Jake Gyllenhaal sings at his Broadway musical debut: pitch perfect or passable?


The magic of Broadway – the sweeping orchestral music, the beautiful and historic architecture of the theater buildings, the incredible staging – should be enough to get butts in the seats, but sometimes a little star power can’t hurt. Many of your favorite actors from film and television have trod the boards of the Great White Way, and Jake Gyllenhall is no exception, making his Broadway musical debut in a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George.

Jake is taking on the role of French impressionist painter Georges Seurat in the revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, a role originated on Broadway by Mandy Patinkin in 1984. Jake co-stars with Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford, who originated the role of Lauren in the musical Kinky Boots and whom you may know better as Betty Dimello on Showtime’s Masters of Sex. Robert Sean Leonard, whom I still miss from House, also appears in the musical.

Sondheim’s songs often present a challenge to an actor (see Catherine Zeta Jones attempt to tackle “Send in the Clowns” from his A Little Night Music if you don’t believe me,) But I think Jake may have managed to go toe-to-toe with Mandy with his vocal chops. Jake posted a video on his Facebook page, singing Georges’ Act One show-stopping ballad “Finishing the Hat” during rehearsal of the show at the newly-renovated Hudson Theater. The clip was directed by Cary Fukunaga, who brought us True Detective. Get ready to swoon.

Dreamy, right? As a theater major/nerd myself (FSU School of Theater ’90, holla!), I can attest that Jake’s got a great musical theater voice. Of course, this isn’t Jake’s first live theater experience. He starred in the play Constellations in 2015. He also starred in a limited off-Broadway run of Little Shop of Horrors at New York City Center with Ellen Greene, who originated the role of Audrey and reprised her role for the 1986 movie. Jake and Annaleigh performed a concert version of George in October of 2016, and Jake got some great reviews, leading to his Broadway debut later this month. Previews of the show start this Saturday and the show’s official opening is scheduled for February 23. This 10-week engagement ends on April 23.

Unfortunately for Jake, if he’s looking for an EGOT, he’s going to have to find another theatrical vehicle, as the show’s producers have decided to take the show out of the running for the Tony Awards, citing financial concerns (such as providing free tickets for the 1,600 Tony voters) for the decision. Of course, when you’re going up for Best Revival against Sunset Boulevard with Glenn Close and Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler, your odds of losing are pretty good. Sorry, sometimes you’ve just gotta tell it like it is.

I used to go see a Broadway show every year, and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Hedwig and the Angry Inch twice (with Neil Patrick Harris and John Cameron Mitchell), How to Succeed in Business with Daniel Radcliffe and tons more (I even saw Annaleigh in Kinky Boots). I would love to see this (my birthday is April 22, in case anyone if thinking of a nice gift). I hope this revival is a success and leads to more musicals for Jake – if nothing else, maybe he could reprise his critically acclaimed role in the Brokeback Mountain opera (yes, this really happened).

2016 New York City Center Gala Dinner Arrivals

Photo credit: WENN.com, Getty Images

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

14 Responses to “Jake Gyllenhaal sings at his Broadway musical debut: pitch perfect or passable?”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Soprana says:

    Jake does have a nice voice. And being a singer, I can verify that Sondheim is HARD. I’d love to hear him tackle something with a bit more of a musical line, like a Rodgers song…Sondheim is all about the rhythm and words

    Speaking of Broadway debuts, I am seeing Josh Groban next month in the “War and Peace” musical!!!! Can’t wait!!!!!!

    • Adrien says:

      Woah! woah! woah! Josh Groban in a musical. I want to watch.

    • Kiki says:

      I dear say it. Jake Gyllenhall is my new crush………………….. I love his singing voice and I hope to see him in more Broadway or films of musicals. I must say it, He is a better singer than Ryan Gosling (p.s Ryan Gosling is not a bad singer but not as good as Jake Gyllenhall).

  2. Katydid20 says:

    Weirdly enough I got my ticket to see him April 22nd…….very excited :)

  3. Kitten says:

    Sorry Corey I could only make it to about 1:50. Jake sounds great (I love him) but I generally can’t tolerate musicals.

  4. CFY says:

    I’m seeing this show on 2/25! Sondheim is HARD – my choir sang some selections of his in our summer show including Sunday and it was almost enough to push me, a second soprano, over to the altos.

  5. Louise177 says:

    He sounds really good but I wonder if he’ll develop vocal problems. I don’t know a thing about singing but I wonder when a non-professional does a musical for months if they can last.

    • HK9 says:

      If he has the discipline (and actually knows how to) to take care of his voice & his body he’ll be fine. If not, yes he’ll develop problems.

  6. Miss V says:

    Jake is my forever crush. Such a talented actor, and now this. Swoon is right!!!!!

  7. JulP says:

    His voice is pretty good! He’s so talented, I can’t wait for him to get the recognition he deserves!

  8. Llamas says:

    I think I need to plan a trip to NY.

  9. Margo says:

    He has a nice voice for someone who is untrained. Working on his breath control will help him reach and sustain the higher notes and longer phrases.

  10. singtress says:

    Holy shit.
    He has some breath support issues, and is clearly working on technique…but…wow.
    I am impressed.