These movie stars have expanded their creative horizons, taking on the biggest stages in New York City.
Filming movies and performing on stage are two very different experiences. When taking on Broadway, there’s no edits, no second takes, and instant feedback from the live audience.
It can be a nerve-racking endeavor even for the most successful film actors. Nevertheless, here are some celebrities that have braved the Broadway stage.
While she is most known for her well-loved roles in The Devil Wears Prada, Sophie’s Choice, Mamma Mia, and more, Meryl Streep has also performed on Broadway.
The three-time Academy Award winner made her Broadway debut in 1975 with Trelawny of the Wells. From Shakespearan classics to musical comedies, she’s had her fair share of experience. Streep also earned a Tony Award nomination for a double-bill production of 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and A Memory of Two Mondays.
Before starring in huge films, the man behind the iconic voice first found his love for acting on the stage. He even earned a drama scholarship from Jackson State University, which he turned down to join the Air Force.
After his service, Freeman went on to join the all-Black cast of Hello, Dolly! on Broadway. The actor last appeared on stage in 2011 with the play 8, which is based on a federal trial that led to the overturn of Proposition 8.
After starring in the teen comedy Easy A but before her Oscar-winning performance in La La Land, Emma Stone had her Broadway debut in 2014’s Cabaret.
That was actually where the casting directors of La La Land took notice of her, on a night where she had a cold of all things. “That felt like my unofficial audition that I didn’t get to pick. ‘You came to that performance? I was on cold medicine,’” Stone joked.
Since his decade-long run as The Boy Who Lived in the Harry Potter franchise, Daniel Radcliffe has taken part in a variety of projects, proving that he’s more than just a wizard. In 2011, he made his Broadway debut in Equus and gave a critically acclaimed performance.
His other Broadway credits include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Cripple of Inishmaan, and The Lifespan of a Fact. This year, he stars in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along with Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez.
Before becoming Marvel’s onscreen Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson took on a Broadway role in 2010’s A View From the Bridge. A review from The New York Times said that she “melts into her character so thoroughly that her nimbus of celebrity disappears.”
That year, Johansson won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play. While it was a polarizing win for the theater community, the actress stood by the recognition, saying “I have worked my ass off to get to where I am, so I understand that struggle.”
Tom Hanks was already a two-time Oscar winner when he made his Broadway debut. Even with decades of experience in the film industry, he was still worried about his performance in Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy.
“I’m not afraid of the end result because I think we’ll have a very good production,” he told The New York Times in 2013. “But I am afraid of blowing it myself. I’m afraid of having something being my responsibility, yet not having the wherewithal or lack of self-consciousness or stamina to pull it off.” Of course, rather than blow it, Hanks received a Tony nomination instead.
Banner image via X @Cabaret_Musical.