Celebrities on Broadway

If you're a stargazer, instead of just looking up at the sky, turn your gaze toward Broadway.  Productions are loaded with celebrities. It's another way to entice tourists to buy some tickets.

It's Only a Play by Terence McNally is the most obvious, with a cast that includes Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, F. Murray Abraham, Stockard Channing, Rubert Grint, and Micah Stock. It reminds me of the revival of Gore Vidal's The Best Man a few seasons ago.

Love Letters by A.R. Gurney features a group of well-known names jumping into the two lead roles for limited performances -- Brian Dennehy and Mia Farrow, Brian Dennehy and Carol Burnett, Alan Alda and Candice Bergen, Stacy Keach and Diana Rigg, and Martin Sheen and Anjelica Huston. It's a gimmick that's quite enticing and might encourage theatergoers to see the play more than once.

Want more?  Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Cynthia Nixon, and Josh Hamilton will be in The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard.

Shows have often been headlined by stars, but is only one big name sometimes not enough?  How many superstars can Broadway productions squeeze "above the title?"

If you're satisfied with one or two household names, you can catch James Earl Jones in You Can't Take It With You (although you'll probably recognize the faces of Byron Jennings, Mark Linn-Baker, and many of the others). You might want to see Cabaret with Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams (who will be replaced by another star, Emma Stone, when her stint is up.)

Plenty of shows have a celebrity playing a role, and many of them are extremely talented. Their names add instant recognition to a project and hopefully their thespian skills make audiences believe in the characters they portray instead of distract from the story. Bradley Cooper will be in The Elephant Man, Larry David will be in Fish in the Dark, Tony Danza will be in Honeymoon in Vegas, Hellen Mirren will be in The Audience, and Hugh Jackman will be in The River, to name just a few.

Are their names enough to make you think twice about paying to see a live show you may have not otherwise gone to see?