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7 Degrees of ‘Scream Queens’

July 20th, 2016 by Richard Ogawa

If you followed the first season of the Ryan Murphy/Brad Falchuk/Ian Brennan comedy-horror anthology, you know it was an absolute scream. But behind all of the over-the-top campus campiness was a strong message of feminism, delivered by an empowering female ensemble. Dig a little deeper into the back-story of said ensemble and you can start to see how these actors are more similar than not, and just how fiercely delicious the casting truly is.

Let’s go to the board!


 1. The “Hollywood Parents” connection:

Amongst these women, there’s a small group that feels like stardom was simply their birthright. The original scream queen and “Halloween” star Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Hollywood legends Tony Curtis (“Some Like It Hot”) and Janet Leigh (“Psycho”). Billie Lourd is the daughter of Princess Lea herself, Carrie Fisher, and Emma Roberts is the daughter of actor Eric Roberts (which also makes her Julia Roberts’ niece).

In Episode 8, “Mommie Dearest,” Jamie Lee lovingly paid homage to her late mother by reenacting the infamous Hitchcock shower scene, while Billie sported earmuffs throughout the series as a nod to her mother’s iconic space-do. It’s worth mentioning that Billie’s grandparents are pretty legendary, too. Heard of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds? Yup. #GeneGameStrong.

2. The “Nick” connection:

No, we’re not talking about their cohort of the Jonas kind. Three of the young ladies starred in their own Nickelodeon shows geared towards their then-younger peer groups: Emma Roberts (“Unfabulous”), Keke Palmer (“True Jackson, VP”), and Ariana Grande (“Sam & Cat”). To say they’re seasoned professionals is an understatement. #StarPowerStrong.

3. The “Ryan Murphy” connection:

Skyler Samuels and Emma Roberts both left their mark in past seasons of the other Ryan Murphy/Brad Falchuk horror anthology, “American Horror Story.” Lea Michele starred in the Ryan Murphy/Brad Falchuk/Ian Brennan musical dramedy, “Glee.” There’s something to be said for keeping it in the family. #InnerCircleStrong.

4. The “Broadway” connection:

There’s probably no better training for an actor than live theatre – and there’s no arguing that the pinnacle of theatre excellence lies on the “Great White Way.” Lea Michele made her Broadway debut at the age of 8, breaking hearts as the castle-dreaming Young Cosette in “Les Misérables.” She became a Broadway name some 10 years later when she starred opposite future “Glee” co-star Jonathan Graff in “Spring Awakening.”

Ariana Grande also got her big break on Broadway as a preteen in the musical “13,” while Keke Palmer starred as the titular heroine in the most recent revival of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” Abigail Breslin also flexed her thespian muscles playing a young Helen Keller in a gripping production of “The Miracle Worker.” Oh, it’s legit. #TheatreStrong

5. The “Comedy Queen” connection:

Niecy Nash and Nasim Pedrad in particular come from strong comedy backgrounds. Niecy starred as Deputy Raineesha Williams in the mockumentary-style cult favorite “Reno 911!” while “SNL” alum Nasim devoted her Saturday evenings for five seasons to characters like Shallon, Kim Kardashian, and Arianna Huffington. No joke. #FunnyLadyStrong

 6. The “Awards” connection:

Amongst the ladies are 7-time nominee and 2-time Golden Globe winner, Jamie Lee Curtis; 2-time Golden Globe nominee, Lea Michele; Emmy nominees Jamie Lee Curtis, Lea Michele, and Niecy Nash; Grammy nominee, Ariana Grande; and Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin. That’s some major industry noddage between them. #AccoladeStrong.

7. The “Recording Artists” connection:

Ariana Grande, Lea Michele, and Keke Palmer might be the obvious chanteuses in the cast, but Emma Roberts and Abigail Breslin also have singing careers under their belts. (Emma’s Weezer cover screams absolute guilty pleasure.) #SangItStrong

As the hotly anticipated second season of “Scream Queens” inches its way closer this fall, with many characters returning under the new backdrop of a mental hospital, it’s probably not totally unreasonable to hope for sprinklings of “American Horror Story”-esque musical sequences.

One can only dream, queens.