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Take 3! 8 More Stars Remember Their First Broadway Shows


OK, so we lied, maybe the third time really is the charm! Here are 8 more of Broadway Spin‘s favorite stars sharing their first Broadway memories. From Nashville vet Connie Britton (shed a tear!) to Crazy Ex Girlfriend’s hot yogi Gabrielle Ruiz, these Hollywood A-listers love snuggling down into a theater seat and taking in the show just like the rest of us.

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“It’s hard to say. I don’t know if this was the absolute first one I ever saw, but I have a very strong recollection of seeing Cats, which is back! At the time, I was blown away. I thought it was just the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.”  


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“I started with Sly Fox with George C. Scott. I had three lines — well, I had one line that I said three times. I said, ‘You look wonderful, Sir.’ And then I took over Héctor Elizondo. I played opposite George C. Scott and then I played opposite Robert Preston,” Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor explained. “We had a lot of fun.”  


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Crazy Ex Girlfriend‘s Gabrielle Ruiz has appeared on Broadway in Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, as well as If/Then and Evita. “My father took me to see a local production of A Chorus Line and I was inspired by the character Diana Morales. She was a Latina. I felt like her and understood how she wanted to get out of where she was. I didn’t want to be a mom right away. I wanted to do something else,” Ruiz recalled. “Then when I was 12, I saw the musical Big on Broadway. It was my first trip to New York.  There were dancers and singers and actors, all triple threats. The light bulb happened. I thought, ‘Cool that’s what I want to do. I want to do that. It was really Priscilla Lopez, who originated Diana Morales that inspired me to be a performer.”  


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“The first Broadway show I saw in New York was Chicago,” the Fuller House star said. “I was actually doing Chicago in London, and was given a holiday. I decided to come to New York and  the craziest thing happened: I bumped into Ann Reinking at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was with choreographer Gary Chryst, who did Chicago’s Broadway and world productions, and taught me the choreography. I was just so star struck, I couldn’t even talk. Ann said, ‘If you’re doing Chicago  there, you should watch our Chicago. So, she had me see the show and it was amazing. I loved it more here, because it felt very much like a jazz performance. Everyone was sort of jamming with it.”


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“The first Broadway show I saw was Wicked,” Pentatonix vocalist Mitch Grassi reported. “It was my third time seeing it because I had  seen it outside of New York, but experiencing it on Broadway was so special. I just love how intense Wicked is and it’s also so emotional and hilarious — and seeing it on a Broadway stage was really powerful.”  


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It turns out, legendary singer Darlene Love and Nashville star (well, ex-star) Connie Britton share a love of Cats — the musical, that is. “I never went to theater before I moved to New York, but to be able to see a live show is the greatest thing in the world. The first Broadway show I ever saw was Cats, the original version,” Love explained. “I’m not a cat lover; I’m a dog lover. You either are or you aren’t, right? But I loved the whole idea about cats performing.  I had no idea what it was going to be like.”  


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Tony-nominee and School of Rock star Alex Brightman remembers his first Broadway experience well — but it wasn’t the show so much as the interaction with its star after that made an impact. “When I was eight-years-old, I saw The Who’s Tommy. At the stage door afterward Michael Cerveris — who was in the production — shook my hand. He told me that he was happy that I came to see his show.  He was just a normal person,” Brightman revealed. “Because I was eight, I didn’t put the words together but in my head, but the thing I’ve synthesized since is, ‘That’s who I’m going to be forever. If I have a career, I will be that guy. I will be the guy who shows people that we are not unicorns who disappear into the mist after the show is over.'” It sounds like the Broadway vet has made good on that promise to himself. “I’m the last guy to leave at my stage door,” he added.


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“The first Broadway play I saw was Agnes of God with Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Ashley and Amanda Plummer.  I remember Amanda Plummer climbing up the walls, literally climbing up the walls and sliding down. I remember Geraldine Page being so breathtaking,” The Good Wife alum John Benjamin Hickey recalled. “I was 17 or 18 years old and on my first New York-trip. I came with a bunch of other students and we went to see a bunch of plays. It was a long time ago. I think I got bit by that experience.”