Celebrities With Broadway Beginnings May Surprise You

With a culture that revolves around many celebrities who rise to fame for basically no reason, it's incredibly refreshing to hear about stars who had their big breaks in musical theater. These stars are triple threats with their singing, dancing and acting talents and their careers have only grown since their more humble beginnings. Some of these celebrities are known for their raw musical talent, but a few come as quite a surprise.

Sarah Jessica Parker

In March 1979, far before she was known as Carrie Bradshaw, SJP starred in "Annie" as the musical's namesake for a year.

Nick Jonas

Before the Jonas Brothers began, Nick had acted in several plays, including "A Christmas Carol," "Annie Get Your Gun," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Les Misérables."

Lea Michele

The beloved actress who plays Broadway-obsessed Rachel Berry was a star before "Glee" even started. Her Broadway debut in 1995 as Young Cosette in "Les Misérables" proved her talent at a young age, and she continued to star in "Ragtime", "Fiddler on the Roof" and finally "Spring Awakening."

John Travolta

Travolta not only starred in the movie "Grease" but he also landed a role in the touring company of the musical "Grease" and on Broadway in "Over Here!" before he became known as Danny Zuko.

Jenna Ushkowitz

Ushkowitz's first Broadway appearance in "The King and I" was just her beginning, and she joined future "Glee" star Lea Michele when she understudied for multiple roles in "Spring Awakening."

Meryl Streep

Streep starred on Broadway in the Brecht/Weill musical "Happy End" and won an Obie for her performance in the all-sung off-Broadway production of "Alice at the Palace."

Hugh Jackman

Even though he's now more commonly known as Wolverine, Jackman became known outside his native Australia when he played the leading role in the 1998 Royal National Theatre's production of "Oklahoma!," in London's West End. He even earned an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews rose to fame in the U.S. after her Broadway debut in a 1954 production of "The Boy Friend." She continued in musical theater when she starred in "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot," both of which earned her Tony Award nominations.

Kristen Bell

In 2001, Bell left school at NYU to star as Becky Thatcher in the short-lived Broadway musical of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer."

Kristin Chenoweth

Chenoweth was a Broadway star far before "Wicked." She made her Broadway debut in the spring of 1997 in the musical "Steel Pier," for which she won a Theatre World award.

Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick wasn't randomly selected for Beca in "Pitch Perfect," the directors knew the girl could sing. Her first acting role was in the Broadway musical "High Society" when she was 12 years old, a performance for which she won the Theatre World Award and was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award, making her the third-youngest Tony Award nominee.

Idina Menzel

Menzel is best known for originating the role of Maureen in the original Broadway debut of "Rent."

Taye Diggs

Like his talented wife, Menzel, Diggs starred in the first production of "Rent" as Benny.

Jonathan Groff

Groff left for NYC directly after high school to star in the Broadway musical "In My Life." Soon after, real-life best friends Groff and Michele starred opposite each other in the Broadway debut of "Spring Awakening."

Matthew Morrison

Morrison's career began when he made his musical theater debut on Broadway in the musical version of "Footloose," followed by a revival of "The Rocky Horror Show." His big break came when he landed the role of Link Larkin in the Broadway production of "Hairspray."

John C. McGinley

Upon completing his education at NYU, McGinley did a variety of different work, including Off Broadway and Broadway productions before he broke into film.

Andrew Rannells

Lena Dunham's roommate Elijah on "Girls" played the role of Link Larkin in the Broadway production of "Hairspray" followed by the role of Bob Gaudio in the first national tour of "Jersey Boys." He is best known for originating the role of Elder Price in the extremely popular musical "Book of Mormon."

Victor Garber

Garber appeared on Broadway in the original productions of "Deathtrap," "Sweeney Todd" and "Noises Off," and in the original Off-Broadway cast of "Assassins," as well as the 1990s revival of "Damn Yankees."

Florence Henderson

Before she was Carol Brady, Henderson debuted on Broadway in the musical "Wish You Were Here" in 1952 and later starred in 888 shows on Broadway in the long-running 1954 musical "Fanny."

Diane Keaton

In 1968, Keaton became a member of the "Tribe" and understudy to Sheila in the original Broadway production of "Hair."



Celebrities On Broadway 2011