter between strangers can be. Arianda and Dancy already reunited in the TV show "Hannibal," but we'd love to see this delightful duo back onstage together in Shakespeare's battle of the sexes The Taming of the Shrew. Arianda has treated us to her outstanding comedic chops before, and we'd love to see Dancy tear up the stage as Petruchio.
As Cinderella and Prince Topher, Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana made royal magic onstage. Their superb singing and dancing talents, as well as their warm, comfortable rapport, made this fairy-tale romance completely believable. A revival of My Fair Lady would show off their talents as well as the great comedic timing we know they both possess. And, can you imagine Osnes singing "I Could Have Danced All Night"?
As Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad left audiences laughing nonstop in the hilarious musical The Book of Mormon. These two are simply too great to not team up for another comedy. What about Damn Yankees, with Rannells as Shoeless Joe and Gad as the devilish Applegate?
After seeing these two in the 2010 revival of August Wilson's Fences, a reunion of Denzel Washington and Viola Davis is not an option. It has to happen. The strength and passion between these two acclaimed actors calls for a serious drama. We think another revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is just the ticket.
Grey Gardens paired Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson as dysfunctional daughter and mother living in a decrepit estate in the Hamptons. These two powerhouse actresses found such humor, warmth and sympathy in their characters that we think they should team up again. They would be a perfect pair for the murderous aunts in Arsenic and Old Lace.
As Frank Abagnale Jr., Aaron Tveit had many lovers in Catch Me If You Can, but the co-star he shared the most chemistry with was Norbert Leo Butz, playing Carl Hanratty, the FBI agent determined to track down the brilliant con man. An onstage reunion between the two is absolutely necessary. We'd love to see them star in a revival of Falsettos playing Marvin and Whizzer.
This one's a no-brainer. These two simply must star in Sweeney Todd. We've seen Audra McDonald as the Beggar Woman in Sondheim's murderous musical, but her plethora of talents would take the role of Mrs. Lovett to a whole new level, and Brian Stokes Mitchell's voice is perfectly suited to Sweeney Todd, a role he has previously played. The sizzling romantic chemistry we saw in Ragtime would add a new dimension to the relationship between the barber and his loving partner-in-crime.
Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale moved audiences to tears as passionate lovers in the short-lived musical The Bridges of Madison County as well as a less-than-passionate married couple in Far From Heaven. We think the two would sizzle as sparring former spouses in Cole Porter's musical comedy Kiss Me, Kate. Pasquale has proved himself to be an excellent singer, and can you imagine O'Hara tearing up the stage in "I Hate Men"?
There would be trouble in River City if these two were co-starring in The Music Man! Cheyenne Jackson and Kate Baldwin breathed new life into Finian's Rainbow, and their romantic heat would do the same for this old-fashioned classic. Jackson would bring an intense sexuality to Harold Hill, and Baldwin's fiery spunk would introduce us to a new side of Marian the Librarian.
As Tom Collins and Angel Schunard, Jesse L. Martin and Wilson Jermaine Heredia sang "I'll Cover You," one of the sweetest love songs in Broadway history. We'd love to see them duet onstage again. But rather than play lovers, why not see them as adversaries? Chess is just the ticket: as competing champions Freddy and Anatoly, Martin and Heredia could showcase their vocal and acting talents while plotting tactical war against each other.
(Carey Purcell is the Features Editor of Playbill.com. Her work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow her on Twitter @PlaybillCarey.)