Going to see a Broadway show is a thrill of a lifetime, but if you can't get to New York City, just turn on the TV. Chances are your favorite Broadway star or Tony winner is gracing the small screen with his or her fabulous presence.
1. SMASH (NBC)
NBC is hoping Broadway and Marilyn Monroe will make beautiful music together and create a TV "Smash" this season. Executive produced by Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg, "Smash" follows the trials and tribulations of mounting a Broadway musical, from the pains of raising the capital to pay for the show to the backstage dramas, romances, and only-on-Broadway subplots. "Smash" features a slew of Broadway pros including Wicked alum and Drama Desk nominee Megan Hilty and Tony nominee and Drama Desk winner Brian d'Arcy James. Christian Borle was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Spamalot and Peter and the Starcatcher, and Drama Desk and Tony nominations for Legally Blonde. "Smash" also stars Anjelica Huston, "Will and Grace's" Debra Messing, and "American Idol" finalist Katharine McPhee. Original Songs are written by Tony winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman, and the pilot was directed by American Idiot's Michael Mayer.
2. The Good Wife (CBS)
You practically have to have a Tony Award to be cast in "The Good Wife." An Emmy Award winner for her work in television, Julianna Margulies is a Lucille Lortel Award winner for Ten Unknowns at Lincoln Center. Christine Baranksi won Tony Awards for her roles in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing and Neil Simon's Rumors. She also won a Drama Desk Award for Lips Together Teeth Apart. Alan Cumming won a Tony and a Drama Desk Award for his role in the 1998 revival of Cabaret. Though mainly a TV actor, Chris Noth was seen on Broadway in 2011’s That Championship Season and Gore Vidal's The Best Man in 2000.
3. Glee (FOX)
Starring Broadway pros Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele, the supporting cast and guest artists make "Glee" a musical thespian's dream TV show. Michele has been seen on Broadway in Les Misérables, Ragtime, and Spring Awakening. Morrison played the Great White Way in Hairspray, South Pacific, and won a Tony Award for The Light in the Piazza. Jenna Ushkowitz was seen in Broadway's The King and I and Spring Awakening. "Glee's" Broadway guest stars include Tony winners Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris, Tony nominee Jonathan Groff, and Drama Desk nominee Cheyenne Jackson. Darren Criss will make his Broadway debut in January 2012 when he takes over the lead in How to Succeed... from Daniel Radcliffe.
4. A Gifted Man (CBS)
Sensing the supernatural is a sure bet this season, CBS brings audiences "A Gifted Man," about a self-absorbed neurosurgeon who rethinks his values after his ex-wife passes away and visits him as a ghost. The acting is superb, and it's no wonder -- the cast is dripping with Tony Awards and nominations. Playing the lead doctor is Patrick Wilson, nominated twice for a Tony Award for Oklahoma! and The Full Monty, winning a Drama Desk Award for the latter. He was even featured in the film version of The Phantom of the Opera. His gloulish ex-wife is played by two-time Tony winner Jennifer Ehle, who won Tonys for her performances in The Real Thing and The Coast of Utopia. Tony nominee Pablo Schreiber plays the shaman who walks in both worlds.
5. Private Practice (ABC)
Now that Audra McDonald has left television for a return to the Broadway stage, Taye Diggs now holds seniority over the Broadway vets on ABC's "Private Practice." Diggs appeared on Broadway in the Tony-winning Carousel, Rent, Wicked, Chicago, and Off-Broadway in the Outer Critics’ Circle Award winner The Wild Party. He earned a Drama League nomination for A Soldier's Play. Tim Daly has appeared on Broadway in Coastal Disturbances and The Caine Mutiny Court Martial. Brian Benben was seen on Broadway in the play Slab Boys.
6. 30 Rock (NBC)
This Emmy Award-winning sitcom has won numerous awards for its quirky plots and farcical characters, many of whom are played by a calvacade of Broadway stars. Most notable are Jane Krakowski who won the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Awards for Nine, opposite Antonio Banderas. She also won an Olivier Award for the West End production of Guys and Dolls. Broadway hunk Cheyenne Jackson splits his time and considerable talents between "30 Rock" and "Glee." Broadway veteran Alec Baldwin who is currently filming the movie version of the Broadway hit musical, Rock of Ages.
7. Homeland (SHO)
"Homeland" is a new thriller on Showtime starring Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes, who played "Eliza Doolittle" in 2007's Pygmalion. Damian Lewis was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company before hitting the boards in Ralph Feinnes' Hamlet. Fellow Brit, David Harewood, performed in Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, which will make its Broadway debut Fall 2011. Mandy Patinkin debuted on Broadway in 1975, since performing in numerous musicals, plays, and revues. He won a Tony for his role in Evita, and has graced the Broadway stage in Hamlet, Falsettos, The Secret Garden, Sunday in the Park with George, Celebrating Sondheim, and The Wild Party. Fall of 2011, Patinkin returns to Broadway with Patti LuPone for a limited engagement.
8. Harry's Law (NBC)
While not the slickest show on TV, NBC's "Harry's Law" is heavy on Broadway acting chops. Tony nominee Kathy Bates leads this band of merry misfits in an office that equally doles out legal service to the disenfranchised and sells designer shoes. Joining the oddball cast this season is Karen Olivo, who won a Tony Award for the West Side Story revival. She also earned a Drama Desk nominations for West Side Story and In the Heights. The show also features Christopher McDonald who played "Billy Flynn" on Broadway and Brittany Snow of the Broadway national tour of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.
9. More Shows with Broadway Stars
The list goes on...
- "American Horror Story" (FX) with Tony and Drama Desk winner Denis O'Hare and Drama League nominee Dylan McDermott.
- "Awake" (NBC) with two-time Tony Award winner Cherry Jones and Tony winner B. D. Wong.
- "Free Agents" (NBC) with Tony and Drama Desk nominee Hank Azaria.
- "Good Christian Belles" (ABC) with Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth.
- "House" (FOX) with Tony Award winner Robert Sean Leonard.
- "I Hate My Teenage Daughter" (FOX) with two-time Tony Award winner Katie Finneran.
- "Man Up!" (ABC)with Tony winner Dan Fogler.
- "Nurse Jackie" (SHO) with House of Blue Leave's Edie Falco and Tony and Pulitzer nominee Anna Deavere Smith.
- "Up All Night" (NBC) with Tony and Drama Desk nominee Christina Applegate.