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7 TV Actors Who Have Starred on Broadway

Category Broadway

|by Mark Robinson |


Did you know that these TV favorites had Broadway creds?

Many of today’s popular TV stars got their start on Broadway, performing eight shows a week and dazzling live audiences with their talent. These stars, though lured by the pay and prestige of Hollywood, still come back to Broadway every now and then and offer us the treat of seeing them perform in person. Here are a few current TV stars that continue to make that journey back to the Great White Way.

Tituss Burgess at the 70th Emmy Awards (Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Tituss Burgess at the 70th Emmy Awards (Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Megan Mullaly
Will & Grace star Megan Mullaly may keep us laughing onscreen as the ever-inebriated Karen Walker (to the tune of two Emmy Awards), but she has proven just as funny on Broadway. In 1994, she played Marty in the Rosie O’Donnell-led revival of Grease. She starred as Rosemary Pilkington opposite Matthew Broderick in the 1995 revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. 2007 saw her originating the role of Elizabeth in the Mel Brooks musical adaptation of Young Frankenstein. More-recently, Mullaly portrayed Julia Budder in the 2014 revival of Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play.

Eric McCormack
Speaking of Will & Grace, one half of that titular couple – the “Will” half – took a starring role on Broadway as a replacement for Craig Bierko in the 2000 revival of The Music Man. Entering the show in 2001, McCormack played Professor Harold Hill in the musical. He made a return to the Great White Way in 2012, playing Senator Joseph Cantwell in the revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man. McCormack won an Emmy in 2001 for his work on Will & Grace.

Rita Moreno
While Netflix recently cancelled the critical and audience favorite One Day at a Time, among its terrific cast is EGOT winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) Rita Moreno. Moreno has appeared on Broadway in a handful of plays, including The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Odd Couple and her Tony-winning turn in Terrence McNally’s The Ritz. Besides One Day at a Time, Moreno was a regular on the HBO series Oz as Sister Peter Marie Reimondo. Moreno, of course, is best known for playing Anita in the film version of West Side Story, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Jessie Tyler Ferguson
We all know him best for his portrayal of Mitchell Pritchett over ten seasons on ABC’s Modern Family. Jessie Tyler Ferguson, however, got his start on Broadway, playing Chop opposite Lea Delaria in the 1998 revival of On the Town, and later originating the role of Leaf Coneybear in the original Broadway cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Ferguson has been nominated for the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Emmy for five consecutive years.

Donna Lynne Champlin
One of the highlights of television’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is the sassy and always sensational Donna Lynne Champlin, who plays Paula Proctor, the bad-advice-giving, scheming best friend of Rebecca Bunch (played by Rachel Bloom). A multifaceted singer and musician, Champlin has appeared on Broadway in James Joyce’s The Dead, By Jeeves, Hollywood Arms, Sweeney Todd and Billy Elliott: The Musical. With Crazy Ex-Girlfriend coming to a close this year, we can hope that Champlin’s next stop will be back on Broadway.

Tituss Burgess
What TV character of the last five years is quite as memorable as Titus Andromedon, the struggling actor and melodramatic gay man played with comedic aplomb on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt by Tituss Burgess? Well, Burgess came up through the ranks on the New York stage, playing Nicely-Nicely Johnson in the 2009 revival of Guys & Dolls and the crab Sebastian in the stage version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Burgess was Emmy-nominated for four years in a row for his work on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and we hope to see him return to Broadway soon.

Laurie Metcalf
We would be remiss in this (or any of the last few seasons) if we didn’t mention two-time Tony winner Laurie Metcalf in this list. Currently starring on Broadway in Hillary and Clinton, and having been a highlight of the prior two seasons for her work in A Doll’s House, Part 2 and Three Tall Women, Metcalf is best known to TV audiences for her role on ABC’s The Conner’s, itself a spin-off of the Roseanne reboot. Metcalf originated the role of Jackie Harris on the long-running run of the original Roseanne, winning three Emmy Awards for her work. It was recently announced that Metcalf will return to Broadway next season in a revival of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It’s unlikely that stage or screen audiences will start seeing less of her any time soon.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.

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