Big Stars You Have Seen Treading The Boards, But Before They Became Famous?

Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
joined:3/26/08
And did they stand out?




2014 Theatre: Billy Elliot***** Meet Me In St Louis*** American Psycho**** Tell Me On A Sunday**** Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense* Stephen Ward**** Charlie and the Chocolate factory*** Dirty Dancing** Stephen Sondheim's Puttin It Together*** Candide*** The Lion King***** The Book of Mormon****** Les Miserable***** Stephen Ward**** The Weir**** Fortune's Fool*** Spamalot*** Superior Doughnuts**** Seven Brides For Seven Brothers**** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Finans Rainbow**** The Commitments** Boeing Boeing*** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) The A-Z of Mrs P** Billy Elliot***** Wicked** Good People***** Urinetown***** Spamalot*** The Full Monty**** Other Desert Cities*** Ghosts*** Dirty Rotten Scoundrels***** It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman*** Stephen Ward**** King Lear**** A Taste Of Honey** Blithe Spirit**** From Here To Eternity**** Spamalot*** Fiddler On The Roof** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Relative Values**** Fatal Attraction*** Matilda***** 39 Steps**** Another Country** Handbagged** Two Into One*** The Beautiful Game***** Let The Right One In**** Once**** Privacy***** Home** Best of Friends** Avenue Q*** Good People***** Betty Blue Eyes*** (Tour: Salisbury Playhouse) I Can't Sing* A View From The Bridge***** Water Babies **** (Tour: Leicester Curve) Miss Saigon***** In The Heights*** The Testament of Mary*** This May Hurt A Bit*** The Last 5 Years* (Greenwich Theatre) All My Sons*** Happy Days** Dirty Rotten Scoundrels**** Bakersfield Mist**** Ushers** The Pajama Game*** Evita*** (Tour: Orchard Theatre, Dartford)Fings Ain't What They Used To Be**** Billy Elliot***** Titus Andronicus**** 1984*** Clarence Darrow**** Miss Saigon***** A Small Family Business*** Things We Do For Love**** Hobson's Choice*** Rock of Ages*** (Tour: Churchill Theatre, Bromley) Zanna, Don't!*** The Silver Tassie** Bring Up The Bodies** Forbidden Broadway**** Carousel**** Hotel*** The Crucible**** Medea*** The Importance of Being Earnest*** The Pajama Game*** Skylight**** Pacific Overtures** The Invincibles*** Julius Ceasar***
Updated On: 1/12/13 at 05:09 PM
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Not QUITE a Broadway story, but my best friend and writing partner, when he was turning eleven, had his dad pull some strings and get us backstage VIP passes to the NSYNC tour passing through our town- the final concert performance to ever be held in the Three Rivers Stadium before it came down. We got to meet the five guys adn then got great seats for the show.

On the tour with them were new artists Sisquo (pre-Thong Song), Pink (pre-EVERYTHING, when she was still a Britney knockoff), and a few others. Additionally, Justin Timberlake was not the de facto leader of NSYNC yet, just another of the five guys.

Leaving the concert: "So, you think any of those guys we saw tonight are gonna make it big?" "Not that Pink girl, probably Sisquo." "Yeah, and I think Chris Kirkpatrick is going to be the big star out of NSYNC."

Twelve years later, Sisquo is nowhere, Pink and Justin Timberlake are fairly respected megastars (Pink may even be bigger in music now than Timberlake, since he has more or less gone on hiatus as a recording artist to focus on acting), and Chris Kirkpatrick is best remembered for playing Chip Skylark on The Fairly Oddparents.
jo
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
In 1999, I was on a business trip to London and took the opportunity to see a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical for the first time in a live performance. I loved all the R&H movie musicals that I had seen before that. As I was not able to plan for it, I was only able to get a Dress Circle ( front mezz) seat but my poor vision did not allow me to see the performers's faces too well. But there was this actor whose commanding stage presence was very apparent even from the distance...and the voice sounded very much legit ( musical theatre) -- powerful and engaging!

