Friday, August 16, 2013

Matthew Morrison, Aaron Tveit, and 13 More Stars Appeared in HAIRSPRAY First

Matthew Morrison
Yesterday was the anniversary of the opening of Hairspray on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre in 2002. In honor of that, I featured a Hairspray video on Monday and the tribute continues today.

As I reviewed the list of actors who were in Hairspray over the course of the run, I can't tell you how many times I said, "Wow! He was in that before he was famous?!" And most of them were making their Broadway debut too! Here's a list of people who were in Hairspray before I knew them from something else. Those in bold are the only ones who had previously appeared on Broadway.

  • Matthew Morrison (as the original Link Larkin) before Glee. Let's take a moment to talk about his headshot that was in the Playbill for Hairspray in 2002 (pictured to the left). You're welcome.
  • Aaron Tveit (as a Link replacement) before Next to Normal (2009), Catch Me if You Can (2011), and the Les Mis movie (2012)
  • Michael Longoria (as a Swing) before Jersey Boys (2005) or The Midtown Men
  • Andrew Rannells (ensemble, then a Link replacement) before Book of Mormon (2011)
  • Cameron Adams (many roles over time) in the middle of her journey to being in every Broadway ensemble ever, but after playing Zaneeta in The Music Man (2000)
  • Jackie Hoffman (Velma's understudy) before The Addams Family (2010)
  • Shoshana Bean (Velma's and Tammy's understudy) before Wicked (in 2005)
  • Kerry Butler (original Penny) before Xanadu (2007) and Catch Me if You Can
  • Caissie Levy (Penny replacement) before Ghost (2012)
  • Laura Bell Bundy (original Amber) before Legally Blonde (2007). And before her promising Broadway and/or country music career came to a screeching halt
  • Brynn O'Malley (Amber replacement) before thie Annie revival (2012)
  • Ashley Spencer (Amber replacement) before Priscilla Queen of the Desert (2011) and her marriage to Broadway star Jeremy Jordan
Check out this bootleg video of the Hairspray cast, including Diana DeGarmo and Aaron Tveit, singing "Without Love." Aaron Tveit's movements in this remind me of his performance of "I'm Alive," (from Next to Normal) so much so that I realized that was him before seeing his face.

And then there were the token celebrities who made their Broadway debuts after their time in the limelight:

  • Alexa Vega (Penny replacement) after playing Carmen in Spy Kids. An appropriate reaction is, "WHAT THE WHAT?"
  • Diana DeGarmo (Penny replacement) after being runner-up on American Idol Season 3, but before marrying Broadway star (but mostly Idol alum) Ace Young. And fun fact about her: she took over the role of Penny after Cassie Levy had taken a turn. The next year, in 2010, she took over for Caissie again, this time for the role of Sheila in the Hair revival.
  • Haylie Duff (Amber replacement), aka: "Hilary Duff's Older Sister" (it's funny cuz it's true) after 7th Heaven
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