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Broadway actors moving to California

Theatrefanboy1
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Broadway actors moving to California #1
Posted: 11/27/19 at 11:47pm
Ive noticed recently it seems that a lot of New York theatre actors have picked up and moved out to California. Was just wondering if there is some change down in New York thats led to this or if this has been happening for years and Im just non observant. Or has there been a real bridge for theatre actors now to move to film television. Just noticing Cheyenne Jackson, Kyle Dean Massey, Taylor Frey, Ben Platt to name a few that appear to have taken up residency on the west coast.
trpguyy
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joined:2/25/05
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Broadway actors moving to California #2
Posted: 11/28/19 at 8:12am
Film and TV work is generally easier and much more lucrative than theatre. Add in the SoCal weather, and the equation isn’t too tough to figure out.
Owen22
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Broadway actors moving to California #3
Posted: 11/28/19 at 10:01am
Hasn't Broadway always just been a stepping stone to film and TV anyway?
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David10086
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Broadway actors moving to California #4
Posted: 11/28/19 at 10:51am

Owen22 said: "Hasn't Broadway always just been a stepping stone to film and TV anyway?"

It certainly was for Streisand after “ Funny Girl” ran on Broadway over 50 years ago - and she never looked back. 

Theatrefanboy1
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Broadway actors moving to California #5
Posted: 11/28/19 at 11:10am

Owen22 said: "Hasn't Broadway always just been a stepping stone to film and TV anyway?"

I was thinking that as well. But maybe it was just me thinking that there’s been quite and increase on the transfers over.  

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LizzieCurry
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Broadway actors moving to California #6
Posted: 11/28/19 at 11:52am
Ben Platt is from LA.
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
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The Distinctive Baritone
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Broadway actors moving to California #7
Posted: 11/28/19 at 3:24pm
Many actors are “bi-costal,” but I’ve noticed that after some Broadway actors hit a certain peak, i.e. they’ve played Elphaba or gotten Tony nomination or whatever, they move to L.A. presumably because they really have nowhere to go but sidewise career-wise in N.Y. and they can always fly back as needed for auditions, workshops, and the occasional role. Some actors who have been on Broadway also (wrongly) believe that going back to doing regional theater is “beneath” them and would rather pursue the money and attention that film might bring them.
hamiltonstradition
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Broadway actors moving to California #8
Posted: 11/28/19 at 4:00pm
Jackie Burns has moved to California!
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GavestonPS
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Broadway actors moving to California #9
Posted: 11/28/19 at 6:03pm

trpguyy said: "Film and TV work is generally easier and much more lucrative than theatre. Add in the SoCal weather, and the equation isn’t too tough to figure out."

Are you speaking from personal experience? Because I think each medium has its own challenges. I know Streisand once said in an interview she prefers film because she can be "performing all over the world" while she is soaking in her bath; but based on accounts of her performance in FUNNY GIRL, it seems it was the repetition that got to her, not the difficulty of the role (which is certainly one of the more challenging roles in musical theater). Before FG she had an equally active night club career that must have been just as challenging. (Ask any musician of any genre about the travails of life on the road.)

Some film shoots require six months to a year or more of 12+ hour days, at all times day and night, not to mention physical exertion rarely seen in live theater. A traditional season on a TV sitcom was like doing 22 different one-act plays in a few months. Even the 10-episode seasons common to Netflix and similar platforms may be akin to shooting 10 independent films.

I'm not an actor myself, but some of my best friends, etc. I don't think I've ever heard a one complain that "theater is harder than film and TV", though I'm sure some actors (such as Streisand) will agree with you. I just think it's more a matter that they find theater's (or film's or TV's) particular requirements difficult or tedious, rather than any inherent difficulty of any one medium.

***

To answer another question above, I don't know a single New York actor who hasn't tried Hollywood at some point. The money is too good and, nowadays, with so many competing platforms, the quality of the best shows is as good or better than that of most straight plays.

On the other hand, I do know some California actors who have no interest in NYC. In most cases, they either make their home on the West Coast and want to stay here, or they just don't have the chops to sustain a full-length, live performance.

ETA if this last paragraph seems a contradiction, I'm not saying theater doesn't require special skills. I'm just saying each medium does, so deciding which is "harder" is largely subjective.

Updated On: 11/29/19 at 06:03 PM
trpguyy
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Broadway actors moving to California #10
Posted: 11/28/19 at 11:23pm
My reason for writing what I did is not from personal experience, rather anecdotally from the actors I’ve worked with who work primarily in TV/film, and bemoan the theater performance schedule. The comments you hear on talk shows whenever an A-lister is in a play, for example, about how hard it is to do 8 shows a week are certainly amplified in private.
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LuPita2
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Broadway actors moving to California #11
Posted: 11/29/19 at 12:50pm

Actors go where the work is. They move all over. 

Broadway Flash
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Broadway actors moving to California #12
Posted: 11/30/19 at 5:53am
I thought New York was the place to be for television nowadays ?
singer234
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Broadway actors moving to California #13
Posted: 11/30/19 at 8:52am
Telsey also has an office in LA and regularly holds auditions for their theatre projects there.
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BrodyFosse123
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Broadway actors moving to California #14
Posted: 11/30/19 at 9:38am

Broadway Flash said: "I thought New York was the place to be for television nowadays ?
"

Sitcoms all still film in Los Angeles.  Only a handful of shows film in the New York area where NY based theater actors find many opportunities that are not sitcoms.  Many NY based actors head out to Los Angeles for pilot season every year hoping for a career changing project on sitcoms.  This is why you’ll see countless actors scheduling vacations from their current Broadway gigs all around the same time. 

