Never mind the accolades. Never mind that she was Tony-nominated two years in a row, won once, and showed up to both ceremonies in easily the best dress of the night. Let’s cut to the chase here: Patina Miller, with her bionic biceps and statuesque curvitude, is crazy beautiful. But what we love most about Patina is the sense of mystery in her pretty eyes — like she could spend her free time crashed on the couch watching Toddlers and Tiaras in yoga pants, or possibly flying between New York and Tangier on clandestine spy missions. Either image seems to work, and either way, we’d love to tag along.
Rachael Bay Jones
You know you’re about to have a good year when they re-write some lines in a 30+-year-old musical to accommodate your casting. Things only get better when that joke — riffing on the age difference between you and your young, male co-star — becomes one of the most meaningful, and, frankly, perfect, jokes in the show. But seriously, Rachel Bay Jones hardly comes close to looking her age up there on stage while she’s belting her face off and changing the direction of Pippin’s life, and we love her for having a sense of humor about it all, just as much as we love her for being beautiful and talented.
Stephanie J Block
Look, at the end of the day, we’re just plain jealous of Stephanie J Block’s whole thing. She looked beautiful in a very 20s get-up at the Tony Nominees cocktail party, and she can sing her face off, and she’s smart, and her husband is handsome as all get-out. Plus, with her kick-ass (Tony Nominated) performance in Drood, and her role in Little Miss Sunshine, it’s looking like New York City really got on board this year. We ain’t mad about it, either.
Obviously, she used to be a personal trainer. For anyone who saw her Tony-nominated turn as Cassandra in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, it will come as no surprise that Shalita Grant is well acquainted with the art of ass kicking. Whether telling David Hyde Pierce what’s what, or rocking a white satin floor-length halter dress, this girl can do it, and look fabulous — and fabulously well-toned — all the while. And that doesn’t even take into account her sparkletastic wit and outsized sense of humor. To play funny is one thing. To actually be funny is quite another.
Ruthie Ann Miles
Imelda Marcos — wife of disgraced former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos — is known more for her partying and vast collection of shoes than for her stunning good looks (though she was a beauty queen in her youth). But Here Lies Love star Ruthie Ann Miles gives not a fuck about that, because it’s her dance party and she’ll be beautiful if she wants to. And damn is she beautiful. Of course, Clint Ramos’ costumes certainly helped the star look her va-va-voomiest on stage, but we totes have a crush on Ms. Miles now, and we don’t care who knows it!
Where does one even begin with this woman? She’s GORG. She has hair that is basically perfect. She’s truly hilarious, on stage, and off (seriously, check out her Twitter). She was cast as a princess in this summer’s Love’s Labour’s Lost and when we heard the news all we thought was “duh” because she basically is a princess in real life. Also, she’s one half of our favorite Broadway couple this year, because all her awesomeness snagged Colin Donnell, which basically means everyone just needs to bow down.
God, we have tried so hard to hate this girl, and we can’t even do it. Usually any presumption of “edginess,” aesthetic or otherwise, sends our eyes rolling waaaaaay the hell up in our heads. This is Broadway, after all. But Krysta makes it work, and for one pretty basic reason: She’s really talented and really hot. And here is a girl who could be an alto Laura Osnes if she wanted. But she kind of gives the hypothetical finger to all that noise in favor of a tougher, darker image. And Broadway needs some of that in the same way that it needs a future and some cheaper tickets. We approve.
You can hear it every night when you walk through Hell’s Kitchen: The sobbing of young Broadway hopefuls, wailing away in their beds because they aren’t, and will never be Kate Baldwin. Because here’s the thing: Kate’s basically perfect. She’s gorgeous. She’s tall. She’s a redhead. She sings like a dream. And she possesses that kind of rare theatrical magic: When she is standing on a stage, you do not much want to look away — even with Norbert Leo Butz nearby. No small feat, that.
Oh. My. God. Okay. So, obviously Socha wins all kinds of points for being totally gorgeous off-stage, but perhaps one of our favorite things about this beauty is her ability to totally change her physical presence for a role. In Fun Home Socha was almost entirely unrecognizable when she hit the stage playing a twitchy, nervous, young lesbian only just beginning to find her sexuality and come into her own. It takes real smarts to give a performance that sensitive and nuanced — so fully realized the actress herself almost entirely disappears — and we think that’s just as beautiful as the girl underneath the role.
For the vertically challenged among us, there’s something about watching a tall actress onstage — like the weather, the air quality, and the view of the universe must simply be different, and better, up there. Such is the sensation we got watching the lovely Anne-Marie Duff in Macbeth this season. She seemed to float above the whole production — figuratively and almost literally dwarfing the entire proceedings. The kicker? She’s 5’7″ — hardly a giant. But she seems like one up there, floating about in yards and yards of fabric, courtesy of Catherine Zuber’s designs, which were sort of like Lord of the Rings meets underwear. And look, we got almost all the way through this without mentioning Anne-Marie’s handsome husband, who loans plenty of hottie cred all on his own…
We are pretty damn sure it’s no accident that Jesse Mueller is starring in a show called Beautiful. We have always been suckers for Jesse’s girl-next-door charm, killer pipes, and throwback-y aesthetic. But what continues to flip our lids is her ability to shapeshift from role to role. The cues can be simple — a wig, a radically different costume — and it’s like seeing a whole new actress on stage every time.
If we had to choose one Broadway debut that caught our eye above all others this year, it was Amber Iman’s performance as Nina Simone in Soul Doctor. Sadly, Amber’s knock-out good looks — she looked SO statuesque and glam! — and strong performance couldn’t rescue Soul Doctor from its own atrociousness. But we’re hoping we get to see more of this seriously, seriously stunning lady again soon.
Ok, so we admit that we had to include this lady for one reason. Ok, for two — the first one being that she’s obviously really beautiful and Hollywood agrees. The second one is that we have literally never gotten over the dress she wore to the 2007 Oscars. Really. We are still not over it. Like, to the extent that we have waited for her to be in a Broadway show so we could feature her on this list and talk about it. The brooch! The necklace! The little diamond-y embellishments. Sorry, we can’t write anymore because we’re dead. You’re welcome.
Photos, from top: Charles Sykes; Unknown; Bennett Raglin; Marco Sagliocco; David Gordon; Michael Loccisano; Bruce Glikas; Jemal Countess; Broadway.com Video Still; Monica Simoes; Eugene Gologursky; David Gordon; Unknown