Monday, May 26, 2014

Hollywood Stars are Taking Over Broadway... [Unsuccessfully]

Hollywood stars on Broadway 2013-2014
James Franco, Daniel Craig, Bryan Cranston, Zach Braff
Courtesy of
Hollywood actors have been infiltrating Broadway for years. For instance, the first time I watched the Tony Awards (2010), Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Scarlett Johansson each won a Tony Award, with another 9 famous Hollywood actors also nominated, and I remember feeling betrayed that so many Tonys were going to screen stars. Not to say that they were undeserving, but I was just surprised. This year is no different. In fact, with 22 Hollywood stars on Broadway this season, I would venture to say that this is some sort of record. But unlike Hollywood's success of 2010, very few of the 2014 Tony Awards will be going to movie stars. Indeed, the list of television stars who are actually nominated for a Tony Award is vastly smaller than those not nominated, let alone winning.

So first, here are the whopping five screen actors starring on Broadway who have received Tony nominations:
  • Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston* (All the Way)
  • Bridesmaids's Chris O'Dowd* (Of Mice and Men)
  • Monk's Tony Shahloub (Act One)
  • How I Met Your Mother's Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
  • 24's Cherry Jones (The Glass Menagerie)
(Oddly enough, three of them are nominated against each other: Cranston, O'Dowd, and Shaloub)

And then there are those who did not get a Tony nomination (though, to be fair, some of them have been nominated in other awards organizations)...
  • Denzel Washington (A Raisin in the Sun
  • Dawson's Creek/My Week with Marilyn's Michelle Williams* (Cabaret)
  • Spiderman's James Franco* (Of Mice and Men)
  • Scrubs's Zach Braff* (Bullets Over Broadway)
  • Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe (Cripple of Inishmaan)
  • Stark Trek/Heroes's Zachary Quinto* (The Glass Menagerie)
  • Will and Grace/Smash's Debra Messing* (Outside Mullingar)
  • Weeds's Mary Louise Parker (Snow Geese)
Check out this video of Zach Braff and the cast of Bullets Over Broadway in rehearsals (he does sing!!)

But wait, there's more! As if having your expensive star not get nominated weren't sad enough, the following shows got an extra slap in the face by receiving no nominations at all:
  • X-Men's Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart (No Man's Land/Waiting for Godot, repertory production at the Cort Theatre)
  • Dexter's Michael C. Hall (The Realistic Joneses
  • James Bond's Daniel Craig and The Constant Gardener's Rachel Weisz* (Betrayal)
  • Billy Crystal (700 Sundays, a 1-man show)
  • Chuck/Tangled's Zachary Levi* (First Date)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean's Orlando Bloom* (Romeo and Juliet)
  • Ethan Hawke (Macbeth)
Moral of the story: It's not a good year to be named Zach.

Y'all, that's 18 movie stars who are exiting the Great White Way with not even a Tony nomination. 18! My guess is that back in 2010, Hollywood stars on Broadway were a novelty to the Tony nominating committee, and I think producers had other reasons to cast them. Now, it appears as though stars are purely used to draw crowds for a short amount of time, and producers don't seem to care that much about awards or a long run. I also think that Tony voters are disenchanted by the movie actors by now.

I've heard people diss Daniel Radcliffe's performance in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, but I thought he was great. Do we need Hollywood actors on Broadway? Are they very good?

Sally Henry // Twitter: // Facebook:

*Denotes a Broadway debut

Read More:
Tony snubs 2014
New Musicals on Broadway
Star Power episode of the "A Night on the Town" Broadway radio program (which inspired this blog post)
All about the Tony Awards


  1. you are an AMAZING writer! I SO enjoyed reading this post.There is so much truth in here it's crazy!

    Igor Komar actor

  2. Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it! I think the Broadway/film crossovers used to be more common, especially in "The Golden Age." In fact, there are 5 actresses who won an Oscar and Tony in the same year! (the last time it happened was 1999) Check out my article about it: Thanks for reading!

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