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Top 10 Celebrities Who Started in Theatre

Script written by Spencer Sher Before they became big stars these celebs started in theatre! Chris Evans, Sarah Jessica Parker, Emma Stone, Chris Evans, Hugh Jackman, Anna Kendrick, Kristen Bell, Julie Andrews, Lea Michelle and Kristen Chenoweth are theatre kids at heart!

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Top 10 Celebrities Who Started in Theatre

Thespians, the lot of them! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrities Who Started in Theatre.

For this list, we’ll be taking a look at actors and actresses who got their start on the stage before making the jump to film and television work.

#10: Andrew Garfield

This web-head was popping up on stages all over the UK before his tenure as “The Amazing Spider-Man”. Garfield secured one of his first acting roles at the age of nine, when he appeared in a stage production of “Bugsy Malone” being performed by a youth theatre group. After attending several prestigious acting courses, Garfield rose through the ranks of the British theatre scene, eventually appearing as Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet”. And he’s not the only Spider-Man who’s started on stage; Tom Holland honed his grace and acrobatic skills playing the title role in “Billy Elliot the Musical” before swinging into mainstream movie theaters with “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

#9: Chris Evans

He may have become a household name thanks to his portrayal of Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but his dramatic roots go all the way back to the Concord Youth Theater in his home state of Massachusetts. It was there that he caught the acting bug, appearing in plays alongside his siblings, as their mother - who was and continues to be the theater's artistic director – guided them. Evans claims that he “fell in love” and that he “started doing plays year-round.” All that hard work must have paid off, as he’s now firmly entrenched as a member of the Hollywood A-List!

#8: Emma Stone

Emma Stone made her acting debut when she was just eleven years old, playing the role of Otter in a production of The Wind in the Willows. The future Oscar winner soon became a mainstay at Phoenix’s Valley Youth Theatre, appearing in a range of productions that included Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Princess and the Pea. Stone actually credits her time in theater as helping her overcome the panic attacks she used to suffer from as a child. Stone moved to Los Angeles a few years later, and the rest, as they, say is history.

#7: Sarah Jessica Parker

Long before she was Carrie Bradshaw on HBO’s “Sex and the City”, Sarah Jessica Parker was a young, aspiring performer who was drawn to the world of theater. Her first part was in a play called The Innocents when she was eleven. She later scored a role in a production of The Sound of Music and by the time she was 14 she landed the lead role in a Broadway production of Annie. Soon after she was cast in the short lived TV series “Square Pegs” and from there her film and television career blossomed.

#6: Hugh Jackman

It may be surprising for Wolverine, but the man behind the claws is a regular song and dance man. Jackman is renowned for his on stage abilities, and his love affair with theatre began in 1985, when he shined in a production of the classic musical My Fair Lady. Since then he’s appeared in countless films and theatre productions, including Broadway productions of The Boy from Oz in 2003 and The River in 2014. While he’s best known for portraying a mutant with retractable claws, Hugh Jackman is a theatre man through and through.

#5: Kristin Chenoweth

With a bachelor’s degree in musical theater and a masters in opera performance it’s pretty clear that Kristen Chenoweth has devoted a lot of time to perfecting her craft. The Oklahoma native began appearing in plays while she was still in high school, but soon found herself immersed in the culture when she started performing regularly in theaters all across the state. She appeared in productions of The Sound of Music and The King and I and by 1997 made it to Broadway, with Chenoweth earning a Tony soon after in 1999 for her performance in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

#4: Anna Kendrick

Kendrick, perhaps best known for her performances in the “Pitch Perfect” films, has been in the entertainment business since she was 12, when she scored a role in the Broadway musical High Society. Her performance earned her a Tony nomination and all of the pomp and circumstance that comes with that level of personal recognition. She’d appear in another play – A Little Night Music – in 2003, but after that she focused solely on landing film and television roles, something that turned out to be quite easy for an actress of her caliber.

#3: Lea Michele

When she was just eight years old Lea Michele made her Broadway debut. The “Glee” star appeared on stage in the role of Young Cosette in the music Les Misérables. While she soon found herself on the receiving end of film and television offers she never forgot her first love. Michele has consistently appeared in theater productions over the years, from The Diary of Anne Frank in 2004 to Spring Awakening from 2006 to 2008. It's like they say: if you got it, flaunt it! And Lea Michele definitely has the acting and singing chops to make it on Broadway!

#2: Kristen Bell

“Veronica Mars” and “House of Lies” star Kristen Bell got into acting at a very young age. She scored her first theater role when she was just 12 years old, playing the duel role of “banana” and “tree”…which is exactly as bad as it sounds. But, soon enough Bell found herself starring in high school productions of The Wizard of Oz and Fiddler on the Roof and later appeared alongside Hollywood heavyweights Liam Neeson and Laura Linney in a Broadway production of The Crucible. She’s come a long way from playing fruit and trees!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Morgan Freeman

Diane Keaton

Ian McKellen

#1: Julie Andrews

Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Emmy and Grammy winning actress and singer Julie Andrews has done it all in a career spanning more than 70 years. Her big break came when she played Polly Browne in a Broadway production of The Boy Friend in 1954, and the performance led to her being cast in My Fair Lady, a role that would earn her the first of three Tony Awards nominations. While her performance in the seminal 1965 film “The Sound of Music” solidified her place in film history, we must never forget that without the theater, it might never have happened.
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