I did not have a souvenir program ( no Playbills in London) and did not know his name!

Thirteen years later - I was telling him at the stagedoor of the Broadhurst where he held his one-man show that I had seen him onstage since OKLAHOMA!

LOL!

Now he is also up for an Oscar in LES MISERABLES!


alterego
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/03
I too saw Hugh Jackman, in Melbourne in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and SUNSET BOULEVARD. I also saw Russell Crowe in THE BLUES BROTHERS SHOW. A young Nicole Kidman in STEEL MAGNOLIAS. Though she was famous here but not overseas I also saw (now) two time Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver in multiple shows including BORN YESTERDAY and THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG. Yes, they all stood out.



Updated On: 1/12/13 at 10:20 PM
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Martin Sheen stood out in a funny farce entitled Never Live Over a Pretzel Factory. Also Alan Alda in the comedy Fair Game for Lovers.
DottieD'Luscia
Broadway Legend
joined:7/23/03
Sarah Jessica Parker in Annie (1/1980); So glad I have a picture of the two of us from that day.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson in On the Town (Central Park); and

Macauley Culkin in The Nutcracker with New York City Ballet (he was Fritz, Marie's brother - 12/1988; I still have the program). His name always stuck with me since I had worked with his brother Shane earlier that year with Light Opera of Manhattan. When the first Home Alone movie came out, my first reaction was, "that can't be the kid I saw in The Nutcracker." And after finding my program, sure enough it was!

Hey Dottie! Did your colleagues enjoy the cake even though your cat decided to sit on it? ~GuyfromGermany
Updated On: 1/13/13 at 10:31 PM
bwaylvsong
Broadway Legend
joined:7/28/05
I saw Cheyenne Jackson go on as (understudy) Trevor in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and thought he was great!

edit: also saw Andrew Rannells as Link in "Hairspray," but not sure of he qualifies as "famous" yet
and (rapper) Azealia Banks in her HS production of "City of Angels" (yes, she can sing)
oh, and Lea Michele in "Fiddler"
Updated On: 1/13/13 at 10:47 PM
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
It wasn't pre-Broadway but her Broadway debut; however, Meryl Streep was absolutely captivating from her first line in HAPPY END. As I've said elsewhere, I didn't understand the Brecht/Weill show, but I couldn't take my eyes (or ears) off Streep.

I've also said I did a production of MERRY WIVES in a Greenwich Village tavern with Nathan ("Joey") Lane and Dann Florek, before either was well known. They were both so hysterical it was difficult to call the show because I was laughing so hard. It was also a challenge to the other actors because the guys never did the same thing twice.

George Hearn didn't have much to do opposite Lauren Bacall in a tour of WONDERFUL TOWN in the mid-1970s, but God knows he sang his part beautifully, as did his co-star, Maureen Moore.

And though she's not a "big" star except to people who were a certain age in the 1990s, I've also mentioned that I went to high school with Paige O'Hara; so I've known her since she was 14. She was alway a strong actress, but she built her voice, on her own, over the years, from an Ethel Merman-like belt to an operetta soubrette. I don't pretend to understand how she did it, but it's been a pleasure to hear. (And she's back to a Garland-like belt now, which has all the early power, but is also a lovely sound.)

ETA: one more. Christine Lahti was in her first year of grad school when I was a freshman at Florida State. I thought she was so brilliant, I sort of stalked her for a year--not in a personal sense, but in the sense of sneaking into empty theaters to watch her rehearse. I saw her in everything from Shakespeare to HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES and thought she was the finest actress I'd ever seen. (She transferred after that year and so did I, so apparently neither of us enjoyed our time in Tallahassee. But it didn't show in her work.)


