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re: in defense of Michael Hayden (and Sally Murphy)
Last Edit: Chazwaza 11:37 am EDT 04/08/21
Posted by: Chazwaza 11:23 am EDT 04/08/21
In reply to: re: in defense of Michael Hayden (and Sally Murphy) - Michael_Portantiere 12:37 am EDT 04/08/21

I didn't want to say anything about people specifically, to quote Eddie in The Wild Party, "you don't wanna make me mean!" ...

But listen... yes there are many very talented singer/actors who could do great in the role, the question is (based on the album and videos), is there anyone I think could have used their particular balance of vocal/acting skills, at the time, to greater effect than Hayden... and I would say no. But obviously I don't know, at all.

But let's take a few... the tour Billy - Patrick Wilson is a beautiful sexy man, fantastic singer and actor... I don't think in 1994 that his acting ability was where Hayden's was (including from videos of him in this role). The replacement Billy - James Barbour is a beautiful sexy man, a fantastic singer and a solid actor... I don't think his acting could have been as good as Hayden's from the many things I've seen him in (he does brooding well, I've seen him hired to do it many times, but still - the nuances, the layers Hayden brings, I just don't see as part of the solid acting ability Barbour possess... and I don't think Wilson fully developed the acting skill we know him to have until years later, and I think in the decade of growth he made as an actor, he hasn't really gotten to show it on stage, mainly in film/tv).

And Carousel ensemble member and massive talent, Brian D'Arcy James... beautiful and sexy man, great singer, excellent actor... but... with all due respect, in the many things I've seen him in, I just don't think he brings the kind of layers Hayden did. Maybe under the same direction Hayden got from Hytner he would have. Maybe I underestimate him. This is just one man's opinion based on his own limited exposure to what these performers can do. (and I'm curious why he wasn't a replacement instead of Barbour... Barbour wasn't known for Beast yet).. BDJ wasn't even a Billy understudy.

Being aware that there are people and realities i'm not aware of, I'm guessing there may have been guys we haven't brought up or thought of, or who'd have been making their debut, who could have satisfied/killed the acting and singing of the role... and maybe the only reason they didn't search for them was because the NY Times loved Hayden in London. But I tend to assume Hytner saw, and continued to see, what has colored my pointlessly firm opinion on this. ;) (which is that Hayden was the best thing for the role at the time)
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