Fans of Broadway’s The Book of Mormon, rejoice! A rep for Andrew Rannells has confirmed the Tony-nominated actor has signed on to star in Ryan Murphy’s untitled NBC comedy pilot about a gay couple and their surrogate mother. (I “Believe” that this will turn out to be a good choice!) It’s exciting news for any theater lover, but, of course, Rannells isn’t the first stage vet to make the leap onto the small screen. In fact, 2012 is shaping up to be a very Broadway-friendly year for television: Not only will we soon see Broadway staple Megan Hilty — and fellow thesps Christian Borle, Brian d’Arcy James and Will Chase – star on NBC’s Smash, but news came earlier this week that Glee has cast stage vet Brian Stokes Mitchell as one of Rachel’s gay dads.
Unfortunately, though I can’t be the only one excitedly crossing my fingers for Smash, star power in the theatre doesn’t always translate onto TV. Rannells, Hilty, and Mitchell join a long list of stage veterans who have made the transition to television – or at least attempted it. Save for a few cases of extravagant luck, often the most celebrated stage performers wind up in thankless roles in the ensembles of failed sitcoms or in bodybags on Law & Order. But how did some of Broadway’s more notable stars manage a switch to the small screen? Here’s a rundown of some who forged a path from the Great White Way to TV land – and how they fared:
Name: Matthew Morrison
Broadway experience: Before his curly hair was a Sue Sylvester punchline, it was pomaded into oblivion when Morrison originated the role of heartthrob Link Larkin in Hairspray. READ FULL STORY