This year's gala honored Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated stage and screen actress Sarah Paulson (The Glass Menagerie, Collected Stories) and Tony Award-winning producer Fran Weissler (represented this season with Finding Neverland).
At the annual revue, invited performers finally get to take on their dream roles — although, in real life, they'd never be cast.
Annaleigh Ashford, Tony-nominated for her performance as Lauren in Kinky Boots, decided to play Lola this time around. She opened up the night by walking onto the Hammerstein Ballroom stage in knee-high, red Kinky Boots (as opposed to the Kinky "Booties" she wore in the show) and, along with a trio of Kinky backup singers, belted out "Land of Lola," the show-stopping number that Billy Porter put his stamp on when he played Lola in the production's original cast.
Tony winners Laura Benanti and Jessie Mueller, who both played Into the Woods' Cinderella (Benanti in the 2002 Broadway revival, and Mueller in the recent staging in Central Park), said that they'd much prefer playing the prince to the princess. They performed "Agony," complete with a virtual backdrop of the waterfall used in the film adaptation. Uzo Aduba and Ben Platt put on their aprons to cook up some "Priest"! Aduba played Sweeney Todd, and Platt played Mrs. Lovett in their performance of "A Little Priest" from Sweeney Todd. (PS: If a gender-bending revival of Sweeney ever came to fruition, these two need to be at the top of the casting list!)
The Sondheim love-fest continued with "Johanna," performed to perfection by Jessie Mueller.
Joshua Henry was up next…and asked Mueller back to the stage for some help on the next tune. He needed a backup singer for his rendition of Carole King's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" from Beautiful. He told Mueller, who created the role of King on Broadway, he "felt sorry" that she was "fired." (She took her seat on stage after a few "oohs" and "ahhs," and she was the first to clap when Henry finished.)
Annaleigh Ashford took center stage again. This time, she stripped down to a Tin Man costume — clearly petitioning for her spot in the NBC broadcast of The Wiz. She performed "Slide Some Oil to Me" and ended her performance in a split!
Laura Benanti finally took her shot at The Sound of Music's Liesl! In the next number, she and Christopher Fitzgerald — obviously too old for Liesl and Rolf — performed "Sixteen Going on Seventeen." Benanti chewed bubblegum, and Fitzgerald made his entrance by bicycle. (The audience fell in love with their older version!)
Leslie Odom, Jr. captivated with his performance of "Another Hundred People" from Sondheim's Company. (Before he sang, he thanked casting director Bernie Telsey for his career, including his casting in the acclaimed Hamilton, which transfers to Broadway this summer.)
The boys of this year's Miscast class walked on in all black for their rendition of "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago. Let's just say… You had to be there! (An all-male "Cell Block Tango" seems to be quite the rage this year, as it was performed at Broadway Backwards, too.)
Concluding the evening, Jeremy Jordan dedicated "Don't Rain On My Parade" from Funny Girl to the powerful female honorees of the evening, Sarah Paulson and Fran Weissler. With a digital boat on the screen in the background, no one was able to rain on his parade!
Proceeds from Miscast 2015 contribute to supporting MCC Theater's mission to develop and produce work Off-Broadway, as well as its Youth Company and partnerships with New York City public high schools, and MCC's literary development work with emerging playwrights.