Broadway vet Andrew Rannells appeared on The Tonight Show to perform updated renditions of songs from Hairspray, The Book of Mormon, Little Shop of Horrors, and more

By Jen Juneau
December 09, 2020 11:11 AM
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Broadway may not be re-opening until at least May of next year, but Jimmy Fallon and Andrew Rannells are bringing the stage to you.

On Monday's episode of The Tonight Show, the two-time Tony nominee and star of The Prom teamed up with the late-night host to give an eight-minute-long performance that saw them put a creative spin on lyrics from an impressive number of well-known musicals, all in the name of recapping 2020 and looking forward to a hopefully better 2021.

After kicking off with "America" from West Side Story, with lyrics changed to reflect the beginning of the year before the coronavirus pandemic began in the United States, the guys sang "Suddenly COVID" — a take on Little Shop of Horrors' "Suddenly Seymour." The tune was hilariously updated to touch on the reality of everyone's canceled social plans in 2020.

Rannells, 42, and Fallon, 46, also tackled quarantine ("Day 16 Going on 17," borrowed from The Sound of Music); "Losing My Sanity" (to the tune of Wicked's "Defying Gravity"); "I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (from Dreamgirls, about the importance of social distancing); and "You Can't Stop the Count," a take on Hairspray's "You Can't Stop the Beat" that addresses Donald Trump's actions following the 2020 presidential election.

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Andrew Rannells and Jimmy Fallon
| Credit: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/ youtube
Jimmy Fallon, Andrew Rannells and The Roots
| Credit: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/ youtube

But the pair didn't stop there. Their performance also included renditions of hits from Cats, Fiddler on the Roof, and Hamilton, the latter of which saw Fallon and Rannells creatively use "My Shot" to encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

The Book of Mormon — in which Rannells originated the co-lead role of Elder Price in 2011, alongside Josh Gad's Elder Cunningham — got two nods, including a re-work of the intro song "Hello" about Zoom calls and a show-stopping final spin on Rannells' big solo, "I Believe."

"I believe that next year will be better for all of us / I believe that come next spring, we'll get to hug our parents / And I believe that we should listen to science and not believe drinking bleach is an actual medical cure," he sang.

"2021, will be our year, I believe!" Rannells concluded emphatically.

Andrew Rannells
| Credit: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/ youtube

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In October, the Broadway League — the national trade association that represents the theater industry — announced that all performances would remain shuttered through May 31, 2021, due to the global health crisis.

"With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so," Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement. "We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again."

Broadway has been dark since March 12, when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Broadway League initially closed the theaters to help stop the spread of the virus.

Previously, the League had set the week of April 13 as the date when performances would resume but has since moved back the target date numerous times further and further into 2021.

The Prom is out Friday on Netflix.