From the big screen to the big stage

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Movie actors, such as James Franco, Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, are now making their mark on Broadway stages. Izzy Sio ’16

In the past year, many movie stars have broadened their horizons, branching out from their traditional roles on the silver screen and making a debut onto The Great White Way. After gaining fame in the movie business, some actors are starting to utilize their talents on Broadway.
Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Mr. James Franco, best known for his recent roles in the films The Interview and 127 Hours, starred in the play Of Mice and Men this past summer, alongside Tony Award nominee Mr. Chris O’Dowd.
Adapted from the twentieth century novel by John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men follows two migrant workers in California during the Great Depression. Mr. Franco and Mr. O’Dowd portray George and Lennie, respectively, who are two friends that plan to follow their dreams of owning land in America. But, when unexpected challenges interfere, George must choose between helping his friend or continuing his journey alone.
Convent of the Sacred Heart senior Pippa Leigh is a passionate actress who played the lead role in Sacred Heart’s production of  Anything Goes last year. She understands why some actors may want to perform on Broadway.
“Both acting stages are rewarding although in movies and television there is a wait time after filming to see the audience’s reaction. Whereas in live theatre, actors experience the reactions of the audience instantly which adds to the acting in the moment,” Pippa said.

Movie actors, such as James Franco, Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, are now making their mark on Broadway stages. Izzy Sio '16
Movie actors, such as James Franco, Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, are now making their mark on Broadway stages.
Izzy Sio ’16

Double Academy and Golden Globe award winner, Mr. Denzel Washington, starred in the Tony Award-winning revival of A Raisin in the Sun based on Lorraine Hansberry’s 1951 play. The show was on Broadway from April 3 to June 15, 2014. Mr. Washington has an extensive repertoire of films, including Training Day, Glory and Remember the Titans, all of which have received awards.
Upper School English Teacher Dr. Cristina Baptista got a glimpse of Mr. Washington’s transition to Broadway when she watched him play the renowned role of Walter Lee Younger.
“Denzel Washington was a remarkable Walter Lee Younger in A Raisin in the Sun and it’s fair to say, I think, that his star-power probably helped draw more attention to Lorraine Hansberry’s play. When actors like Washington help revive plays like this every so often, plays with heartfelt and timeless messages that truly force people to rethink the world and people they think they know, the performers contribute to the play’s legacy,” Dr. Baptista said. “They ensure its story and Hansberry’s continue to endure and resonate with yet another generation. Washington has experience, range, and a presence during all of these dramatic turns.  So, he was well-cast in the role itself, and as someone whose household name can maintain the play’s lasting power.” 
Star of  Silver Linings Playbook and American Sniper and two-time Academy Award nominee, Mr. Bradley Cooper, is currently starring in the classic Tony Award-winning play, The Elephant Man. This play recounts the true story of the life of Joseph Merrick, a British man who became the star of a traveling circus act because of his severe medical deformities. The Elephant Man will be playing at Booth Theatre on 222 West 45th Street in Manhattan until February 22.
“But the great thing … about the play is I stand on this stage every night – me, not as him. And with the audience we take that journey to become him together – I feel like I go away. I don’t ever think about the breathing or the contortion,” Mr. Cooper said about the play, which is based on the 1980 film that inspired him to become an actor, according to cbsnews.com
Actress Ms. Emma Stone is also showing off her musical skills in Cabaret, while Academy Award nominee Mr. Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the first American production of Constellations, a play about the infinite possibilities and choices presented in life, according to constellationsbroadway.com.
The wide variety of performance arts allows for actors to explore new opportunities that provide more experience and a larger audience.
“In any case, it is a pure joy to see actors you admire up close, in real life. That is where you can truly assess their talent, as well as see how much heart and devotion they have when it comes to theatre,” Dr. Baptista said. “Anyone who puts himself or herself under such scrutiny by strangers for about eight performances a week has to have incredible endurance, discipline, and mental fortitude.”
– Cheyann Greirson, Staff Writer