From Superheroes to Rappers: See These Screen Stars on Broadway! | Playbill

Special Features From Superheroes to Rappers: See These Screen Stars on Broadway!

Meet the television and film actors making their Main Stem debuts this fall.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, John David Washington, Eden Epstein, and Amir Arison.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, John David Washington, Eden Epstein, and Amir Arison.

It's not at all uncommon for actors to temporarily abandoned the cameras of Hollywood for the bright lights of Broadway. This season will see a few actors who've made their name in film and television return to the Main Stem. Samuel L. Jackson is currently on stage in the revival of The Piano Lesson, a show in which he made his Broadway debut in 1990, just at the start of his explosive film career. Danielle Brooks first garnered attention in Netflix's Orange Is the New Black, before her Tony-nominated debut in The Color Purple; she's also starring in The Piano Lesson. 

A slew of television and film credits follow Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Treme) back to Broadway, where he's currently leading the revival of Death of a Salesman. David Krumholtz made his Broadway debut 40 years ago as a child actor before going to L.A. and landing roles in The Santa Claus films and Numbers; he's currently starring in the sprawling family drama Leopoldstadt. Grey's Anatomy's Jesse Williams returns to the remount of Take Me Outreprising his Tony-nominated performance from last season. 

In addition to those returns, a few more actors from the large and small screens are making their Broadway debuts this fall. From superheroes to rappers, audiences will be treated to a handful of familiar faces. Below, here are stars you can watch out for  on Broadway this season.

Eden Epstein in See. AppleTV+

Eden Epstein made her television debut in the two-season STARZ series SweetBitter as wild-child waitress Ariel. She was introduced in season two of the Apple TV+ dystopian series SEE, playing the character of Wren in the Jason Momoa-led futuristic fantasy.

Epstein can be seen doing the Charleston in her Main Stem bow as Hermine in Tom Stoppard's sprawling family drama Leopoldstadt.

John David Washington in Blackkklansman. © 2018 FOCUS FEATURES LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

John David Washington's first film role came at age seven playing a student in Spike Lee's 1992 biopic Malcolm X, alongside his father Denzel in the title role. Following a college and professional football career, Washington returned to the family business (his mother Pauletta is also an actor) in the HBO comedy series Ballers, showing off his field skills for five seasons (2015–2019) as NFL athlete Ricky Jerret. He received a Golden Globe nomination for his role in the 2018 Spike Lee film BlacKkKlansman, and will next be seen in the upcoming David O. Russell film Amsterdam. 

Washington is making his Broadway debut as Boy Willie in the current revival of August Wilson's Pulitzer-winning play The Piano Lesson. 

Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Trai Byers, and Bryshere Y. Gray in Empire. Chuck Hodes/FOX

After short character arcs in both All My Children and 90210, Yale School of Drama grad Trai Byers got his breakthrough role in 2015 on the Fox series Empire. He appeared as a series regular star in all six seasons of the nighttime soap as Andre Lyon, eldest son of hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) and queenpin Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), and heir-apparent to the Empire Entertainment throne. It wasn't on stage, but Empire did have a theatrical edge: it was based on King Lear.

Byers' Broadway debut performance is as Avery, beau to Danielle Brooks' Berniece in The Piano Lesson. 

Ray Fisher as Cyborg / Victor Stone in Zack Snyder's Justice League. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO Max

After several years of regional theatre and Off-Broadway work, Ray Fisher lept onto the big screen in 2016, creating the first Black superhero in the DC Extended Universe. His Victor Stone/Cyborg has appeared in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, and the four-hour Zack Snyder's Justice League. He was also seen as Gene Mobley — the father of Emmett Till, where he played opposite Tony winner Adrienne Warren — in the ABC limited series Women of the Movement.

Fisher is making his Broadway debut as Lymon in The Piano Lesson. 

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen. Mark Hill/HBO

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's television career started in 2016 with the disco-infused Netflix series The Get Down, created by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!) and Stephen Adly Guirgis (Between Riverside and Crazy). In 2018, he created the role of Black Manta for the DC Extended Universe, appearing in Aquaman. He took home an Emmy for his work as Doctor Manhattan in the 2019 HBO superhero miniseries Watchmen.

Mateen is currently appearing alongside Corey Hawkins in the revival of Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer-winning play Topdog/Underdog.

Common (left) Denzel Washington (Center) in American Gangsters Universal Pictures / David Lee

Common began his performance career as a rap artist a full decade before he began acting, releasing his first album Can I Borrow a Dollar? in 1992. He earned his first Grammy in 2003 for the single "Love of My Life," and an Oscar in 2015 for the song "Glory" from the film Selma, in which he also appeared as civil rights activist Jame Bevel. He began acting in 2003 with small roles and cameos as himself before landing larger roles in the mid-aughts in films such as Smokin' Aces, American Gangster, and Street Kings. He was also seen guarding the Emerald City in the NBC television event The Wiz Live!

Common will join the original 2014 Off-Broadway company in the Broadway premiere of Stephen Adly Guirgis' Pulitzer winner Between Riverside and Crazy, beginning November 30 at Second Stage's Hayes Theater. 

Paul Bettany in Wandavision
Paul Bettany in Wandavision. Photo Marvel Studios

English actor Paul Bettany has been on screen for over 20 years, with memorable roles in A Knight's TaleA Beautiful MindDogville, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. He's also well-known for his roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: as the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. in the Iron Man films and as Vision, for which he earned an Emmy nomination for the Disney+ series WandaVision.

Bettany will make his Broadway debut this winter as pop artist Andy Warhol in the West End transfer of The Collaboration.

Amir Arison as Aram Mojtabai and Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen (<i>The Blacklist </i>&quot;The Capricorn Killer&quot; Episode 516)
Amir Arison as Aram Mojtabai and Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen (The Blacklist "The Capricorn Killer" Episode 516) Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Amir Arison's acting career began with a slew of appearances on episodic television, including three different series of the Law & Order franchise. In 2013, he landed a series regular role on NBC's The Blacklist, playing FBI tech expert Aram Mojtabai, appearing in over 150 episodes in nine seasons. 

Arison can currently be seen as the main character Amir in the stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's moving novel The Kite Runner.

 
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