Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart – From Academy Awards to Tonys: Why Hollywood Actors Go from Screen to Stage
"Logan" is generating Oscar buzz for both Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart, but they both have a bigger dream: to star together on Broadway. Both Jackman and Stewart are no strangers to stage, with multiple major awards under their belts. Jackman says he’s had a dream of being onstage with Stewart since seeing him in drama school with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Stewart’s been pitching him ideas to make it happen, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting last-minute theater tickets to see them on the Great White Way in the near future.
Jackman and Stewart are two examples of the many actors who’ve successfully bridged the gap from screen to stage and back. Why do so many Hollywood stars return to the stage after hitting the big time on screen? Here’s a look at a few of the reasons.
For actors such as Jackman and Stewart with long, successful theater careers, going back to the stage is returning to their roots. The same is true of their "X-Men" costar Sir Ian McKellen.
Before becoming internationally famous for on-screen roles such as Magneto and Gandalf, McKellen was famed as a product of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company. Over the course of his stage career, he’s racked up six Laurence Oliver Awards and a Tony for roles such as Richard III and Amadeus. After conquering Hollywood with Stewart in the "X-Men" movies, he and Stewart teamed up on Broadway for highly successful runs of Harold Pinter’s "No Man’s Land" and Samuel Beckett’s "Waiting for Godot."
Now, at the age of 78, McKellen is back on stage again this year. In a nod to nostalgia, he’s celebrating his career by reprising his most famous roles in a one-man show called "Shakespeare, Tolkien, Others & You," the BBC reports.
Actor Matthew Broderick is passionate about creativity. He has joined child development leaders in panel discussions to emphasize the need for creative play to educate children’s imaginations, decrying what he calls a “creativity crisis” in America’s work-oriented culture. Broderick traces his love for creativity to playing with blocks as a child, saying it taught him the importance of making toys for yourself instead of having them made for you, Parents.com says.
Broderick’s acting career is a testament to his commitment to creativity. While he’s most famous for his iconic roles in movies like "WarGames" and "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" and voicing Simba in "The Lion King," he’s had an equally storied stage career. He won his first Tony for "Brighton Beach Memoirs" in 1983, the same year he starred in his first major film. He added a second Tony when he returned to Broadway in 1995 in "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying." By this time, he was trying to shed his image as a child comedy actor by sporting a beard and taking on a wide range of roles against typecast. Plays he took on were as diverse as the Emlyn Williams psychological thriller "Night Must Fall," the Kenneth Lonergan drama "You Can Count on Me," the Mel Brooks comedy "The Producers," and the George Gershwin musical "Nice Work if You Can Get It." This year, Broderick is acting in an Off-Broadway production of Wallace Shawn’s "Evening at the Talk House."
For Daniel Radcliffe, the transition from screen to stage hasn’t been easy. Despite acting on TV since the age of 10 and achieving seven-figure salaries for his role in the smash-hit "Harry Potter" series, Radcliffe had relatively little experience on stage before he took on the lead the off-beat play "Equus" at the age of 17. In taking the role, he went against type in an effort to show he was ready for adult roles once the Harry Potter series wrapped up.
Radcliffe was nervous about acting on Broadway, and even after he won critical acclaim for following up Broderick's role in "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," he still didn’t feel at ease, MTV reports. He’d never had to sing or dance in a role before, so he had to learn a new skill set. But Radcliffe says he finds the challenge of having to stretch his abilities exciting, and having to prepare to perform live night after night instead of just on-camera has sharpened up his skills Variety says. This year he’s appearing in Tom Stoppard’s "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead."