Broadway Pop!

I have fallen in love with Funko Pops figures -- they're so odd but so wonderful. In recent months, Funko has released several Little Shop of Horrors figures, as well as two versions of both Danny and Sandy in Grease, and big collections of figures from Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.

But wait, there's more! I was fortunate enough to happen upon Amanda Tang's Broadway Pop store on Etsy, and it was like I had died and gone to musical theatre memorabilia heaven. She has custom Funko Pops for Hamilton, Newsies, Wicked, Book of Mormon, Phantom of the Opera...

But it gets even better. You can commission special orders from her! Would anyone really think I could have that information and not act on it? I couldn't help myself. So I asked Amanda to create a trio of figures for me, Billy Crocker, Reno Sweeney, and Moonface Martin, in the original 1934 Anything Goes. See the photo above to see how cool they turned out! Amanda is totally open to suggestions...

About the same time, I discovered the very cool work of Brian Reedy, brother to New Line's resident graphic artists, Matt Reedy, who's been designing all the New Line posters since 2006. That family clearly has good artsy genes. Brian's already made a Hamilton woodcut, and an Audrey II linocut, both incredibly cool and both for sale in Brian's Etsy store.

(Brian says he'd be open to doing more musical theatre designs...)

Having found both these artists, I've been thinking about all the ways my artist friends could make money creating musical theatre related merchandise. There's already a ton of it on Etsy, though most of that is uninspired. And there's a large, easy-to-target fan base eager for cool stuff like that. That fan base probably skews younger (which is good for the art form!), but it also includes people my age.

I started thinking of all the musical theatre characters that would make excellent Funko Pops or linocuts. To work, the character needs a pretty distinctive, iconic look, that translates clearly into these different, necessarily simpler forms. And that made me think about what characters in musical theatre have a look that transcends the original actor who played the role -- or in some cases, characters whose look was set forever by the original actor.

For instance, even with the simple, almost expressionless faces of the Pops, a red sequined dress and red feathered headdress are unmistakably Dolly Levi, at that one specific moment, coming down the stairs of the Harmonia Gardens during the intro to the title song. The same is true of Cassie's red rehearsal clothes, Mame's gold jumpsuit and short haircut, Mrs. Lovett's bizarre side curls...

Once I started thinking about this, I couldn't stop. Imagine Pops and/or linocuts, and/or whatever other things we can dream up, depicting...

Dolly Levi (in the red dress!)
     In a set of three! Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey, and Streisand (in gold)! Maybe also Bette?

Lola from Kinky Boots

Evan Hanson from Dear Evan Hansen

Zaza (and Albin?) from La Cage aux Folles

Ti Moune from Once on This Island

Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof

Don Quixote from Man of La Mancha

Stew from Passing Strange

Mame Dennis from Mame (in the gold jumpsuit!)

Cassie from A Chorus Line

Princess Winifred from Once Upon a Mattress

Charity Hope Valentine from Sweet Charity

Pres. Jackson from Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Ethel Merman, as a career-spanning set
     Including Reno in Anything Goes, Annie in Annie Get Your Gun, and Rose in Gypsy

Chita Rivera, as a career-spanning set
     Including Anita in West Side Story, Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie, Velma in Chicago, and the Spider Women in Kiss of the Spider Woman

Porgy and Bess from Porgy and Bess

Jeremy, Michael, and the Squip from Be More Chill

Tracy and Edna Turnblad from Hairsprayy

Mother and Coalhouse Walker Jr. from Ragtime

Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady

Prof. Harold Hill and Marian the Librarian from The Music Man

Rev. Purlie and Lutiebelle from Purlie

Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd

Elphaba and Glinda from Wicked

Hedwig and Yitzhak from Hedwig and the Angry Inch

J. Pierpont Finch and JB Biggley (and Rosemary?) from How To Succeed in Business...

Sally Bowles and the Emcee (and Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz?) from Cabaret
     Do two sets -- the original 1966 look AND the 1990s revival look

Berger, Claude, and Hud from Hair

Laurie, Curly, and Jud from Oklahoma!

Anna and the King from The King and I

Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart from Chicago

Capt. Macheath, and Mr. & Mrs. Peachum from Threepenny
     Not sure which version... the original 1928 Berlin production? The famous 1950s off Broadway production? The sexy 1970s Public Theatre production...?

The whole cast of the original Fantasticks

The three (four?) Dreamgirls

The whole cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

All the leads from Spring Awakening

All the leads from In the Heights

All seven leads from Rent

All the leads from Avenue Q

All the leads from Into the Woods

I could keep going. For a long time. But I won't. I'm sure by now you have a dozen in your head that you can't believe I left off my list. I feel your pain.

But also, I'm thinking, how much would I (and you) LOVE Pops and linocuts of Jason Robert Brown, Stephen Sondheim, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bill Finn, Pasek and Paul, Joe Iconis, Kander and Ebb, and sure, why not, Rodgers and Hammerstein. Although personally, I'd love to have a Rodgers and Hart set! And while I'm on a roll, also Hal Prince, Tommy Tune, Bob Fosse, George C. Wolfe, Michael Bennett, Susan Stroman, Michael Mayer, Michael Greif, George Abbott, George M. Cohan...

Just think of the thousands of dollars I could blow if all of these were available. Maybe this post isn't such a good idea after all...

I'll just leave it there for now... But stop by and see Amanda and Brian and their cool work...!

Long Live the Musical!