10 Broadway Actors Taking Hollywood by Storm

Ben Platt

Ben Platt has been working in professional theatre since he was 9 years old. He burst onto the scene in the Pitch Perfect movies, and starred as Elder Cunningham in The Book of Mormon, but it wasn’t until 2016 and Dear Evan Hansen that his superhuman talent was seen. Playing Evan Hansen won him a Tony, Grammy, Emmy, and made him the youngest person to ever win the Drama League Award. This year, Ben began to show people a different side of himself with his album, Sing to Me Instead. He’s gone on a sold out tour, and his Radio City show is going to be a Netflix special. Speaking of Netflix, he can also be seen starring in The Politician, season one streaming now! Ben stars as Payton Hobart, a character and show written for him by creator Ryan Murphy. The Politician season two begins production this month, and Ben has said he is continually writing music. He is also playing Charley Kringas in Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Merrily We Roll Along, which began production this year, and will film over the next 20 years, in real time as the characters in the show would age. He’ll be on the Merrily journey with another Broadway star…

Beanie Feldstein

Beanie Feldstein is a theatre kid through and through. She grew up with Ben Platt, and they starred in musicals together in high school. Beanie also attended the theatre camp Stagedoor Manor. She appeared in the movie Neighbors 2, and has had a few television appearances, but her career has skyrocketed over the past few years. Beanie made her Broadway debut as Minnie Fay in Hello, Dolly!, starring alongside the likes of Bette Midler and Kate Baldwin. After taking Broadway by storm, her breakout role as Julie in the Oscar winning film Lady Bird made her a name in Hollywood. The past year, she starred alongside Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart–solidifying that she is a comedic genius in every way shape and form. She stars in another coming of age film, How to Build a Better Girl, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Beanie also has a recurring role on the FX series What We Do in the Dark, and she recently wrapped the film adaptation of Stephen Karam’s Tony winning play, The Humans. She will be in the new season of American Crime Story, playing Monica Lewinsky. And of course, she’ll be returning to her musical roots in the film adaptation of Merrily We Roll Along, where she’s playing Mary Flynn (the role her character played in Lady Bird!)

Laura Dreyfuss

Laura Dreyfuss is most known for originating the role of Zoe Murphy in Dear Evan Hansen, and has become a Broadway fan favorite. She was with DEH in its out of town and off-Broadway runs, and was with the Broadway company for over a year and a half. Prior to that, she was a swing in the national tour and Broadway revival of Hair, and was a standby/replacement for Girl in Once. Laura first stepped into the world of Hollywood royalty Ryan Murphy in 2015, playing Madison McCarthy on the final season of Glee. She also has a recurring role on season two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She’s reunited with Ryan Murphy and Dear Evan Hansen co-star Ben Platt in the Netflix series The Politician. Her fast talking, dry witted McAfee Westbrook is a scene stealer. We can expect more of her greatness in season two! Speaking of greatness, her first single “Be Great” was released in 2018, featuring Jeremy Pope. Under the stage name Loladre, she’s since released a cover of the Foo Fighters “My Hero,” and another original song “Better Drugs.” Fans are eagerly awaiting her debut EP, with more information on its release expected in the coming weeks.

Jeremy Pope

Jeremy Pope had a whirlwind of a year this past Broadway season. He made his Broadway debut in Choir Boy, and did so while rehearsing for Ain’t Too Proud. Immediately after his run in Choir Boy, he starred in Ain’t Too Proud, and earned Tony nominations for his work in both shows. He is only the 6th person to get two nominations in one season, and the first person of color and LGBTQ+ person to accomplish this. He’s become an instant Broadway star, but is gearing up to focus on film/tv next. He appeared in the film The Ranger, which premiered at South by Southwest in 2018, but after Ryan Murphy saw him on Broadway, much bigger things will be in store. He will star in the upcoming Netflix series Hollywood, alongside Darren Criss (and Patti LuPone.) He’s also a musician working on his debut album, and is featured on Loladre’s single “Be Great”. Jeremy is most clearly a man of many talents, all of which are going to make him a huge name in every medium he pursues.

Billy Porter

Billy Porter is a bona fide Broadway star. With a Broadway career spanning nearly 30 years, he has appeared in shows such as Miss Saigon, Grease,Little Shop of Horrors, and Shuffle Along. He is a Tony, Drama Desk, and Grammy Award winner for playing Lola in Kinky Boots. He has also released multiple solo albums with covers and reimaginings of Broadway classics. Outside of theatre, Billy had a recurring role in American Horror Story: Apocalypse, and has been making history starring as Pray Tell in Pose. Pose recently won him an Emmy, and he was the first gay man of color to win the award. It was recently announced that he will be playing the Fairy Godmother in the 2021 remake of Cinderella; but his game changing ways do not stop with his roles. Billy uses fashion to make bold statements – he is sparking conversations about gender roles, prejudices within the industry, and paving the way to a more accepting future. He wore a velvet gown to the Oscars, and has been turning heads on the red carpets of every big event this year, from the Met Gala to the Tonys.