Updated On: 1/12/13 at 10:52 PM
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
Kelsey Grammar in PLENTY at The Public in 1982;
Nathan Lane stealing scenes from George C. Scott in PRESENT LAUGHTER at the Circle in the Square in 1982;
Cynthia Nixon as Debbie in THE REAL THING in 1984;
Gillian Anderson in ABSENT FRIENDS at MTC in 1991;
Bebe Neuwirth as Sheila in A CHORUS LINE in 1980



rosscoe(au)
Broadway Legend
joined:8/20/05
Jackman in Beauty and Sunset
Weaver in many things at Melbourne Theatre Company
Rush at STC as well as other Melbourne Sydney Theatres
Kidman in Steel
O'Connor is mutilpe shows
Mel Gibson in a MTC show
Well I didn't want to get into it, but he's a Satanist. Every full moon he sacrifices 4 puppies to the Dark Lord and smears their blood on his paino. This should help you understand the score for Wicked a little bit more. Tazber's: Reply to Is Stephen Schwartz a Practicing Christian
SondheimFan5
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/10
Sutton as the Star to Be in Annie, Steve Kazee as Robin in Spamalot, Lea Michele in Ragtime.
peerrjb
Featured Actor
joined:7/7/09
Woah...such memories on so many different levels!!

Audra MacDonald in "West Side Story" in FRESNO, CA in the late 1980's.
Debbie Shapiro Gravitte in an LA show I wrote in which she starred, 1973 Mahhhvelous
Diana Canova...same show. Beautiful then, beautiful now, and so funny
Marisa Tomei in "BEIRUT" (before "My Cousin Vinny"....) MAGICAL.
Mark Hammill onstage in LA a million years ago. Very charming
Did "Fantasticks" with the late great Barney Martin in 72... Amazing to work with and see onstage every night.
Did "Skin of Our Teeth" with Bruce Davison... very interesting actor back in the 70's
Kirsten Chenoweth in "Steel Pier" !!!
Stockard Channing in the first National Tour of the musical "2 GENTLEMEN OF VERONA" !!!! Hard to NOT forget her ... so funny, young and wonderful!!
Judy Kaye in the original LA company of "You're...Charlie Brown" HYSTERICAL.
Hal Linden in a reaaalllly stunted show at the Ahmanson in LA called "LOVE MATCH" (by Maltby and Shire, I think...about Q.Victoria & P.Albert) HE WAS GRANNNND!!!!

Of course, folks like Donna MacKechnie in the original COMPANY; Linda Hopkins in INNER CITY; Ben Vereen in HAIR; (I guess you could say William Daniels in 1776...he hit his "big time" on TV later, of course...)
mamaleh
Broadway Star
joined:5/11/04
As a teen, I was blown away by an unknown, intense actor in DOES A TIGER WEAR A NECKTIE. That was Al Pacino.

On a school theater trip, I noticed a very tall, lithe presence who moved remarkably well in BAKER STREET. That turned out to be Tommy Tune.

About seven years ago I was curious to see Julia Roberts on stage, so I went to THREE DAYS OF RAIN. She was not very impressive, but I thought Bradley Cooper was quite good. At the stage door, everyone rushed to get Julia's autograph. I bypassed her and got Cooper's and chatted a little. I thought him a very engaging fellow.

Updated On: 1/13/13 at 08:41 AM
quizking101
Broadway Legend
joined:12/25/09
I remember back in 2009 when my Mom surprused me with tickets for ROCK OF AGES (Back in the days when it was fun and vibrant). I was looking forward to seeing Constantine as a was a fan of his on AMERICAN IDOL. He was out for that performance and I was upset, but once the understudy sang his first note, I was in love with his youthful vigor and stage presence and I was thrilled to meet him at the stage door after.

...the understudy was Jeremy Jordan.

quizking101
Broadway Legend
joined:12/25/09
I remember back in 2009 when my Mom surprused me with tickets for ROCK OF AGES (Back in the days when it was fun and vibrant). I was looking forward to seeing Constantine as a was a fan of his on AMERICAN IDOL. He was out for that performance and I was upset, but once the understudy sang his first note, I was in love with his youthful vigor and stage presence and I was thrilled to meet him at the stage door after.

