You know what we're talking about -- real, honest-to-goodness, chiseled, full-throated leading men like Richard Kiley, John Rait, Jack Cassidy, Tom Wopat and Brian Stokes Mitchell -- guys who could only be described as "dashing."
Instead, Broadway marquees have been all aglitter with the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Daniel Radcliffe, Alan Cumming and Matthew Broderick. To be sure, we're hardly bashing these non-dashing choices. We've enjoyed these leaner and/or more diminutive stars as much as anyone. They can be boyishly charming, funny, endearing or even just this side of sadistic, as in the case of Cumming. But none of them matches Hugh Jackman in terms of sheer presence.
There's just something about a big Broadway stage that cries out for a towering figure.
And now that demand is finally being met in the form of three new Broadway leading men who are heating up the Great White Way: Ramin Karimloo in the new production of Les Miserables, Andy Karl in Rocky, The Musical and Steven Pasquale in The Bridges of Madison County.
All three of these guys are bringing heft back to the musical stage. They give new life to the term "matinee idol" and that means they're pleasing all those ladies who flood Broadway on Wednesdays, Saturdays and sometimes on Sundays and even Thursdays, too. Hopefully, they're also helping to attract a dwindling male audience back to Broadway since all three of their characters exhibit manly virtues that are worthy of emulation.
Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean in the restaged Les Miserables is garnering some of the best reviews imaginable.
When they later sing of their love under a Christmas tree in the duet Happiness, it's a heart-melter.
Rocky, The Musical truly belongs to Andy Karl.