Few entertainment crossovers can be more cringe-worthy than a famous musician entering the theatre world. Mostly because these artists tend to want to lend their pop icon status to a time honored thespian classic. And considering most of them aren't exactly known for their Broadway vocal chops and jazz hands, the idea can seem a little, um, overly ambitious. But every now and then we get surprised by a hip-hop mogul or a naughty, club rap vixen who actually has the skills to fit the playbill. Below is our list of the top five artists who've we've gleefully showcased their thespian tendencies.
Who else thought the late '90s hit “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” would be the last time rapper Jay-Z and Annie would be mentioned in the same sentence? Well, guess again. Last week, it was reported that Hova recently signed on as musical director for a new big screen version of the classic play, produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's production company, Overbrook Entertainment and starring their daughter Willow (shocking). Of course, this news has us wondering about the rest of the film's casting. Will Beyoncé play Ms. Hannigan? And will Daddy Warbucks' butler named Drake be played by… Drake? And what will the songs sound like once they are given the Jigga touch?
4) Sean 'Diddy' Combs
When a rapper like Sean 'Diddy' Combs steps into the theatre game, it's usually to prove that he can't stop (won't stop) until he's succeeded at total domination of the entertainment industry. The hip-hop mogul proved that point loud and clear when he graced the Broadway stage as “Walter Lee Younger” as part of a 2008 revival of Lorraine Hansberry's classic play Raisin in the Sun. While the character's obsession with getting rich and dreaming big wasn't exactly a stretch for rap's wealthiest Bad Boy, we didn't expect his acting to be this believable.
Techno-rock-raunch musician Peaches is no stranger to Broadway songs but when she heard Jesus Christ Superstar, she said it transformed her. After years of loving the soundtrack to the popular play, she suggested her own rendition in the form of a one-woman show called Peaches Christ Superstar. The Hebbel Am Ufer Theater in Berlin actually agreed after they initially canceling the premiere. If you can look past the gold lamé and weird haircut to appreciate Peaches' raw vocal talent, her take on “Jesus Christ Super Star” is rather stunning– and a bit mild for someone with albums titled Fatherfucker and Impeach My Bush.
Raven-Symoné might have captured our hearts on the Cosby Show and on the tons of other acting gigs she has done over the years (anybody else secretly a fan of That's So Raven?), but she has also been singing forever. Super successful albums? Okay, maybe not so much. But a genuinely great singer? Totally. This year, she moved into the world of theatre with her Broadway debut starring as “Deloris van Cartier” in Sister Act. Her performance and has been met with rave reviews which of course leaves the field wide open for rumors and haters. But not us. Holy shit, that nun has some pipes.
1) Nick Jonas
Nick Jonas specializes in making teeny boppers squeal for a living. But long before his teen heartthrob days, Nick was singing in plays like Les Miserables and Annie Get Your Gun. We guess it was only a matter of time before Nick hit the Broadway stage again with his role as “J. Pierrepont Finch” in, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. And even if you aren't a fan of Jonas' bow-tie and jazz hands, you gotta give the guy some credit for an energetic performance. We're also glad that he took a break from his usual gig with rest of the Jonas Brothers and their seven-year production titled How to Succeed in Music Without Really Trying.
There is no faking it when it comes to performing live. Either you have it or you don't. Since we named some that did a good job we'd love to hear from you on the flipside. Who do you think totally bombed?