12 Broadway Cameos in CBS’s Elsbeth | Playbill

Film & TV Features 12 Broadway Cameos in CBS’s Elsbeth

From Jane Krakowski to André De Shields, check out the surprising Broadway guest stars on the first season of the new murder mystery series.

Carra Patterson, Wendell Pierce, and Carrie Preton on Elsbeth Michael Parmelee

In February, CBS debuted its latest spin-off from the series The Good Wife franchise, Elsbeth. The series stars Emmy-winner and Broadway alum Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni, “an astute but unconventional attorney who uses her singular point of view to make unique observations and corner brilliant criminals alongside the NYPD,” according to the official synopsis. The investigative murder mystery series also stars Broadway performers Wendell Pierce (Death of a Salesman) and Carra Patterson (Jitney).

The show takes place and films in New York City. Lucky for us, that means a plethora of Broadway performers making guest star appearances. To commemorate last night's season finale, Playbill watched the entire first season (now streaming on Paramount+). 

Below are some of our favorite cameos from actors who have walked the boards on Broadway. Elsbeth has been renewed, so we're excited to see which stage favorite will appear on season 2! Perhaps a reunion with Christine Baranski or Audra McDonald?

Stop reading now if you want to avoid spoilers.

Jane Krakowski, Greg Hildreth, and Linda Lavin on Elsbeth Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

Episode 2: "A Classic New York Character"

Whether you live in the Big Apple or not, we all know the old saying, “you can’t choose your neighbors.” In the second episode of Elsbeth, a luxury Upper East Side co-op board knows that phrase all too well. Tony-winner Linda Lavin plays the building’s president from hell, who torments her neighbors to point of…murder? And playing her black sheep son, who takes verbal and psychological abuse from the witch of the Upper East Side is Greg Hildreth from the recent revival of Company.

And in a high-climbing cameo, Tony-winner Jane Krakowski plays Joann, a high-powered real estate agent with wealthy clients…and even bigger secrets!

Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Elsbeth Michael Parmelee/CBS

Episode 3: "Reality Shock"

When one of the stars from a knock-off Real Housewives reality show is electrocuted in her bathtub, who could be the murderer? Could it be a fellow co-star? Or could it be Tony-winner Jesse Tyler Ferguson as the reality show’s creator and producer? Good thing Elsbeth is on the case.

Paloma Garcia-Lee and Retta on Elsbeth Michael Parmelee/CBS

Episode 4: "Love Knocked Off"

Love isn’t easy and finding it in a big city is even harder. Paloma Garcia-Lee plays a demanding, self-obsessed, socialite who is asking for the moon when it comes to her love life. Will her luxury matchmaker be able to find her a match or will she have to resort to other measures to make her client happy?

Blair Underwood on Elsbeth Michael Parmelee/CBS

Episode 5: "Ball Girl"

We all know about stage moms, but what about sport dads? Blair Underwood, who recently appeared in the Tony-winning revival of A Soldier's Play, guest stars as the father to an up-and-coming tennis player who will make sure his son comes out on top at the US Open…by any means necessary!

Gina Gershon and Micaela Diamond on Elsbeth Michael Parmelee/CBS

Episode 6: "An Ear for an Ear"

Beauty is pain... And so is MURDER! When a social media famous plastic surgeon is found dead, her former boss and mentor, played by Gina Gershon, is under investigation. Could her cold and unbothered disposition be a sign of a killer? Or can she simply not be bothered? In charge of the investigation is last year’s Parade Tony nominee Micaela Diamond as Detective Edwards, who is not too happy about having Elsbeth intruding on her case. Will Diamond’s character take help or go down fighting? 

(PS: Diamond’s character returns on episode 8 as the lead detective on the investigation of a reporter’s death.)

Carrie Preston and Keegan-Michael Key on Elsbeth Michael Parmelee/CBS

Episode 7: "Something Blue"

What’s worse than a bridezilla? How about a father of the bride that will go to wild lengths to make sure his family and business’s reputation are the perfect picture of success? Keegan-Michael Key (Schmigadoon!) plays a shady, finance advisor whose daughter’s fancy country club wedding leads to a death on the gold course.

PS: This episode is also loaded with musical theatre references, including the episode's climax where Preston and Key dance to "Hot Honey Rag" from Chicago.

Arian Moayed and Carrie Preston on Elsbeth Michael Parmelee/CBS

Episode 9: "Sweet Justice"

Bartenders, they’re the cheapest therapists on the planet. From last season’s A Doll's House revival, Arian Moayed plays a bar owner and mixologist wizard who goes above and beyond for all his favorite customers. When his favorite patron is being haunted by an old bully. Will he be her dashing superhero or an unlawful vigilante?

Laura Benanti and André De Shields on Elsbeth Michael Parmelee/CBS

Episode 10: "A Fitting Finale"

In the series’ first season finale, they’ve called in the big guns! When a photographer is murdered during a fashion show, who could have done it? Was it stage favorite Laura Benanti as the retiring supermodel with a confusing Madonna-like British accent? Or could it be the legendary fashion designer and mentor, played by the iconic André De Shields? Which Tony winner did it? You'll just have to watch to find out.

Honorable mentions 

Alex Wyse as a singer waiter in episode 5, Daniel Davis (Nilles from TV's The Nanny) as an aging plastic surgeon colleague in episode 6, and Amber Ardolino & Adam Kaplan as an exotic dancer with a heart of gold and a wedding choreographer, respectively, in episode 7.

Season One of Elsbeth is available now to stream on Paramount+.

Photos: Laura Benanti, André De Shields, Jane Krakowski, More Guest Star on Elsbeth

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