Just because Cole Sprouse was one half of a Disney Channel Original duo does not mean that he has (or wants) the singing and dancing skills of his former cohorts. Why isn't Jughead singing in the Riverdale musical? His Carrie role won't be of the melodic variety.
Cheryl Blossom approached director Kevin Keller and demanded the lead role in his/the drama department's production of Carrie: The Musical. Not much else is known about why the other students decided to audition, but Riverdale fans have known this was coming for a few months. According to the cast list that was announced on Twitter back in late January, Jughead Jones is playing The Beak — a nickname for Freddy Holt was that added to the 1976 movie. Freddy is a fellow outsider, like Carrie, but ultimately dies in the massacre because he was filming and documenting the prom. Typecasting, much? That already sounds a lot like our Jug. Let's hope he watches his back.
One reason Jughead doesn't sing in the musical is pretty simple, actually. In Lawrence D. Cohen, Dean Pitchford, and Michael Gore's musical adaptation of Stephen King's novel, The Beak doesn't have any songs! According to Stage Agent, The Beak/Freddy does not have any musical solos. His character only sings as part of the ensemble. Carrie, Sue, Chris, Billy, Tommy, Margaret, and Miss Gardner — played respectively by Cheryl, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Archie, Alice, and Josie on the other hand all have major moments or songs of their own.
As for Sprouse, in an interview with Bustle, Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said that Jughead's role will be as Carrie's documentarian behind the scenes as well. "I had asked Cole a while ago," he said, "I was like, 'Cole, if we do a musical, would you be willing to sing? And he was like, 'You know man, I didn't sing for Disney when I was doing Suite Life but for you, I'll sing.'"
But, he didn't for Riverdale either. Instead, the episode will include some of his "found" footage as documentarian, not unlike the narrative devices used in Stephen King's original novel.
Apparently Sprouse is also just, like, not that into it — unlike his costars. There's a reason that he's never been part of the constant duet drama that is Riverdale. In an interview with IndieWire Aquire-Sacasa also detailed the reasoning behind what Jughead will be doing in the episode to IndieWire:
"When we really thought about the character of Jughead, he felt like the one character who probably wouldn’t exactly be in the school musical. However, when you see the episode, he’s very much an integral part of it and he’s doing something that we think is quintessentially Jughead during the musical. Except he doesn’t sing.”
The musical, which famously flopped on Broadway in 1988 and later became a cult classic especially for young performers, is perfect for Riverdale and its many teen players. Aguirre-Sacasa not only wrote the 2013 film adaptation of Carrie, he is well versed in musical theatre. The writer had a show on Broadway quite recently that suffered a similar fate to Carrie — an adaptation of American Psycho with music by Spring Awakening's Duncan Sheik which closed after 54 performances in 2016. He loves blood with his jazz hands, apparently. Aquirre-Sacasa also worked on the doomed Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark musical on Broadway.
Would it shock you to learn that the original plan was for the students to do Little Shop Of Horrors? According to IndieWire, that was Aguirre-Sacasa's first wish for the school musical. However, the way that King's story, like Riverdale and Archie comics, plays with different teenage archetypes such as the jock, the bad boy, the vixen, and the girl next door made it thematically perfect — even if we don't get to hear Sprouse's pipes.