Gutenberg! The Musical may have made headlines as the long-awaited reunion of Book of Mormon costars Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad. But in the past few months, it's made waves for just how many celebrities the show has been able to convince to make cameo appearances.
As the Broadway run of Gutenberg! The Musical comes to an end January 28, we're looking back at some of the celebrities that walked the boards of the James Earl Jones Theatre in cameo appearances.
The musical, written by Anthony King and Scott Brown, stars Tony nominees Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells as Bud and Doug, two amateur theatre-makers who have written a show about Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press. They've put their money together and rented out a space, hoping to find a Broadway producer to put their show on the Main Stem. Because they spent all their money on the venue, they couldn't hire actors, so have to play all the parts themselves. Yellow trucker caps with character names across the top help the audience keep track of who's who.
Stop reading now if you want to avoid spoilers.
Each night of the three-month run of Gutenberg!, there just happened to be a "famous Broadway producer" in the audience. That famous Broadway producer (with a yellow hat reading "Producer") was usually played by a different celebrity, and it was always a surprise to the audience who it might be. There were Tony-winning musical theatre stars like Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, comedians like Amy Sedaris (or so we think...there was a mustache involved), and even politicians like Senator Chuck Schumer.
Josh Gad revealed on Instagram that while he and co-star Andrew Rannells act surprised on the stage when the celebrity guest reveals themselves, they actually do rehearse before the show.
Below, we chose Top 10 celebrity cameos of Gutenberg! Rankings were based on wow-factor with gettability, performance, in-jokes, and all-out fun considered.
10. Billy Crystal
Ever the comedian, Billy Crystal had us laughing when he took a few liberties with his producer script. He referred to Bud and Doug as "Bert and Ernie," gave Gad a note about his devil tongue, and professed the show "medium" instead of "fantastic."
9. Anna Wintour and Anne Hathaway
As an avid theatre fan and gal-about-town, the Vogue Editor-in-Chief has long been walking Broadway opening night red carpets, so it was just a matter of time before she walked right up on stage. (And really, the title producer isn't too far-fetched, her daughter Bee Shaffer is an actual Broadway producer.) But, of course, with Anne Hathaway at Wintour's side as her assistant, the nod to the film The Devil Wears Prada was too much for us to resist.
We're never not going to love Lin-Manuel Miranda. That's just the way it is. Listen to that crowd as this producer took the stage.
7. Patti LuPone
We thought we'd never see Patti LuPone on a Broadway stage again after she gave up her Equity card in 2022. So, her Gutenberg! cameo was a pleasant surprise (and she, luckily, didn't have to tell anyone to turn off their phones).
6. "Weird Al" Yankovic
An unlikely guest, yet a perfect fit, was parody pop performer "Weird Al" Yankovic. Clad in his trademark Hawaiian shirt and a trucker cap resting upon his long curls, the comedian accompanied his Broadway contract presentation with a maniacal laugh and some extra tight hugs.
5. Steve Guttenberg! The Actor
Like, they had to, right? His last name is Guttenberg. Not only did 1980s film star Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy, Three Men and a Baby, Cocoon) appear as producer one night early in the run, but Rannells and Gad had some fun making a few other videos with him.
3. Steve Martin and Martin Short
They not only got one comedy legend, but two! Martin Short and Steve Martin, who lead the Hulu comedy mystery series Only Murders in the Building, stopped by together, contract in hand. By now, we're sure you can see that this section is scripted, with the producer character assigned the same few lines.
Of course, there are some actors who add a touch of improv, but Short had us cackling when he called for his line (and you can read this interview with the show's music Marco Paguia to learn how they came up with that rollicking moment).
2. Nathan Lane
He's Max Bialystock, famous Broadway Producer—or rather, the Tony-winning actor who played him, Nathan Lane. "I had the same feeling when I saw Cats," Lane ad libs as he offers Bud and Doug their Broadway contact. Then as he leaves, he tells the audience, "I'll see you all at Sardi's." We'll take you up on that, Mr. Bialystock.
1. Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton brought audiences to their feet when she recently stepped on the stage to present the boys with their Broadway contract. A longtime theatre fan, Secretary Clinton really is taking on the title of producer this year, but for the new Shaina Taub musical Suffs.