Updated: Feb 18, 2020
Actors face type casting to varying degrees of appreciation when it leads to work and frustration when it doesn't. There is slightly more leeway in theatre over film, but not by much. Recently, the Off Broadway Production of Little Shop Of Horrors has received criticism for casting Broadway veterans, (and YATC Master Class Teachers), Jonathan Groff and Jeremy Jordan as their lead, Seymour.
Fans are not buying the heartthrobs as the timid and dorky character. The Slate article written by Heather Schedel, Against Hot Seymour, points out "as written, Seymour is one of pop culture’s greatest nerds, a character defined by his clumsiness, unrequited crush on his co-worker Audrey, and propensity for letting a literal plant push him around. The part historically has been nearly synonymous with the actor Rick Moranis, who made something of a specialty of such roles in the 1980s and ’90s and who played Seymour to nebbishy perfection in the 1986 film version of the musical." Here is where the worlds of film and theatre intertwine. Rick Moranis became the face of Seymour which then creates the obstacle to challenge the physical appearance of future Seymours. It begs the question: would this be a controversy if it had purely existed in the world of live theatre rather than being immortalized on film? With more and more musicals being turned into movies and movies being adapted into musicals, the line get fuzzier and fuzzier.
Putting glasses on someone does not cover up perfect bone structure of a conventionally attractive person. The comparison is not unlike the chick flick cliche that when the nerdy girl with glasses, takes them off and takes down her ponytail, she is suddenly drop dead gorgeous. Who knew?? A problem with having leading men such as Jeremy Jordan and Jonathan Groff play Seymour is in one of the best known songs from the show, "Suddenly Seymour", where Audrey notices him for the first time as a someone she is attracted to despite him being nerdy and the polar opposite of the type of guy she is normally attracted to. It turns this realization comical, when Seymour is played by a classic leading man and is no longer an underdog story.
Jeremy Jordan, who in real life is a bit shy and awkward, fits some aspects of Seymour's character but from his looks alone, he is not the obvious choice for a dorky character. The same can be said of the incredibly humble and sweet, Jonathan Groff, who despite immense careen success sees himself as just a theatre nerd. YATC is lucky to have both incredibly talented actors on our teaching staff, but the topic of debate brings up interesting points.
Do you think Jeremy Jordan and Jonathan Groff fit the type to play Seymour? Let us know in the comments!
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