The AfterEllen Huddle: Triple Threats


Some women have all the luck and are not only talented actors, singers or dancers but are actually all three. This is called “a triple threat,” and everyone loves a good triple threat (except, maybe, their competition.) I called upon our writers to ask who they enjoy watching and listening to, and these women all deserve EGOTs, though only two of them have achieved that goal thus far. Can you guess who they are?

Courtney Gillette: For what I think is like the 24th time, my answer to today’s huddle topic is Beyoncé. The singing no one could argue about, her dance moves are the awesome sort of choreography that I’ll be trying to learn in front of my bedroom mirror until I’m old and gray, and she’s had a handful of decent acting roles. Out of all her screen time, though, I think my favorite has got to be her small and weird performance in the “Telephone” music video: “You’ve been a bad, bad girl, Gaga.” Tell her, Honey B!

The Linster: Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Victor/Victoria — the top of this list belongs to Julie Andrews. As does my heart.

Grace Chu: Her reign as variety show and film star spans decades. She has sung duets with Elton John and Dolly Parton, she proved her talent for tap dancing in The Great Muppet Caper, and she is a bona fide diva of an actress who went from taking bit parts after winning a beauty contest to becoming the most well known female lead in the Muppet universe. No one can compare to the talented Miss Piggy.

Ali Davis: Angela Lansbury is the bomb.

You only need to put in a double feature of Bedknobs and Broomsticks and her bone-chilling turn in The Manchurian Candidate to see that the woman had chops. Not to mention a ridiculously broad range. And she stayed sharp. When she revived Mame on Broadway at 58, she could still kick higher than the chorus girls.

Plus I got to see Bea Arthur’s one-woman show once. She said that she and AL were besties, and that Lansbury swears like a sailor. Good luck knocking her out of my heart after that.

Erika Star: My apologies for the following Gleegasm. I’d say the entire Glee cast, but there are those pesky few who can’t actually act or dance. Then, of course, there’s Heather Morris. Le sigh. Someone who started as a choreographer, can “Single Ladies” better than anyone and turned one-liners into an acting career is a favorite of mine. Plus, she did Britney better than Britney ever did. Does the fact that she’s hilarious make her a quad threat?

Bridget McManus: Rita Moreno. In West Side Story, she sings, “A boy like that/ Who’d kill your brother/ Forget that boy/ And find another /One of your own kind /Stick to your own kind.” In my mind, her “own kind” would be a cute little brunette female.

Trish Bendix: Jennifer Beals doesn’t get enough props for her singing. Everyone knows she can dance and act, but she also has some pipes. Have you seen her films Blood and Concrete or the oft-played-on-Lifetime, They Shoot Divas, Don’t They? (The latter is my personal favorite.) Despite the horribleness of the movies, Jennifer shows she can sing just as well as she busts a move or delivers a monologue. I’d love to see her in a musical adaptation on the big or small screens.

Karman Kregloe: Liza Minnelli. I’ll admit, I was late to the party on this one. I’m not a big fan of musicals, unless they are (inexplicably) Jesus Christ Superstar or anything by Bob Fosse. When I finally got around to watching Cabaret, Minnelli had completely Dripped her way into my heart. And how about her hilarious turn as the vertigo-stricken Lucille 2 in Arrested Development? What ultimately cinched my admiration for Minnelli was her live performance at the Hollywood Bowl a couple of years ago. I had the worst seats in the house, way back in the tree line, and she blew me away with her unique, wistful and funny interpretation of a bunch of old show tunes I should have known but didn’t. I may go to Gay Hell for saying this, but I think she’s even more talented than her mother.

Dara Nai: Most people know Megan Mullally as the wealthy, pill-popping, bisexual insult queen Karen Walker from Will & Grace. Or maybe you know her as Pawnee librarian and Ron Swanson’s twisted she-devil ex-wife, Tammy 2, on Parks and Recreation. But few know that Mullally is also a seasoned singer and dancer who co-starred in Grease with Rosie O’Donnell and in How To Succeed In Business with Matthew Broderick, among others.

As far as I’m concerned, Megan Mullally is da bomb. I think Tammy 2 said it best: “There are women who are cool, who enjoy life, and manipulate men for sport. You can be a Cleopatra or an Eleanor Roosevelt. I’d rather be Cleopatra.”

Who is your favorite triple threat?

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