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Take 2! 8 More Stars Remember Their First Broadway Shows


They say the third time’s a charm, but we’d beg to differ. We think that when it comes to Broadway, your first show is the one that counts. It’s the one that gets you coming back for more. But Broadway Spin‘s not the only ones who feel that way — just ask these eight celebs. (Also, 98 Degrees… we heart you.)

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The former 98 Degrees front man had more exposure to theater than most when he was growing up. “The first show I saw on Broadway was Cats. I should go see it again now that it’s back!,” Nick Lachey said. “My mom was pretty into musicals and we went to a performing arts school, so we were always tied to that world. I loved the music, but when you’re a little kid, those Cats costumes are pretty wild — and frankly, just being in New York in general at that age was pretty wild. I think Miss Saigon was the next one, and now that’s also coming back! I need to do a full circuit tour of all of the musicals I saw as a kid and go see them now as an adult.”


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The first show I ever saw was Hair,” Bebe Neuwirth revealed. “I was 11 years old,” the Madam Secretary thesp added with a laugh. (She might not have completely understood that one at that age, but that’s probably for the best.)


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The theater icon’s first Broadway show was Death of a Salesman with Lee J. Cobb. “I was a baby boy, in my early 20s, and I was just so hungry for everything in the theater,” he explained. “I was sitting there way upstairs, all the way at the back and it didn’t matter.”


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Tony-winner Lena Hall and Nick Lachey have something in common: their first musical! “My first time seeing a show was Cats when I was 9,” Hall said. “It wasn’t on Broadway, though. It was touring.” (We think it still counts!) “The first one I saw actually on Broadway was Footloose. I had a lot of friends in it. I was in Cats on Broadway at the time at there were a bunch of young performers in Footloose then as well. We were all really young and we would hang out,” she recalled. “I remember going to see them. It was fun times.”


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Yes, Tituss Burgess is posing with a laundry product. No, that doesn’t mean we don’t love him anymore. “The first show I saw in New York was Ragtime,” the two-time Emmy nominee recalled. “I had never been to New York. I had never been on a plane. I was still in college at The University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. I don’t know that I even thought I would ever move here, let alone do what I’m doing. I saw about seven shows in a week:  Ragtime. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Civil War, which I loved. When I got off that plane, it truly was love at first sight. I knew every stranger. We were family.” The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star added, “I love seeing Broadway shows. I feel most at home seeing theater. I don’t have to guess about where I stand in the world.  You know the expression, seeing eye to eye? When I see theater,  we see eye to eye. And it is the most reciprocity that I’ve ever experienced as a human being.”  


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“I love seeing Broadway shows. The very first one I saw was Annie Get Your Gun with Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat,” Zachary Levi reported. “I was 17. It was awesome and I couldn’t wait to come back and see more. One of the only bummers about being in a Broadway show is that you can’t see other Broadway shows. But I still try.” (ICYMI, Levi recently earned a Tony nom for his starring role in Roundabout Theatre‘s She Loves Me.)


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The first time Tamara Tunie saw a Broadway show it pretty much changed her life. “My mother says I was born a New Yorker. I just happened to be born in Pittsburg — go Steelers!” the Law & Order star began. “My first trip to New York was during spring break of my freshman year at Carnegie Mellon. I came to New York with a friend, a fellow Carnegie Mellon musical theater dude. From the moment I stepped foot in New York City, I knew this was where I was going and needed to be. It was the late 1970s. The Wiz was playing on Broadway and that was my first Broadway show. My friend and I were so blown away. It just confirmed that this is what I wanted to do. I went back to Carnegie Mellon all inspired, singing every song from The Wiz. From there, pretty much every year I was in college, I would come to New York during spring break or a long weekend.”


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A fifth generation member of the Hollywood family dynasty that includes Ed and Keenan Wynn, Jessica Keenan Wynn was bound to end up on Broadway and currently plays Cynthia Weil in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. “My first trip to New York was in high school around September,” she recalled. “Fall was in full swing. After seeing my first Broadway show, Thoroughly Modern Millie, I stepped out into Times Square. Starting then and there, it was a magnetic thrill that initiated its frantic pull. I will never forget how bright and starry-eyed I was on that trip. It was inevitable that I would come to visit it again and stay.”