In such a technology-driven world, it is almost hard to think of some of today’s more famous actors have performed on stage. The reality, however, is the theatre influence still runs deep in today’s premier actors. The skills these actors learned during the early stages of their career while doing live theatre have no doubt contributed to their long and successful careers in the entertainment industry.
Even for Stewart’s newer fans, the influence the theatre played in his career should not be a big surprise. While he became famous to most Americans for his role on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” Stewart had and continued to have a very successful presence in the theatre world.
Stewart first fell in love with acting during his days with the Royal Shakespeare Company. First joining the troupe in 1966, he would remain there for more than a decade, leaving in 1982. It was during his early career that he met Ben Kingsley, a friendship that continues to this day.
His role on “Star Trek” required him to leave the stage behind but as the series was winding down, Stewart realized he missed stage acting horribly. He would resume his theatre work in 1990. One of his more recent appearances was in “Waiting for Godot,” co-starring with Ian McKellen, who is now famous for his role as Stewart’s arch-enemy, Magneto, in the “X-Men” franchise.
While Ms. Paltrow got her start on stage, she hardly had the long and distinguished career of Patrick Stewart. In fact, as baseball players would say, she barely had a cup of coffee on stage. The main reason Paltrow even ended up on stage was due to the influence of her mother, who was a regular performer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
After making her debut at the festival during the summer of 1990, Paltrow quickly made the transition to film in 1991 in the movie “Shout,” where she would meet our next famous actor who started in theatre.
For many, Travolta’s big start came on the TV show, “Welcome Back Kotter,” but that was hardly where his journey in acting began. Travolta’s first big break in acting was playing with a touring group performing “Grease.” He would eventually make it to Broadway when in 1974, he performed in “Over Here!” That, however, would be the end of Travolta’s stage career.
During the latter part of the 1970s, Travolta’s career blew up after he had the starring role in “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.” Of course, during that same period, he also snagged the lead in the movie version of “Grease.” More success followed with “Saturday Night Fever” and “Urban Cowboy.”
Sarah Jessica Parker
Ms. Parker got an extremely early start in her acting career, first performing on Broadway at the ripe old age of 11. Fittingly, she would get her break in “Annie,” a show that seems to be at the start of many of today’s starlets. Initially, she played a small supporting role, but she would eventually take over as Annie from Andrea McArdle and Shelley Bruce.
When fans think of Hugh Jackman, most associate him with action, not the stage. They would, however, be entirely wrong, as Jackman got his career started in theatre in 1995 and continued to dabble in it from time to time.
Jackman’s first paying gig was actually in a 10-part TV Series. He would, however, immediately transition to the stage to pay his dues. An Australian native, Jackman would perform in Melbourne, landing the role of Gaston in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” Jackman would remain active in the theatre locally until he got his big break in 2000, landing the role of
Wolverine in “X-Men.”
As you can see, it is never wise to judge a book by its cover. Regardless of their current niche, a significant number of actors and actresses all got their start on stage, often playing in local theatre troops to very small audiences. So, next time you head to the local theatre, grab some autographs, because you just may be watching the next big Hollywood star singing and dancing right in front of you!