Bright lights, big city stages

June 12, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

Maybe they do it to stretch different acting muscles.

Maybe they want something to do during a hiatus from their TV show.

Or maybe it's a way to stay away from the massive audiences of film and TV who know them so well as one particular character.

Whatever the reason, there's a long-standing tradition of TV or movie actors performing live theater. We've rounded up a list of actors performing a weekend trip away, whether it's on Broadway, off-Broadway, in Central Park, even in Chicago.

For instance, Daniel Radcliffe, in between filming "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and the film's scheduled Nov. 21 release, will begin his Broadway run in "Equus." Radcliffe stars in the story about a disturbed stable boy. The show might not be appropriate for young Potter fans -- there are mature themes and onstage nudity.


David LeShay, director of communications for Theatre Development Fund, advises buying tickets now to shows you really want to see. Even though the curtain doesn't rise on "Equus" until September, it's a hot ticket.

If theatergoers have more leeway, they can try getting into a show with same-day discount tickets at places such as at the booth in Times Square, LeShay said. Theatre Development Fund runs the same-day discount booth.

A good place to check for current and upcoming shows starring household names is's Celebrity Buzz section. The theater magazine site also occasionally offers tips for buying tickets to hot shows at its Insider Info page.

See what shows had tickets available through Theatre Development Fund's booths the previous week at

Here are some current and upcoming shows that feature well-known actors from TV and the movies:

Now playing

· Sam Waterston, aka Jack McCoy of "Law & Order," portrays Polonius in Shakespeare in the Park's "Hamlet" in New York City's Central Park. The production also features Andre Braugher ("Homicide: Life on the Street"), Lauren Ambrose ("Six Feet Under") and Margaret Colin ("Independence Day"). Runs through Sunday, June 29, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Tickets are free and distributed at Delacorte Theatre or through A limited number of tickets will be available each show day online.

· Taylor Hicks, the "American Idol" season five winner who performed at The Maryland Theatre last July, took over the role of Teen Angel in "Grease" on June 6. Hicks is expected to be in the show at Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City, through Sept. 7.

· Laurence Fishburne is Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in "Thurgood" at The Booth Theatre, New York City, through July 20. Fishburne has been in many movies, including the "Matrix" trilogy. Call 800-432-7250 or go to

· Bradley Whitford, who played Josh Lyman on "The West Wing" and was in movies such as "Billy Madison" and "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," is in "Boeing-Boeing" at Longacre Theatre, New York City. An architect juggles three fiancées, all of whom are flight attendants. Also stars Christine Baranski, who was in the TV show &Cybill;" Gina Gershon, who appeared in "Ugly Betty" and "Rescue Me" last year; and Mary McCormack, who is in the new USA Network show "In Plain Sight." Call 800-432-7250 or go to


· Drew Lachey ("Dancing With the Stars" and 98 Degrees) and Stephen Collins ("Seventh Heaven") will join the Broadway cast of "Monty Python's Spamalot" on Tuesday, June 24. Collins will portray King Arthur and Lachey will play his trusted manservant, Patsy. "Spamalot" won the Tony for best musical in 2005. Shubert Theatre, New York City. Call 800-432-7250 or go to

· Jamie Farr, who played Klinger on the TV show "M*A*S*H," will star in "Flamingo Court," a comedy about a community of retirees, beginning in July at New World Stages off Broadway, New York City. Previews start July 17; opens July 31. Call 800-432-7250 or go to

· Daniel Radcliffe, who portrays Harry Potter in the movies, will be on Broadway in "Equus," about a disturbed stable boy. One of his co-stars in "Equus," Richard Griffiths, plays Potter's Uncle Vernon in the movies. Previews start Sept. 5. Opening night is Sept. 25. Broadhurst Theatre, New York City.

· William Petersen will take a break from playing Gil Grissom on "CSI" to hit a Chicago stage in "Dublin Carol." A man's life is almost destroyed by drinking. His estranged daughter appears on Christmas Eve and a series of confessions offer the man a chance to escape the burdens of his past. Nov. 13 through Dec. 21 at Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago. Tickets go on sale Sept. 25. Call 312-335-1650 or go to

· David Schwimmer of "Friends" will be in "Our Town" at Lookingglass Theatre Company's Water Tower Water Works building in Chicago. The show opens Feb. 11, 2009. Tickets for nonsubscribers are expected to go on sale in February, but could be sold earlier, so keep an eye out at or call 312-337-0665.

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