On March 31, New York’s MCC Theater held its raucous Miscast gala, an annual fundraiser honoring one veteran theater artist — this year, the fearless Allison Janney — with a concert program line-up that features Broadway stars performing songs typically sung by the opposite gender. Last year, you might remember Jeremy Jordan and Jonathan Groff stopping the show with Smash’s “Let Me Be Your Star.” This year was no different, but we’ll get to that. First, Janney.
“I believe that any actor worth their salt has to have done theater,” says Janney, whose history with the stage stretches far back to her very first acting part ever in the Miscast-appropriate role of Noah Claypole, the undertakers’ son in the musical Oliver!. Since, she’s earned two Tony nominations, won two Drama Desk Awards, and conquered Shakespeare in the Park (and hey, she even appeared in the film version of Hairspray). For Janney, it all goes back to theater.
“When I did West Wing, all of those actors I worked with came from New York theater, and I think it makes a difference. Actors on Broadway, we have a similar language,” Janney tells EW. But being honored by MCC is, she jokes, the biggest miscast of the evening. “That’s the big joke on me. I’m going to go up there and they’re going to be like, ‘We’re joking! You’re miscast. Go sit down.’”
As the guest of honor, Janney was welcomed by a slew of theater celebrities, including Jane Krakowski, Zosia Mamet, Raul Esparza, Jeremy Jordan, and Victor Garber, who served as hosts of the evening. Former Janney co-stars and friends who couldn’t make the event—Meryl Streep, Anna Faris, Dule Hill, and Sarah Paulson, to name a few—recorded their well wishes on video.
The night’s program was especially packed, kicking off with The Voice alum Sasha Allen singing Franki Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (she appeared later in the night once more to kill it with Jean Valjean’s “Bring Him Home” from Les Miz). Allen was followed in suit by Nicole Parker singing The Book of Mormon’s “I Believe,” Steven Pasquale taking on Carousel’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” Billy Porter paying homage to Gypsy with “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” and Marc Kudisch serenading Janney onstage with Wicked’s “Popular” (Janney, in her trip to the stage, made sure to keep a tight grip on her wine glass, and rightly so). Kinky Boots dancer Joey Taranto brought down the house with his Babs rendition of Funny Girl’s “I’m the Greatest Star” (and if the casting directors in the audience didn’t take notice, they’re nuts).
But oh, let’s talk about the evening’s big showstoppers. Jeremy Jordan, of Newsies and Smash fame, had the crowd going berserk as he performed the now-iconic Idina Menzel anthem “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. And in fact, EW has the exclusive video to share of Jordan’s gender-bending performance.
The night’s other big buzz came from Girls star Zosia Mamet, who took the stage in a newsboy cap to pay her respects to the dance-heavy Newsies. Sitting on the edge of the proscenium, Mamet crooned the opening phrases of “Seize the Day” before joining four dancers from the Broadway production and nailing the dance break (which, fans of the show will recognize, is probably the best choreographic moment in the entire show). We’ve no video, but enjoy this delightful photo of Shoshanna and her paper-slinging brethren.