Being a fabulous redhead is one of my favorite things in the world, and I know many of my fellow gorgeous redheads feel the same way. However, on the big ol’ Broadway (or Big Ol’ Bway, as I sometimes call it when I’m alone), sometimes redheads get maligned.
Red is a really hard color to light, so, to some extent, I get it. But, as a young theatre artist, I think we should end this alienation. Some have already done so, while others are still being left behind. So, here’s three current Broadway redheads and their counterparts that are no longer redheads –– for no reason at all. In most Broadway shows, no matter what their hair color, actors are wigged, so it blows my mind when redheaded characters played by non-redheads are still not redheaded.
Lauren Ambrose as Eliza Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady’
Shunned: Christy Altomare as Anya in ‘Anastasia’
Eliza Doolittle is one of those great musical theatre roles. She’s timeless. Hilarious and dramatic, demure and strong, a massive singing role that also involves tons of scene work. To my delight, the stunning natural redhead Lauren Ambrose has taken on the role in the Bartlett Sher-helmed revival (and is receiving stellar reviews) and is donning her natural red hair on stage.
On the other end of the spectrum, Altomare plays Anya. Anya was a redhead in the 1997 animated film by Altomare is a blonde in the Broadway musical. It’s been running for a year and I’m still salty.
Bernadette Peters as Dolly Gallagher Levi in ‘Hello, Dolly!’
Shunned: Erika Henningsen as Cady Heron in ‘Mean Girls’
Bernadette Peters has taken over the role from the blonde Bette Midler and is wearing gorgeous red hair. Easy, lovely, perfect, right?
Apparently not because over at the August Wilson Theater, the redheaded role Lindsay Lohan played in the hit-movie Mean Girls is now being played by a sort of dark- blonde-donning Erika Henningsen. It might be strawberry blonde in the right light, but it’s certainly not as red as Lindsay Lohan in the film, and that’s a damn shame.
Patti Murin as Princess Anna in ‘Frozen’
Shunned: John Riddle as Prince Hans of the Southern Isles in ‘Frozen’
‘Frozen’ has made its way to be Broadway. Between all the lights and glamour, you might be concerned that some of Disney’s most famous redheads might receive a new treatment. Did they? Well, luckily new fabulous redhead Patti Murin dons the classic orange Anna braids with pride.
However, Hans of the Southern Isles is a BRUNETTE. I know. John Riddle is very attractive and supremely talented, but…like, why isn’t he a redhead?
So, I put it to you Broadway, why are you hating on redheads? We’re incredible and should be embraced for our natural elegance, spunk and awesomeness.
No matter what, Rock it like a Redhead!