Darren Criss

Darren Criss broke onto the scene as Blaine Anderson on Glee, instantly becoming a fan favorite. Before Glee, he created the theatre company Team Starkid with his University of Michigan classmates. With them, he wrote and starred in A Very Potter Musical. The support of Starkid fans led to two Potter musical sequels, and a slew of other parody musicals from the company. During the height of Glee fame, Darren starred in the 2012 revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. In 2015, he returned to Broadway as the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Since then, he’s brought theatre to a larger audience with the annual Elsie Fest, a concert filled with performances from stars of stage and screen. He’s also released music of his own, both solo and with his band Computer Games. In 2018, Darren won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for playing Andrew Cunanan in The Assasination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Recently, it was announced that he’ll be joining Ryan Murphy again, starring in and producing the new series, Hollywood. He will also be acting, directing, and producing for a new show, Royalties, set to debut on Quibi, and he stars in the film Midway, which will be released in November.

Cynthia Erivo

Cynthia Erivo broke onto the scene in the West End, touring in Sister Act, and the off-West End production of The Color Purple. Playing Miss Celie is what shot her to fame on Broadway, when she started in the 2016 revival– winning the Tony Award (and an Emmy and a Grammy) and the hearts of everyone who’s heard her sing. Cynthia continues to share her musical gift with the world. She is featured on songs with Shoshana Bean, John Legend, Todrick Hall, and Billy Porter. Now, she’s venturing to the screen. In 2018, she began to shine on film, appearing in Bad Times at the El Royale (which she also appears on the soundtrack for) and Widows. Cynthia is playing Harriet Tubman in the upcoming film Harriet, which will be released on November 1st. Speaking of bio-pics, it was recently announced that she will be playing Aretha Franklin in season 3 of the National Geographic series Genius. She’ll also be starring in HBO’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Outsider.

Andrew Rannells

Broadway fans know 2 time Tony nominee Andrew Rannels for his roles in many Broadway hits. After joining the Broadway cast of Hairspray, and touring in Jersey Boys, Andrew made a name for himself as Elder Price in the original cast of The Book of Mormon. He also replaced Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig in 2014’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and stepped in as King George III for a short stint in a little show called Hamilton. In 2016, Andrew played Whizzer in the fan favorite revival of Falsettos, and most recently he graced the Broadway stage as Larry in The Boys in the Band. Between all of that, he was making a splash in the world of television as Elijah on Lena Dunham’s HBO show Girls. He also entered the world of Ryan Murphy with the way too short lived show The New Normal, and he’s had guest roles on shows like Glee, Will & Grace, and How I Met Your Mother. Now, Andrew voices the character Matthew in the hit Netflix show Big Mouth, and stars as Blair Pffaf in the Showtime series Black Monday. Up next, he’ll be reprising his role in The Boys in the Band, this time on film for Netflix, which is expected to be released in 2020.

Anthony Ramos

Anthony Ramos took Broadway by storm when he originated the roles of John Laurens and Phillip Hamilton in Hamilton. Now, he’s taking tv and film by storm too. He stars as Mars Blackmon in Spike Lee’s Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It, with two seasons now available to stream. He also appeared in the 2018 adaptation of A Star is Born, as Ally’s best friend Ramon.He had a recurring role in the reboot of Will & Grace, and will be lending his voice to the upcoming Trolls World Tour movie. And of course, Anthony will be playing Usnavi in the highly anticipated film adaptation of In the Heights. Additionally, he is establishing himself as a singer/songwriter. He started to release original songs in 2017 and his first EP, The Freedom was released in 2018. He has been releasing more singles throughout this year, and June 2019 it was announced the he is signed with Republic Records. His debut album The Good & The Bad will be released on October 25th. His music has gained attention from Billboard, and Elle named him one of “nine rising stars you’re about to see everywhere.”

Lin Manuel Miranda

Obviously everyone who knows musical theatre knows of Lin-Manuel Miranda. In the Heights won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and paved the way for more diversity on stage. Lin also starred in the Encores productions of Merrily We Roll Along and Tick Tick Boom. But ever since the phenomenon that is Hamilton, he has become a household name for everyone. Winning 11 Tony Awards, getting Lin a hosting spot on SNL, a mixtape featuring popular music’s biggest stars… it’s safe to say this was a game changer for Lin and pop culture consumers alike. Since then, he’s written the score to Moana and a song for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, lent his voice to the reboot of DuckTales, starred in Mary Poppins Returns, and produced the limited series Fosse/Verdon. And that’s not including things like guest spots on tv and tweets that became a book. Coming up, he’ll be writing music for the live action remake of The Little Mermaid, executive producing and composing the Kingkiller Chronicle and writing 11 new songs for Vivo. He’s also directing and producing Netflix’s adaptation of Tick Tick Boom, creating a documentary on Rita Moreno with Norman Lear, and playing Lee Scoresby in His Dark Materials. And of course, producing the In the Heights movie and appearing as the Piragua Guy. Lin was recently included in the Hollywood Reporter 100: The Most Powerful People in Entertainment 2019.

Written by Paige Gittelson

Paige is a New York based actor and singer.
See her try to be funny on Twitter @paigelikesbands and Instagram @paigegittelson.

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