As I cruised the magazine aisle at the airport this past weekend, I ran smack into one of my favorite magazines, OUT Magazine and who’s mug did I see plastered on the front cover but Jesse Tyler Ferguson, one of the stars of the ABC comedy, Modern Family. I however did not see the now television star, I saw the ex-Broadway star of, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, so I was intrigued and naturally snagged the magazine from the shelf for the hour plane ride ahead of me.
It wasn’t until we had reached cruising altitude, and I read the feature on the Broadway veteran that it dawned on me. Since when did Broadway become soo popular and such a star maker? In OUT alone there were three…THREE Broadway stars mentioned (Ferguson, Laura Bell Bundy and Jackie Hoffman). Maybe that isn’t too much of a coincidence…you know how the gays love their drama.
OUT Magazine aside, the transition from Broadway to Film/Television and vice versa has made some major splashes, over the past year or so. Let’s start with the obvious and ever popular Glee. One of it’s main stars, Lea Michele, played one of the principle roles in the Tony Award winning musical, Spring Awakening. Also appearing on Glee, is the heavy hitting, Broadway diva, Kristen Chenoweth as April Rhodes.
Not enough? On the CBS drama, NCIS: Los Angeles, Barrett Foa, plays one of the title characters Eric Beale but before he stepped foot in the television crime scene world, he starred on Broadway in Avenue Q and followed right behind Ferguson, as Leaf Coneybear, in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee…
Still not enough, well when it comes to the transition from Film/Television to the big lights of Broadway the star power is even greater. Take for instance, Corbin Bleu, who is currently starring as Usnavi, in the Tony Award winning musical In The Heights. Shortly after he has graced the stage, American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks will take her turn in the Broadway spotlight, playing Nina, in the musical In The Heights.
Other major celebs, taking to the stage include Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury in A Little Night Music. Almost the entire cast of God of Carnage…Lucy Liu, Jeff Daniels and Dylan Baker. Denzel Washington is currently starring in Fences, Kelsey Grammer in La Cage aux Folles…the list goes on and on and on and on.
If the aforementioned is again not enough to convince you that Broadway is making a splash, will MTV? In 2008, MTV created the show, Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods. The show wasÂ establishedÂ to cast the next Elle Woods in the Broadway version of Legally Blonde. Over 50,000 girls turned out to audition for the show. But in the end only one would win…Ms. Bailey Hanks.
Let’s face it, even if Broadway isn’t really your cup of tea…it’s here and it’s making and breaking actors everyday. Before Kanye West declared himself the voice of a generation, there was another that did it before him and his name is Puff Daddy, or P. Diddy…or is it just Diddy now? Either way, he himself made an appearance on Broadway in A Raisin In The Sun (it wasn’t very good but at least he tried).
Maybe it’s just because Broadway is the true actor’s test. On that stage you don’t get a second chance if you flub a line or botch a scene…it’s all about the here and now. If you take a moment to look at the actor’s risking their rep on Broadway, it’s true, the cream does rise to the top…you don’t see Hollywood hotties, Channng Tatum or Megan Fox throwing their hat into the ring….