Christian Borle To Play Jim Bakker In Broadway’s ‘Tammy Faye’ Musical, Replacing Previously Announced Andrew Rannells

Christian Borle, the two-time Tony winner for Something Rotten and Peter and the Starcatcher, will replace the previously announced Andrew Rannells in this fall’s Broadway production of Tammy Faye, the Elton John-composed musical about televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.

“Christian is one of Broadway’s most exciting leading men and I am beyond thrilled that he will be joining the company of Tammy Faye,” John said in a statement. “I know Christian will perfectly capture both the humor and the darkness written into the role and I, along with the rest of the creative team, cannot wait to see him and Katie bring this unforgettable couple to life this fall.”

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Borle will play Jim Bakker opposite the previously announced Katie Brayben, who will reprise her Olivier Award-winning West End performance as Tammy Faye Bakker. The musical begins Broadway previews on October 19 at the newly refurbished Palace Theater, with an opening night on November 14.

Tammy Faye had its world premiere at London’s Almeida Theatre in Fall 2022 and was nominated for four Olivier Awards including Best Musical.

Rannells had been expected to reprise his Olivier-nominated performance as Jim Bakker after producers announced his casting this past March, but in a surprising Tony Award red carpet interview with CBS earlier this month Rannells announced he was no longer involved with the project and suggested that the producers’ casting announcement had been premature.

“I’m actually not doing Tammy Faye anymore,” Rannells said when asked on the carpet for updates. “I’m very sad to say. I was very excited. I’m a huge fan of the show and unfortunately, we got into a situation where we couldn’t quite find terms that made everyone happy, which is really disappointing. Which is why normally they don’t announce an actor before the contract.”

Additional casting for the Broadway production will be announced in the coming months.

Borle, one of Broadway’s busiest and most popular actors, received a Tony nomination for his performance as Joe/Josephine in 2022’s Some Like It Hot. The show, for which he write additional material, won a Grammy Award for its cast album.

Borle’s additional Broadway credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, Footloose, Amour, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spamalot, Legally Blonde, Mary Poppins, Falsettos and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He most recently starred as Albert Peterson in the Kennedy Center’s production of Bye Bye Birdie earlier this month, and played dentist Orin Scrivello in the Off Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors.

On TV, Borle has appeared in Smash, The Good Wife and The Good Fight, Gilmore Girls, and NBC’s Peter Pan Live and The Sound of Music Live. He also appeared in Michael Mann’s feature Blackhat opposite Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis, and The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston.

The Tammy Faye synopsis: “It’s the 1970s. As satellites broadcast brand-new cable programming into American homes, millions fall in love with Tammy Faye Bakker – the charismatic wife of pastor Jim Bakker. Together, they build a nationwide congregation that puts the fun back into faith. But, even as Tammy dazzles on screen, jealous rivals plot behind the scenes, threatened by her determination to lead with love.”

Tammy Faye features music by Elton John, lyrics by Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, a book by James Graham, music supervision, arrangements and additional music by Tom Deering, choreography by Lynne Page and direction by Rupert Goold. Producing are Rocket Stage, Greene Light Stage, and James L. Nederlander.

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