You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

From ‘Breaking Bad’ to Broadway: After TV, Stars Step to Stage

Bryan Cranston goes 'All the Way' to Broadway; Matt Smith goes 'Psycho' in London

With Bryan Cranston following up “Breaking Bad” with a Broadway bow and Matt Smith moving from “Doctor Who” to the “American Psycho” musical in London, the stage is becoming an increasingly common stop for actors at the height of their screen careers.

Legit gigs used to be considered the purview of faded stars whose Hollywood opportunities had dried up, but as Cranton and Smith follow in the footsteps of Zachary Quinto — who shifted from his gig in blockbuster “Star Trek Into Darkness” to a well-reviewed perf in the recently opened Rialto revival of “The Glass Menagerie” — it’s becoming increasingly clear that for many stars, the stage isn’t the last-ditch option anymore.

Cranston will star on the Main Stem later this season as Lyndon B. Johnson in “All the Way,” the Robert Schenkkan bio-play in which he’s currently appearing at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. The transfer to Broadway was largely expected even before the production, directed by Bill Rauch, earned strong reviews for Cranston’s perf (if not always the play itself); now the only question for the production’s team of commercial producers, led by Jeffrey Richards (“Glass Menagerie”), is which theater the show will be able to claim in a crowded season.

Meanwhile, Matt Smith, who recently wrapped up his four-year stint in popular BBC skein “Doctor Who,” will take on the murderous lead role in the musical version of “American Psycho” with book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” “Glee”) and music by Duncan Sheik (“Spring Awakening”).  Show will bow in December at London’s Almeida Theater, where a.d. Rupert Goold will direct the production.

Both Cranston and Smith hit the stage just at the height of their smallscreen fame, highlighting the fact that in recent years, stage gigs have become a common prestige stop for an actor’s actor looking to expand his or her range beyond the confines of the screen. Producers, meanwhile, have been more than willing to accommodate busy Hollywood thesps with limited-run productions, since a brief engagement of a star-driven play (often a revival of a familiar title) is considered one of the surest production models for turning a profit on Broadway.

This season the Rialto is already packed with big-name actors on the boards, including Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz (co-starring in “Betrayal”), Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart (both toplining a Pinter-Beckett double bill) and Denzel Washington (heading up a revival of “A Raisin in the Sun”).

Timeline for “All the Way” remains up in the air until it’s decided which Broadway theater the production will be able to score. At the Almeida, “American Psycho” runs Dec. 3-Jan. 25.

More Legit

  • Sophia Anne Caruso and Alex Brightman'Beetlejuice'

    'Beetlejuice' Musical Team Hopes to Attract New Audiences to Broadway

    In the new Broadway adaptation of Tim Burton’s 1988 cult classic film “Beetlejuice,” teenager Lydia takes center-stage alongside the titular gut-busting demon (Alex Brightman) to reflect the famed goth girl’s journey through Beetlejuice’s funhouse of death and disaster. “I think so many people connect to “Beetlejuice” because it’s a story of outsiders, Lydia being the center of [...]

  • Beetlejuice review

    Broadway Review: 'Beetlejuice'

    “Such a bold departure from the original source material!” wisecracks the odd-looking fellow sitting on a coffin at the start of the Broadway musical “Beetlejuice.” The weird, nasty and outrageous title character is talking about a short lament just sung by a sad teen at her mother’s gravesite, as he breaks the fourth wall (“Holy [...]

  • Playwright Mark Medoff author of "Children

    Mark Medoff, 'Children of a Lesser God' Playwright, Dies at 79

    Mark Medoff, the playwright who wrote Tony Award-winning play “Children of a Lesser God,” died Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. He was 79. His daughter Jessica Medoff Bunchman posted news of his death on Facebook, and the Las Cruces Sun-News attributed the cause to cancer. “Children of a Lesser God” starred John Rubinstein and Phyllis Frelich [...]

  • Ink review

    Broadway Review: 'Ink' With Jonny Lee Miller

    Garish, lurid and brash, “Ink,” the British import now on Broadway in a Manhattan Theatre Club production, is the theatrical equivalent of its subject, the UK’s Daily Sun — the newspaper that reshaped British journalism and propelled Rupert Murdoch’s ascent to media mogul. Like the tabloid, it feels unsubstantial, rushed and icky. You can’t say [...]

  • All My Sons review

    London Theater Review: 'All My Sons' With Sally Field, Bill Pullman

    If “All My Sons” is showing its age, it sure shows no signs of abating. Just days after a major revival opened on Broadway, moving Annette Bening and Tracy Letts into the Tony zone, up the play pops in London. The Old Vic has arguably secured the starrier cast, too: Bill Pullman and Sally Field [...]

  • Tootsie review

    Broadway Review: 'Tootsie'

    The new Broadway adaptation of “Tootsie” is old-fashioned and proud of it — and it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser, in this musical spin on the 1982 film comedy with Santino Fontana in the Dustin Hoffman role. Robert Horn (book) and Tony-winner David Yazbek (score) have a high old time poking fun at theatrical rituals — the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content