What Icons Would You Like to See Musicalized On Stage? Playbill Readers Pick Their Favorites

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16 Jan 2012

Lena Horne
Lena Horne

Nearly 30 years ago, the life of blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe served as inspiration for the short-lived 1983 Broadway musical Marilyn. Beginning in February, the new NBC series "Smash" will center on another group of writers attempting to bring a hit Marilyn musical to the Great White Way.

Throughout Broadway's history, a host of real-life icons, from the political and entertainment arenas, have inspired musical writers: think Fiorello!, Barnum, Sunday in the Park With George, George M!, Mack and Mabel and Gypsy.

This year Evita and Jesus Chirst Superstar  are returning to Broadway, while Jersey Boys and Million Dollar Quartet are still entertaining New York audiences, and Broadway is awaiting the new Hugh Jackman musical vehicle Houdini.

Playbill.com polled our readers as to which icons they think would make dynamic subjects for a new musical, and who they would want to write the show. Some readers even threw in ideal casting choices.

Here are some reader responses followed by our own commentary:

Debbie McIntyre: I would love to see a musical about Lena Horne with Alicia Keys as the lead! The late Hollywood and Broadway star appeared in such films as "Cabin in the Sky" and "Stormy Weather," and earned a Tony Award nomination for Jamaica, as well as a Special Tony for her heralded 333-performance concert run of "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music." The Brookyn-born performer's off-stage life as a Civil Rights activist would bring a richness to the story of one of the most influential African American women in entertainment. With Alicia Keys making her Broadway producing debut with Stick Fly, maybe she'll decide to inhabit Lena down the road.


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