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Stars Who Got Their Start on Broadway

Woman's Day Logo By Jennifer Vishnevsky of Woman's Day | Slide 1 of 24: It’s common for successful movie and film actors to make the jump to Broadway. In fact, award-winning stars usually net a huge profit for Broadway productions. The revival of Chicago, running since 1996, has seen names like Erika Girardi, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, Christie Brinkley and Melanie Griffith in the role of Roxie Hart. In fact, right before the Broadway shutdown, many celebrity-led products were slated for the roster, including Debra Messing in Birthday Candles and Laurence Fishburne in American Buffalo. But you may be surprised to know that many of today’s biggest stars actually got their start in one of the many theaters on Broadway. Meryl Streep went from the Yale School of Drama to New York, where she was cast in Trelawny of the Wells. Of course, it’s a tremendous challenge to perform live, sometimes twice a day, with only a day or two off each week. Many actors credit the work ethic and rigor of Broadway shows as a stepping stone to film and television.While there are the bonafide singing powerhouses who made their mark in musical theater, like Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, many Broadway stars found success in serious plays. Scarlett Johansson, for example, won the Tony for best actress in a play for 2010’s A View From the Bridge. There’s something about the lights, skyscrapers and energy of Times Square that exudes excitement for theater buffs. Take a trip down memory lane and check out these movie and television stars who started their careers in Broadway plays and musicals.

It’s common for successful movie and film actors to make the jump to Broadway. In fact, award-winning stars usually net a huge profit for Broadway productions. The revival of Chicago, running since 1996, has seen names like Erika Girardi, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, Christie Brinkley and Melanie Griffith in the role of Roxie Hart. In fact, right before the Broadway shutdown, many celebrity-led products were slated for the roster, including Debra Messing in Birthday Candles and Laurence Fishburne in American Buffalo.

But you may be surprised to know that many of today’s biggest stars actually got their start in one of the many theaters on Broadway. Meryl Streep went from the Yale School of Drama to New York, where she was cast in Trelawny of the Wells. Of course, it’s a tremendous challenge to perform live, sometimes twice a day, with only a day or two off each week. Many actors credit the work ethic and rigor of Broadway shows as a stepping stone to film and television.

While there are the bonafide singing powerhouses who made their mark in musical theater, like Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, many Broadway stars found success in serious plays. Scarlett Johansson, for example, won the Tony for best actress in a play for 2010’s A View From the Bridge. There’s something about the lights, skyscrapers and energy of Times Square that exudes excitement for theater buffs. Take a trip down memory lane and check out these movie and television stars who started their careers in Broadway plays and musicals.

© Bruce Glikas - Getty Images

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