Hollywood Hits Broadway
Jennifer Garner in Cyrano De Bergerac
In 1995, a passion for the stage led Garner to N.Y.C., where she toiled as a restaurant hostess while in pursuit of her dream. After struggling to make ends meet as an understudy, Garner later got her first taste of success when she scored the lead role on the award-winning TV series Alias and became a household name thanks to movies like 13 Going on 30. "All the stuff I've done in TV and movies has been accidental. I ended up auditioning for TV while I was an understudy, because I was so broke," she has said. Garner finally hit Broadway in 2007, playing the role of Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac.
Julia Roberts in Three Days of Rain
With her megawatt smile and southern charm, Roberts catapulted to super-stardom in the romantic comedy Pretty Woman and has since won an Oscar, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and a SAG award. In 2006, she took on the role of Nan opposite stage veterans Bradley Cooper and Paul Rudd in Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain. Roberts didn't score a Tony nod for her performance, but still appeared to celebrate her peers at the 2006 Tony Awards, where she called the assembled group of Broadway actors "insanely talented people."
Madonna in Speed the Plow
The Material Girl studied with well-known choreographer Alvin Ailey, but she showed off a whole new set of moves in 1988 when she made her debut on the Great White Way in David Mamet's Speed The Plow. While the pop goddess's music career was off the charts, her stage work kicked off a debate about her acting talents that persists today. "I'm a good actress," she has said. "Contrary to what everyone says."
Ashlee Simpson in Chicago
At the tender age of 11, Simpson was the youngest student ever admitted to the School of American Ballet in New York City. By 14, she was on the road as older sister Jessica Simpson toured the country, and not long after was a pop star in her own right. In 2006, Ashlee made her way to London's West End, where she took on the role of Roxie Hart in a production of Chicago. "It's a blast," Simpson, who received a standing ovation from the audience-which included her family and her future husband, Pete Wentz-said of her first night. "It's my dream."
Cynthia Nixon in Rabbit Hole
Many know her as Miranda from the iconic HBO series Sex and The City, but Nixon's first love is the stage. Her on and off Broadway credits include Angels in America, The Heidi Chronicles and The Women. When she was just a freshman at Barnard College, Nixon appeared simultaneously in two hit plays, but it wasn't until 2006 that she scored her first Tony for her wrenching performance in Rabbit Hole.
Usher in Chicago
Usher got his start singing for his church choir at the tender age of six. Discovered at a talent show, the smooth singer was soon dominating the R&B charts and scoring Hollywood acting gigs. In 2006, Usher made his Broadway debut playing slimy lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago. "Broadway is like a monogamous relationship," the talented song-and-dance man has said. "Doing anything else, like acting in Hollywood-which is great-it's like a one-night stand. You do it and then you keep moving."
John Stamos in Nine
Stamos got his start as a soap star, and then moved to prime time to play the role of Jesse Katsopolis on the hit sitcom Full House. But before moving on to his current gig as an ER doc, Stamos starred in Broadway shows like How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Cabaret. In 2003, he hit the stage to play Lothario Guido Contini in Nine, also starring Eartha Kitt, Sara Gettelfinger and Mary Stuart Masterson.
Claire Danes in Pygmalion
Danes burst onto the scene in the mid '90s TV series My So-Called Life and moved on to the big screen in flicks like Little Women, Romeo + Juliet, and Shopgirl. But before Hollywood came calling, Danes was in training to become a professional dancer. In 2005, she debuted a full-length solo dance piece, Christina Olson: American Model, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting Christina’s World. Two years later, the New York City native made her first appearance on Broadway as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion.
Terrence Howard in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The Philidelphia native--who credits his grandmother, actress Minnie Gentry, for inspiring him to act--is currently treading the boards in an all-black production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway. But despite getting great reviews for his performance, Howard insists that he's still not sure acting is his thing. "Science is still my main focus," Howard, who studied chemical engineering at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, told New York magazine in March.
Julianne Moore in the The Vertical Hour
Moore got her start appearing in off-Broadway plays, but soon turned to daytime TV, playing half-sisters Frannie and Sabrina on the soap As the World Turns. A Daytime Emmy and a few Oscar nominations later, Moore played the role of a Yale-educated war correspondent in the 2006 political drama, The Vertical Hour, marking the first time she had been on a New York stage since 1992's Vanya on 42nd Street.
Taye Diggs in Rent
No stranger to Broadway, Diggs made his debut in 1994 in the Broadway revival of Carousel. In 1996, he was among the original cast of the groundbreaking musical Rent, where he met future wife Idina Menzel. Diggs, who also starred in the movie version of Rent, has also made appearances on the Great White Way in Chicago and Wicked.
TUNE IN! Watch the 2008 Tony Awards Sunday, June 15th on CBS and check out InStyle.com for all the action from the red carpet.