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6 Hollywood Stars Coming to Broadway This Season

Category Broadway

|by Christopher Caggiano |


From LA to the Great White Way

These days, when producers are planning to bring straight plays to Broadway, they generally look for marquee Hollywood names as financial insurance. Recent seasons have brought us Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Amy Schumer, Chris Evans, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Kevin Kline, Bruce Willis and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, all in vehicles that were – arguably – unlikely to have made it to Broadway without their star power.

A-listers like Armie Hammer will hit the Broadway boards this season (Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images).

A-listers like Armie Hammer will hit the Broadway boards this season (Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images).

Of course, these performers only earn a fraction of the salaries they command for a movie or a TV series, but there’s something about the prestige of appearing on Broadway, and the excitement of live theater, that attracts even the biggest of Hollywood stars.

And, of course, that’s good news for theatergoers who want to see their favorite stars onstage. The upcoming Broadway season will offer numerous opportunities for the starstruck. Here’s a sampling of the biggest names you’ll be able to see live in the coming season.

Armie Hammer
Fans of Call Me By Your Name and The Social Network will have a chance to see breakout star Armie Hammer live in Straight White Men, a new play by Young Jean Lee, who will be the first Asian female playwright to ever have a play produced on Broadway. Straight White Men concerns a father and his three adult sons get together on Christmas Eve for holiday revelry that turns into family revelations. The play’s cast also features Josh Charles of The Good Wife. Straight White Men is already in previews at the Helen Hayes Theatre, and opens July 23rd. 

Kerry Washington
As anyone who has ever watched the TV series Scandal can attest, Kerry Washington is pretty darned fierce. For seven seasons, Washington played DC power player Olivia Pope in the series, to great acclaim. With American Son, a new play by Christopher Demos-Brown, Washington makes her highly anticipated return to Broadway after her 2009 debut in David Mamet’s Race. In American Son, Washington stars, alongside Broadway favorite Steven Pasquale, as a woman who shows up at a Florida police station looking for her son. The play promises to be an explosive examination of racial issues in contemporary America. Previews begin at the Booth Theatre in October, with an opening in November.  

Daniel Radcliffe
Even before the final Harry Potter movie was filmed, Daniel Radcliffe had already made his Broadway debut – and a scandalous one at that – in Equus in 2008. Since then he has become a regular in New York theater, including appearances in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2011), The Cripple of Inishmaan (2014) and Privacy (2016). His next Broadway outing will be The Lifespan of a Fact, by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell. The play concerns a fact-checker at a nationally renowned magazine who discovers a famous writer has made up a huge portion of an upcoming article. In addition to Radcliffe, the production will also features Bobby Carnavale (Will and Grace, Boardwalk Empire) as the writer in question and Cherry Jones (24, Transparent) as an editor at the magazine. Previews begin September at Studio 54 toward an October opening.

Joan Allen
Joan Allen’s name may not be as instantly recognizable as those of the other stars on this list, but trust me, you’ve seen her – maybe in Room in 2015, or in one of the films in the Jason Bourne series. Allen returns to Broadway this season in The Waverly Gallery, a play by Academy Award-winning writer Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea). Allen will star alongside Michael Cera (Juno, Superbad), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) and writer, director and comedy legend Elaine May (of Nichols and May). Allen’s last Broadway outing was the short-lived Impressionism in 2009, but before that she had acclaimed runs in Burn This and The Heidi Chronicles, the former of which won her a Tony Award. The Waverly Gallery begins previews in September toward an October opening.

Ethan Hawke
The last time Sam Shepard’s classic True West was on Broadway, in 2000, it featured John C. Reilly and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman alternating between the two main roles. This time, a different pair of stars will take on the roles, but without switching off. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood, Training Day) will make his first Broadway appearance since playing the title role in Macbeth in 2013, taking on the role of Lee opposite Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood) as Austin. The play features a pair of estranged brothers having a very uneasy reunion. The production begins previews at the American Airlines Theatre in December, and opens in January.

Glenda Jackson
After more than two decades away from the acting profession, Glenda Jackson made her triumphant Broadway return this past season in Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, winning a long-overdue Tony Award in the process. Now, Ms. Jackson plans to top that Herculean feat with an even greater one: the title role in Shakespeare’s King Lear. Hey, if Dame Helen Mirren can play Prospero in the 2010 film version of The Tempest, what’s to stop Jackson from taking on one of the Bard’s greatest roles? Besides, Jackson has already played Lear in 2016 in London, and to great acclaim. The Broadway production hasn’t announced dates or a specific Broadway theater as yet, but the production is currently scheduled for spring 2019. 

For more star-studded live theater, check out our list of Top Shows in July

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