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Meryl Streep posing for the camera with her right arm propping her head up, by Nesdad, under CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0

You’ve probably watched most of these celebrities on TV or in movies. Some of them, like Glee stars Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison, you already know are singers, but others may surprise you. Here are 10 famous TV or movie stars who started on Broadway before reaching the wider fame they enjoy now.

1. Neil Patrick Harris

Before Neil Patrick Harris was collecting women’s numbers in How I Met Your Mother, he had his eye on John F. Kennedy in his portrayal of Lee Harvey Oswald in Assassins.

2. Sarah Jessica Parker

It’s hard to picture the Manolo Blahnik-obsessed Carrie Bradshaw singing hopeful tunes in an orphanage, but Sarah Jessica Parker was one of the original Annies on Broadway. How adorable was she?!

3. Lea Michele

It probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that Lea Michele got her start on Broadway. She became famous for her role in Spring Awakening, but was already on Broadway at age 9.

4. Matthew Morrison

Like his Glee costar, Matthew Morrison had a lengthy Broadway career before landing the role of Will Schuester. Here he is in Light in the Piazza.

5. Kristen Bell

Before she was building a snowman in Frozen, Kristen Bell was falling in love with Tom Sawyer.

6. Jane Krakowski

Before she was abusing Liz Lemon in 30 Rock, Jane Krakowski was roller skating in Starlight Express and developing a cold in Guys and Dolls.

7. Meryl Streep

It’s hard to imagine a time when Meryl Streep wasn’t a wildly famous movie star, but here’s an interview from her early days in theater.

8. Florence Henderson

Everyone remembers Florence Henderson from The Brady Bunch, but before she landed that role, she had a fairly extensive list of Broadway credits. Here she is singing “I Have to Tell you” from the Broadway show Fanny.

9. Megan Hilty

I’m sure it will surprise no one that Megan Hilty from Smash had Broadway roots. Here she is as Glinda in Wicked.


10. Anna Kendrick

Before Anna Kendrick was singing with cups, she was singing alongside Cabaret’s Kit Kat Girls at the age of 13.

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