Chris Evans and Michael Cera in Lobby Hero. David Cook and Wayne Brady in Kinky Boots. Katharine McPhee in Waitress. ‘Tis the season of stars shining bright on Broadway! But live theater is not for everyone — there are no trailers and no re-takes, and every day you get up in front of 1,000+ strangers and pour your heart out on the stage. (You know, NBD.) Broadway Spin rounded up seven of our favorite celebs to find out if they’d ever dare to try their luck on the Great White Way… or, if they’d already been there, if they’d ever go back. Spoiler alert: If you were a fan of the original Hamilton cast, you might not want to read all the way to the end.
Parenthood star Joy Bryant has never really thought about being on Broadway, but she wouldn’t say no. “I think it if something that made sense for me, I would consider it,” she explained. “I did skits when I was a kid. We had neighborhood talent shows and I remember one skit we did. I wasn’t even eight years old yet, but it was a skit about the Atlanta child murders and I was the child that got kidnapped at the end, and eventually murdered,” she added with a laugh. “I closed out the skit as the last kid who was kidnapped. Everyone thought it was great! That was my acting debut.”
Vanessa Hudgens is no stranger to Broadway. She starred in Gigi in 2015 — but now that she knows what it takes, would she do it again? “I loved it! It’s just different. It’s a lot of work, but it’s thrilling because there’s no second chance. The performance is the performance and it’s yours and it’s unedited. I feel like you have a little more creative freedom, which can be scary, but with enough work on the project you find your own roots and your own voice and it’s really empowering,” the High School Musical vet explained. As for a dream role on the Great White Way, the 28-year-old star revealed, “I love Satine from Moulin Rouge and I probably have another 10 years before I can do it, but I love it all — the music, the costumes, the character, everything.”
“Oh, it’s a dream!” Jessie J said. “I’d love to play a role that not any other celebrity has played, so Chicago is definitely out. Actually, I’d play the lawyer, Billy Flynn, and sing ‘Razzle Dazzle’ for everyone in a pantsuit,” she laughed. “Jessie J in Chicago! And then everyone comes and I’m the man going, ‘Roxy! Roxy!'” The “Bang Bang” singer added, “I trained in musical theater and was studying musical theater in college when I got a record deal, so I definitely had to ask myself, ‘What do you want to do?’ And even though I went the music route, I’ve pretty much been writing a musical my whole life — if I ever finish it and put it out there is a different thing”
Just how far has she gotten with her musical? “I’ve got songs, ideas that might one day maybe make sense. I love Broadway. I love musicals. I love that you get to play someone else. You get to get into their head and they’re not real and you can hang up their coat and the end of the night and go home. Being yourself is kind of scary sometimes, and Broadway gives you that escape.” She paused and then added, “Also, I love that people are quiet and they wait until you are finished to clap!” We hear you, sister.
Spoiler alert: Alan Alda isn’t coming back to the Great White Way… ever. “I love the stage, but I can’t — you have to devote the whole day and night to it. It’s intense. It’s not just two hours. I think those days are behind me,” the Big C alum revealed.
“I would do it, yeah! I was asked to do Cinderella. Before Nene [Leakes] I was asked to do Cinderella, but because of my divorce, I didn’t want to be the wicked stepmother and I was asked — I’ve been asked to do so many shows that people didn’t even know about. I’ve been asked to do Dancing With the Stars every time. I’ve been asked to do Celebrity Apprentice. It’s nice to be a place where I don’t want to do that. (laughs) Really, I’m good. But no, it’s not out of the cards!”
“I never have. I’ve only done theater off Broadway in Los Angeles and in London — but not in years,” Laura Dern said. “I feel like now that I’m immersed in middle school and high school asking very generously,” she added. (ICYMI, the Big Little Lies star has two kids who are those ages.) “I really would love to do it, but it would be an amazing commitment to make and because the kids are in school in LA it’s a bit trickier. If I were in New York, it would be a perfect dream.”
JASMINE CEPHAS JONES
Jasmine Cephas Jones — who played Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds in Hamilton — might have gotten Broadway out of her system. Seriously. Asked if she would return to the Great White Way, she quipped, “Not any time soon. I wouldn’t reject it or say no, but Hamilton was a long run.”