VintageSnarker
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Broadway actors moving to California #15
Posted: 11/30/19 at 9:47am

I was just thinking about Barrett Foa while fast-forwarding through the parade on CBS. I can't say how artistically fulfilling it is to be on a show like NCIS: LA or Supergirl or Private Practice but given how unstable theater can be, I'm not mad at anyone for getting those checks. 

I'm just happy that, for example, Shoshana Bean has started to do more concerts in New York.

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everythingtaboo
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Broadway actors moving to California #16
Posted: 11/30/19 at 3:10pm

Even a show that's cancelled after a season can mean some money and a foot in the door with casting folks in LA and general public. And if they luck out, like Barrett Foa or Jessie Tyler Ferguson it's over a decade of steady work and money in the bank and to allow hiatus and post-show freedom of choice.

At the very least, do one Hallmark holiday movie and that leads to a million more. Nice work if you can get it.



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yankeefan7
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Broadway actors moving to California #17
Posted: 12/1/19 at 11:42am

"Film and TV work is generally easier and much more lucrative than theatre. Add in the SoCal weather, and the equation isn’t too tough to figure out."

Only bummer is state income tax rate could be as high as 13.3%.

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AADA81
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Broadway actors moving to California #18
Posted: 12/2/19 at 6:20pm

There's always been a move toward movies and TV from Broadway, but many actors tried and failed for one reason or another.  Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Zero Mostel and Bert Lahr all went west early(ish) in their careers but, for one reason or another, never quite clicked with audiences in those other media.  They each returned to Broadway for some of their biggest successes.  It's always been true that many BW actors try to make the shift and never quite achieve it.  Nathan Lane is a more recent example.  He did the original 'Lion King' and 'The Birdcage' but followed them with 2 flop TV series, so he refocussed on theater with an occasional movie/TV role.

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joevitus
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Broadway actors moving to California #19
Posted: 12/2/19 at 6:28pm

GavestonPS said: "trpguyy said: "Film and TV work is generally easier and much more lucrative than theatre. Add in the SoCal weather, and the equation isn’t too tough to figure out."

Are you speaking from personal experience?Because I think each medium has its own challenges. I know Streisand once said in an interview she prefers film because she can be "performing all over the world" while she is soaking in her bath; but based on accounts of her performance in FUNNY GIRL, it seems it was the repetition that got to her, not the difficulty of the role (which is certainly one of the more challenging roles in musical theater). Before FG she had an equally active night club career that must have been just as challenging. (Ask any musician of any genre about the travails of life on the road.)

Some film shoots require six months to a year or more of 12+ hour days, at all times day and night, not to mention physical exertion rarely seen in live theater. A traditional season on a TV sitcom was like doing 22 different one-act plays in a few months. Even the 10-episode seasons common to Netflix and similar platforms may be akin to shooting 10 independent films.

I'm not an actor myself, but some of my best friends, etc. I don't think I've ever heard a one complain that "theater is harder than film and TV", though I'm sure some actors (such as Streisand) will agree with you. I just think it's more a matter that they findtheater's (or film's or TV's) particular requirements difficult or tedious, rather than any inherent difficulty of any one medium.

***

To answer another question above, I don't know a single New York actor who hasn't tried Hollywood at some point. The money is too good and, nowadays, with so many competing platforms, the quality of the best shows is as good or better than that of most straight plays.

On the other hand, I do know some California actors who have no interest in NYC. In most cases, they either make their home on the West Coast and want to stay here, or they just don't have the chops to sustain a full-length, live performance.

ETA if this last paragraph seems a contradiction, I'm not saying theater doesn't require special skills. I'm just saying each medium does, so deciding which is "harder" is largely subjective.
"

Just want to add that William Wyler was infamous throughout his career for doing take after take after take without ever saying what he thought was wrong or what he was looking for. I think Leslie Howard had a real problem with him because of this. Streisand is a diva among divas, but she's not the only one who found working with Wyler intolerable. 

There's a story that he made Bette Davis do take after take after take of the opening shot in The Letter. Viewing the dailies, he looked at her performance with pride and said, "Now you know why I shot so many takes." Someone in the room said, "Willie, we printed the first take."

AEA AGMA SM
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Broadway actors moving to California #20
Posted: 12/2/19 at 9:50pm

AADA81 said: "There's always been a move toward movies and TV from Broadway, but many actors tried and failed for one reason or another. Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Zero Mostel and Bert Lahr all went west early(ish) in their careers but, for one reason or another, never quite clicked with audiences in those other media. They each returned to Broadway for some of their biggest successes. It's always been true that many BW actors try to make the shift and never quite achieve it. Nathan Lane is a more recent example. He did the original 'Lion King' and 'The Birdcage' but followed them with 2 flop TV series, so he refocussed on theater with an occasional movie/TV role."

What I had always heard regarding Bert Lahr was that he was unable to tone down his vaudeville shtick for the big screen for the most part, and what was incredible in a 2000 seat vaudeville house became overbearing when he was being seen on a screen 40' tall. The reason he was so successful as the Cowardly Lion was that the makeup and costuming actually served to tone him down naturally and make that shtick as successful again as his live performances.

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Broadway actors moving to California #21
Posted: 12/3/19 at 11:44pm

Movies and tv series are now shot all over the world.  There are more shows produced in Vancouver and Toronto than there are in LA and NY.  And casting happens as much via video submissions as it does through live sessions, so it really doesn't matter where actors live now.  There's a proximity benefit to establishing relationships with LA Casting Directors, but there is no longer any need for a NY stage actor to relocate to LA to work in film or tv.

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Broadway actors moving to California #22
Posted: 12/4/19 at 1:00am

Tory Ross, most recently of KINKY BOOTS, moved to the peninsula south of San Francisco. She's a voice teacher and instructor at Mills College in Oakland. If I recall from the time, she relocated when getting married and she now has twins.