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Top 10 Hardest Male Musical Roles

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Cassandra Kalley
These parts could easily make or break a Broadway career. For this list, we are looking at male parts on Broadway that are particularly taxing to play due to the vocal and/or acting range required. We are not including ensemble or swing roles because, let’s be real: every one of those parts is tough. With that being said, settle in for some tough roles to break! Join us as we countdown the Top 10 Hardest Male Roles in Musical Theater! We’ve included entries like Peter Allen from “The Boy from Oz”, Pierre Bezukhov from “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” and more!

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Top 10 Hardest Male Musical Roles

These parts could easily make or break a Broadway career. Welcome to MsMojo, and today, we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Hardest Male Roles in Musical Theater.

For this list, we are looking at male parts on Broadway that are particularly taxing to play due to the vocal and/or acting range required. We are not including ensemble or swing roles because, let’s be real: every one of those parts is tough. With that being said, settle in for some tough roles to break!

#10: Peter Allen
“The Boy from Oz”

This jukebox musical is a beautiful flashback through the life and times of the fantastically talented singer/songwriter Peter Allen. And the demanding, high-energy nature of this musical requires a lot of the main character, who spends much of his time on stage either struggling with his sexuality or singing and dancing his heart out. Playing this larger-than-life personality can either be crazy fun or crazy hard. Or if you’re feeling “Bi-Coastal,” perhaps it will be a perfect combination of both. After all, like Peter asked, “why do you have to pick?”

#9: Pierre Bezukhov
“Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”

This musical adaptation of Volume 2, Part 5 of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” is one in which everything is sung. This alone can be a strain on the voice; and while the merging of old world music with the contemporary is also fascinating, it can be tough for all of the cast. And though playing Anatole - the conniving seducer of Natasha - requires a range that few others have, the titular role of Pierre is even more demanding. With a good half of the drama revolving around him, the actor must be able to hold his own on stage and, of course, like so many on this list, possess incredible vocal capability.

#8: Sweeney Todd
“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

This gothic musical - and therefore this part - was made immensely popular in the mid-2000s by Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. But this sinister role has long been making people not only uncertain of their barbers, but also questioning what’s in their food. With deep throaty notes and a merciless need for blood, Todd carries much of the weight of this eerie musical down the precarious paths of 1800s London. With Broadway greats like George Hearn setting the standard, this role is one tough neck to slit. If you’ve got a beautiful baritone voice and a lust for vengeance, though, then perhaps this is just the part for you.

#7: Jerry Mulligan
“An American in Paris”

The charisma and talent of Gene Kelly in any role is a tough act to follow. The man just had it. So, when this movie musical came to Broadway, the role of Jerry Mulligan was instantly equally coveted and feared. Making a role originated by the late, great Kelly your own is tough enough, but when you mix in the obvious fact that this role requires an excellent singer, actor, and an even better dancer, you’ve got yourself one hell of a part. Who would have expected that from a romantic comedy?

#6: Hedwig
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

Before transgender and genderqueer rights took center stage in America, Hedwig was blazing a multi-colored trail. So, although this titular role is female in gender, her voice part is for a tenor and therefore, she is primarily played by men. And the complexities of this beautiful human are ones to handle with care, as Hedwig tries to figure out her place in the world. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t let your voice rip when taking on this part. This woman may be beaten down by her situation, but she is not broken.

#5: Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson

As we all know, Lin-Manuel Miranda revolutionized Broadway with “In the Heights,” and his story of the birth of a country only pushed the envelope even further, with amazing results. The dual role of Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson may only be a supporting role, but they are integral ones, pushing the story along with guns, ships, gossip, and of course, the Declaration of Independence. And what this part lacks in belted notes or incredible range, it makes up for with raps that could twist nearly any tongue. Best to loosen all of your mouth muscles before trying this one.

#4: Dr. Henry Jekyll / Edward Hyde
“Jekyll & Hyde”

We all know this story. Dr. Jekyll gets curious about good and evil in men and makes a formula, using himself as the subject of the experiment. This potion causes a duality, creating a new persona within him: Mr. Hyde. Yep, a tale as old as time. And this eponymous split character is one that requires accessing all aspects of the male voice and the human spirit. From the bright timber of Dr. Jekyll to the frightening snarl of Mr. Hyde and back again, the actor for this challenging role must possess a flawless capability to carry this haunting tale of a battle within the self.

#3: The D'Ysquith Family
“A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder”

One actor. Several parts. And for a second there, we thought playing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was rough! But this role could make even the best swing actors blush. Though each family member - and therefore each character that must be played - is killed off throughout the performance of this darkly comedic opera, it still requires quite a lot of acting expertise. Both male and female characters are represented through one actor, and costume quick-changes in the wings are ones for the ages. A word of advice should you ever have the pleasure of playing this crazy role: don’t get too dizzy; and of course, knock ‘em dead.

#2: Jean Valjean
“Les Misérables”

Of all the entries on this list, “Les Misérables” is probably the most widely known in and out of the entertainment world. Anyone who’s worth their salt on Broadway and in Hollywood knows this classic tale. And the lead role in this intense story of war, love, life, and loss must have an equally intense vocal and acting power. The ability to command a stage is essential to this complex role. And with his solos going from the low tenor in “Who Am I?” to the falsetto in “Bring Him Home,” bringing an extraordinary vocal range to that audition obviously wouldn’t hurt.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions

Jason "J.D." Dean
“Heathers: The Musical”

Huey Calhoun

Donny Novitski

#1: Evan Hansen
“Dear Evan Hansen”

A newer entry into the annals of Broadway, “Dear Evan Hansen” has quickly become an easy favorite for theatergoers. But handling the balance of this main character can be tough. Evan Hansen is an anxiety-ridden but well-meaning high school kid who takes his part in a tragedy a little too far; but ultimately, he helps his entire school. Finding that line and walking it with this character - plus the clear intonation required of the singing voice - can be very tough for any less-experienced actor. Ben Platt might have made this look effortless, but like many on this list, not everyone can pull it off quite so well!


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