I have already touched upon this subject by mentioning those fly-by-night performers on a certain reality show becoming Broadway performers but the practice of bringing big names in an attempt to fill New York audiences is nothing new. I found it rather interesting to discover that in 1969 Muhammad Ali sang in the musical Buck White. According to the Internet Broadway Data Base, the show only ran from 12/2/69-12/6/69. So, bad example… I never said the shows in which the names appeared were successful.
-Julia Roberts was in the play Three Days of Rain from April-June, 2006.
– In Fall 2007, Jennifer Garner starred as Roxanne opposite Kevin Kline’s title role in a limited production of Cyrano de Bergerac.
-Perhaps most notably and most successfully has been the continuing revival of the musical Chicago. This seems to be a revolving door of pop culture names appearing on stage. Melanie Griffith, Bebe Neuwirth (so she was a stage actress prior to Cheers), Wayne Brady, Joey Lawrence, Usher, Brooke Shields(?), KELLY OSBOURNE(?!… as Mama Morton), ASHLEE SIMPSON. Ok… so even most of the names do not appeal to me. Most would turn me off of the show (which is good seeing live). But the musical is still running.