...the understudy was Jeremy Jordan.

kadu335
Stand-by
joined:5/3/09
I saw Jeremy Jordan back in 2010 when he understudied as Tony in West Side Story, but I'm not sure if he is considered a "big star".

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
quizking101
Broadway Legend
joined:12/25/09
Someone else mentioned Steve Kazee...he certainly isn't of "star caliber" either. But the term is purely subjective.
yankeefan7
Broadway Legend
joined:4/14/12
My wife saw Christopher Reeve in "Matter of Gravity" with Katherine Hepburn in the 70's before he became famous for his role in "Superman" movies. My wife said she immediately noticed the "cute" guy on stage - lol.
artscallion
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/07
As a child, my class went to see Katherine Helmond in Three Penny Opera when she was at Trinity Rep. Later, when I worked there, I saw several company members who later went on to fame, including Tim Daly in Bus Stop, Harriet Harris in a new play (God's Heart) that Craig Lucas was developing there...
and Viola Davis in a few things.
and Eric Bogosian in a few things.

I also remember seeing Denis O'Hare in the Public's production of Take Me Out and then a year later in the Roundabout's Assassins.
Art has a double face, of expression and illusion.
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
In the 1980s I saw an unknown actress named Annette Bening in COASTAL DISTURBANCES. What ever happened to her?
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
Some other memorable performances by actors who went on the do bigger things:

Laurie Metcalf in BALM IN GILEAD at the Circle Rep.
Holly Hunter in three consecutive Beth Henley plays -- CRIMES OF THE HEART, THE WAKE OF JAMEY FOSTER, and THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST.
Kevin Spacey in GHOSTS.
Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson in A SOLDIER'S PLAY.
Kathy Bates in 'NIGHT MOTHER.
S. Epatha Merkerson in THE PIANO LESSON.
Mary Louise Parker in PRELUDE TO A KISS.
Danny Glover in MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS (1982).
D2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/3/06
The original cast of OVER HERE featured a veritable treasure trove of future stars:
John Travolta
Treat Williams
Marilu Henner
Ann Reinking

And they all stood out in wonderful, energetic and mesmerizing performances (particularly Reinking's jitterbug number) that pointed to their future stardom.
Cheyenne Jackson tickled me. AFTER ordering SoMMS a drink but NOT tickling him, and hanging out with Girly in his dressing room (where he DIDN'T tickle her) but BEFORE we got married. To others. And then he tweeted Boobs. He also tweeted he's good friends with some chick on "The Voice" who just happens to be good friends with Tink's ex. And I'm still married. Oh, and this just in: "Pettiness, spite, malice ....Such ugly emotions... So sad." - After Eight, talking about MEEEEEEEE!!! I'm so honored! :-)
Jane2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/13/04
In the mid nineties, I was appearing in a two character one act play which was part of a trilogy. My play was the second of the night, and in the third, was an actor named James Gandolfini. He was a tall thin dark and handsome young man.
<-----craves juicy pizza
Rainbowhigh23
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/12
John Leguizamo in Spic o Rama. I know he was on HBO with Mambo Mouth before that but it was the first time I had ever seen or heard of him. Thank goodness his shows were recorded-they were hilarious.
jasonf
Broadway Legend
joined:12/26/03
Second show I saw on Broadway was Starlight Express (around 198 which starred a very young Jane Krakowski. I remember seeing her a couple of years later in Grand Hotel (she still wasn't famous), seeing her name in the playbill and tracing her back to SE. I remember thinking then she'll make it big some day.
Hi, Shirley Temple Pudding.
DEClarke
Broadway Legend
joined:11/22/06
In 1998 I saw Jim Parsons in BELOW THE BELT at Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston, TX!

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