Marriage Material: Ranking the Grooms of Broadway

Alexa Juno

  • New York Columnist

Theatre history is littered with countless famous marriages. From the happily-ever-after of Disney to the emotional dysfunction of Sondheim, matrimony and all it entails has remained a central component of many musicals, for better or for worse. 

From a young age, we are trained to root for love, to get behind the promise of a soul-mate, and to tear up at happy endings. But in all of this relentless cheerleading for love within the theatre, the question of viability is one that never seems to come up.  Anyone who has sustained a long-term relationship will tell you there is a whole lot more that makes a marriage outside of the obvious necessity of love, and many of those characteristics are more important than love itself. So for this column, I’ve decided to put the concept of “love conquers all” to the test. 

Wedding bells are chiming in my family this week as my older sister, Kara, prepares to walk down the aisle on Sunday. Since she seems to possess a great deal of good judgment in terms of potential partners, as evidenced by my lovely brother-in-law, James, I decided to get her opinion on some of Broadway’s most famous lovers. Rating them on a scale of 1-10, we are breaking down the suitors of musical theatre, getting into the good, the bad, and the very ugly of what makes a man, “marriage material.” See the full list below:

Roger from “Rent”- 1
“Roger is the sexy rock and roll guy you have a fling with, but he’s not the guy you marry. He’s the guy you meet out at a bar and he seems mysterious and exciting, and then two weeks into the relationship you realize he’s a recluse with a jealousy streak. Plus, who starts a relationship by telling someone, “You look like my dead girlfriend who gave me HIV and killed herself not ten feet from where we’re standing.”

Marius from “Les Miserables” - 3
“Ugh. I hate Marius. What a whiner. I can’t be in a relationship with a man who is more dramatic than I am. Obsessed and using poor, friend-zoned Eponine to stalk this girl he saw one time.  I feel like if you were getting ready to go out with him, and you were wearing an outfit that kind of matched his, he’d make you change.” 

Nathan Detroit from “Guys and Dolls”-  5
“And that’s a generous five. He might love Adelaide, but with his history he should have been gone already. He never puts her needs first and clearly has a gambling problem. He could gamble their house away someday. I see Adelaide somewhere with 6 kids, smoking a cigarette at the kitchen table at 2 AM, waiting for him to come home. Those two definitely divorced somewhere in the epilogue”

Alexander Hamilton from “Hamilton” - 5
“He gets an extra point for all the great things he did for America, but I got problems with A.Ham. First of all, he doesn’t actually care which Schuyler sister he winds up with at all, he would’ve settled for whiny Peggy, let’s be real. Eliza’s biggest mistake was marrying a man whose nickname is “The Tomcat” in the first place, but his relationship with Angelica is insane. If I would’ve found that letter, I would’ve been like, “COMMA AFTER DEAREST, MY ASS. YOU LEAVE ME A POST- IT NOTE IN THE KITCHEN TELLING ME TO DARN YOUR SOCKS. WHERE’S MY FRIGGIN’ COMMA?”  Not only does he leave to run the Treasury without even asking her opinion, he has a full-blown affair and then puts her on blast about it. If it was modern day, this would’ve been an episode of Cheaters.  THEN he gets her son shot and was probably all like, “Did anyone bring back my guns?” AND THEN he tells her he’s got a business meeting, takes a boat to New Jersey to die, and now she gets a call that he’s dead and has to wait for them to row his bleeding ass back to Manhattan. He’s lucky she didn’t tell his damn story in a salacious tell-all about what an asshole he was after he died.” 

Fiyero from “Wicked” -  7
“He’s like one of those guys that you think is a douche when you first meet him but then it turns out he only acts that way around his friends. So, I’ll give him a 7 for his ability to evolve. Plus, she turned him into a scarecrow and he was cool with it, so that’s got to be a good sign.”

Seymour from “Little Shop of Horrors”- 7
“Seymour gets a 7 because he’s a little too timid, but you know he would do anything for her. You have to deduct points for pre-meditated murder though. You know he’s going to have baggage for the rest of his life over all the people he ruthlessly fed to a plant. Easily coerced, too. That could be a good or bad thing, depending on the situation.”

Yitzhak from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” - 8
“Now, I do not condone staying in an abusive relationship, by any stretch. But if we’re just considering Yitzhak’s role in relation to Hedwig, he gave up his identity for her. She’s not kind to him but he stays with her through it all. Dedication and loyalty are two of the hallmarks of a great man.”

Motel the Tailor from “Fiddler on the Roof” - 9
“Two words: Union. Job. If you’re a tailor, that’s job security for life. Plus, he can make you clothes. Custom couture! He was Tzeitel’s best friend and is respectful, pious, and sweet. There’s a lot to love about Motel.”

Emett from “Legally Blonde”-  10
“Good career. He’s going to be an attorney. Must has been good enough in law school to be a TA for Professor Callahan. Encourages her to develop her intellect and really boosts her self-esteem and pushes her to succeed.  He puts his career on the line with Callahan to defend her when he sexually harrasses her. And he does this all knowing that she’s pining over this other guy and never once pressures her to be with him and allows her to come to the realization on her own. Good guy all around.”