In the early years of cinema, working on stage was a bit of a rite of passage. Indeed, in Britain it’s a little more common for a screen star to travel to the West End to further develop their craft. However, when looking at actors who have made their way to Hollywood, it’s far less common to be able to see them live.
Yet some of the best in the business today have taken that leap, or perhaps even started their careers on stage. They excel in every position they’re placed in and while it calls for a different skill set, these performers still manage to shine outside of the movies and TV shows they were previously mentored by.
Tom Hanks cemented his on-screen legacy. With characters like Woody and Forest Gump, Hanks became a movie icon. Despite his Hollywood status, Hanks loves his craft and developed it in a completely different medium much later in his career.
Hanks made his stage debut in 2013 on Broadway. He starred in the production A lucky guy which was written by Nora Ephron. The acclaimed play which saw Hanks portray journalist Mike McAlary was followed by a return to the stage in 2018, where he starred in Henry IV.
Meryl Streep’s style is certainly very classic and the dramatic actress has an array of talents. She may have captured over-the-top characters like Miranda Priestly, but she delved into the musical world and even the psychological thriller. It’s no surprise that she thrived on Broadway.
Streep has appeared in several Broadway productions throughout her career. Although she may have made her stage debut during her college years in 1974, her big hit on Broadway was Miss Imogen Parrott in Trelawney of the ‘wells’ in 1975. She comes back on stage for Places please a new showbiz show.
Viola Davis is a complete expert in her craft. She is measured, charismatic and delivers every line with perfect timing. From comedy to drama, Davis has starred in a range of quality projects. Her time on stage meant she was equally impressive live.
She has eight different stage credits to her name so far, including several Broadway hits. She made her debut in 1996 with seven guitars, and her last appearance was in 2010 when she played the role of Rose in Fences. She has won several awards for her time on stage, including two Tonys, showing that she is a powerhouse in all aspects of the industry.
Taron Egerton is a relative newcomer to Hollywood compared to the other actors here, but his stint as Eddie the Eagle, Elton John, and of course Eggsy has made him a favorite among moviegoers. The young talent has recently turned to the West End to add to his career.
If most of the talents have established themselves on Broadway, it is from British theater that the Welsh actor has benefited. He made his stage debut in 2012 with The last of the Haussmans and he has since returned to the stage twice, with an appearance in 2022 alongside Jonathan Bailey.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson is such a big star with countless iconic characters to cheer for. It seems unlikely that the action icon will want to step out of the bright light of Hollywood, but he’s shown that, just like on screen, he can truly inhabit the life of any character.
1980 marked Jackson’s off-Broadway debut in Mother Courage and Her Children. He will appear in four productions since, including as Martin Luther King Jr. in 2011 The top of the mountain. He returned to Broadway in 2012 as Doaker Charles in The piano lesson, a play by August Wilson about confronting African-American history.
Anne Hathaway is a talent that has managed to thrive in many genres, all of which require very different skill sets. She even appeared in Broadway adaptations like Wretched, where she demonstrated her singing talents. From vintage pieces to superhero movies, she’s done it all.
Hathaway is credited with five different stage appearances. Her debut came as Lili in the off-Broadway production Carnival. She even contributed to a Shakespeare play in the park with twelfth night in 2009, and as recently as 2015, she participated in Baseda public theatrical production about a fighter pilot.
Daniel Craig comes from a long line of British actors who have taken to the stage at some point in their career. He’s got a lot of old-school techniques in his performances, so former James Bond star and current Benoit Blanc have also honed those talents in the West End and beyond.
1993 marks his debut as Joe Pitt in Angels in America as part of the Royal National Theatre. Eight appearances since macbeth in 2022 and othello in 2016 demonstrate that in recent years, Craig has taken a little more interest in the classics of the scene after having already won numerous awards in original hits.
Jodie Comer’s star is on the rise. Kill Eve, free guy and The last duel elevated it to the next level. After cutting her teeth on British TV, it’s no surprise Hollywood called her and she managed to cement herself quickly. Her stage debut came later than many think.
She appeared on stage in 2010 in a small production of The price of everything, where she plays Ruby. However, the major entry in her stage biography is a West End and Broadway combination in 2022, where she is a force to be reckoned with as Tessa in At first glance, based on the book by Suzie Miller.
Denzel Washington is another performer who feels very classic in his approach to the material. He is thoroughly professional and has put on more Oscar-worthy performances than most of his peers. While his star may have shone brightest on screen, he also turned to the stage to continue learning.
1979 saw Washington join Coriolanus in a small production as part of the set. He has since appeared in eight other productions, including Jules Caesar in 2015 as Marcus Brutus and as King The tragedy of Richard IIIjust before in 1990. His last success dates back to 2018 as part of The ice cream man is coming by Eugene O’Neill.
Daniel Radcliffe is the child star who has continued to expand his filmography, moving from indie hits to modern action blockbusters. He continues to shock and surprise with his acting choices, though none have been as unexpected as the show he made his West End and Broadway debut with.
2008 marked Radcliffe’s first appearance on stage in Equus. Seven more credits have been added to Daniel Radcliffe’s stage career in the years since, with his most recent production being in 2020 where he starred as Clov in the West End show. End of Game.
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