Who Are Broadway's Next Great Singers & Songwriters?: Top 10 Picks
Singer Idina Menzel's stage-to-screen crossover bodes well for Broadway's would-be stars, while the Lopezes scored Oscar gold for writing "Let It Go" and kicked open the door for future composers of stage and screen. Here are 10 picks for the Great White Way's next great singer and next hit songwriter.
If Broadway were a boy band, Tveit would be its Justin Timberlake. Although the dashing 30-year-old hasn't been onstage since 2011's "Catch Me if You Can," Tveit wowed the world -- and certainly its women -- playing Enjolras in the 2012 film adaptation of "Les Miserables." A leading role on TV's "Graceland" followed, along with a sold-out, multinight cabaret show at New York's 54 Below, which featured covers of Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift. The resulting live album marked Tveit's recording debut.
This 28-year-old set the princess bar high with her transformative, delightful turn in the title role of "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella." A part made famous by Julie Andrews and then Brandy, Osnes earned a Tony nomination in 2013 for the performance. The Minnesota native also boasts two albums: "Dream a Little Dream: Live at the Cafe Carlyle" and "If I Tell You (Songs of Maury Yeston)." Could her future include serving as the voice of Disney royalty on the big screen?
A Broadway debut as Billy in the Roundabout Theatre Company's 2010 revival of "Anything Goes" found this 31-year-old playing in the big leagues opposite Tony winner Sutton Foster. It wasn't long before Hollywood snatched him up for a regular role on TV's "Arrow" -- but he was killed off at the end of season one. He couldn't stay away from the stage for long, though, and will return in April in "Violet." Thanks to his pop-tastic performance in last summer's musicalized "Love's Labour's Lost," a crossover is not out of the question.
NIKKI M. JAMES
Remember when Jennifer Lawrence "beat Meryl" at the Golden Globes? Well, James, 32, beat Patti -- LuPone, that is -- at the 2011 Tonys when she took home the statuette for featured actress in a musical for "The Book of Mormon." James is back on Broadway this season singing the iconic ballad "On My Own" eight times a week as Eponine in the new production of "Les Miserables." She also tried her hand at cabaret in the fall, and fans are waiting for her to record a live album.
A triple threat with a Tony already under her belt (for her role in the current revival of "Pippin"), Miller, 29, made her Broadway debut (and received her first Tony nom) as nightclub singer-turned-undercover nun Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act. She also appears in the forthcoming "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Parts 1 and 2)", and her recent concert at Lincoln Center will be broadcast March 28 on PBS. (Fun fact: She was one of the final contenders to play Effie in the film "Dreamgirls" -- a role that won Jennifer Hudson an Oscar.)
BENJ PASEK and JUSTIN PAUL
Before you scoff at "A Christmas Story," keep in mind it earned the two co-writers a Tony Award nomination. They also won the Lucille Lortel Award for best off-Broadway musical for "Dogfight." With a long future in front of them, Pasek, 28, and Paul, 29, are working on a movie for Disney, and director Michael Greif ("Rent," "If/Then") is slated to helm their next musical. Also on their résumé: music for "Smash" and the Disney Channel show "Johnny and the Sprites."
JASON ROBERT BROWN
A fan of Stephen Sondheim and Billy Joel (though he leans more toward Sondheim), Brown composed the score for the adaptation of "The Bridges of Madison County," which currently is on Broadway. A big-screen version of his 2001 musical "The Last Five Years" will star Anna Kendrick this year. The 43-year-old New York native already is hailed as one of the quintessential writers of his generation.
Counting such shows as "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "Caroline, or Change" in her stable, the 52-year-old, four-time Tony-nominated composer is in the middle of a pretty major moment. Her off-Broadway musical "Fun Home," with book writer and lyricist Lisa Kron, played to rave reviews at the Public Theater in the fall, and her first musical, "Violet," with Brian Crawley, will see its Broadway debut in April. Tesori's screen credits include the animated "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning" and "Shrek the Third."
A graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, the 32-year-old never has been on Broadway, but he wrote some of the most memorable music for NBC's short-lived stage-set Smash, including "Broadway, Here I Come" and "The Goodbye Song." His musical "The Black Suits" premiered this season in Los Angeles to great acclaim, positioning the New York native as a leader in the new musical theater scene. He's one to watch.
TOM KITT and BRIAN YORKEY
Writer and lyricist Yorkey and composer Kitt made a splash in 2008 with their first Broadway musical, "Next to Normal," which won the Tony and is one of only eight musicals that have taken home the Pulitzer Prize for drama. In "If/Then," their contemporary rock sound stands out. To that end, they're pros with rock stars, too. Kitt, 40, orchestrated the Broadway version of Green Day's concept album "American Idiot."