High school actors dream of one day becoming famous for their craft. They imagine a future date when they are sitting on a late night tv show and the host pulls out a video clip of them performing in whatever play they are currently doing in school. This dream may motivate them to a better performance, but the future rarely works out that way.
A significant percentage of today’s movie and tv stars did get their start in high school productions of plays and musicals. They learned their craft and first experienced the thrill of performing at an early age. Whether in drama or speech classes, community theater, or just trying out for the high school play, they took their chance, and years later, it paid off.
Anne Hathaway — from the girl in The Princesses Diaries to an Oscar for Les Miserables, Hathaway has portrayed a dizzying array of characters, but it all started in Millburn High School in New Jersey. The actress also appeared in numerous productions at the Paper Mill Playhouse in shows like Gigi and Jane Eyre.
Tom Hanks — having earned multiple Academy Awards and nominations, Hanks memorably thanked his high school drama teacher during one of his acceptance speeches, outing the man who shaped his early performances. At Oakland’s Skyline High School, Hanks cut his teeth acting in plays and musicals like South Pacific.
Steve Carrell — while he has now moved on to starring in film, Carrell was first a start for work on The Daily Show and an iconic role in The Office. The actor studied acting at Middlesex School in Massachusetts where he notably started as an old man in You Can’t Take it With You in 1980.
Ashton Kutcher – now one of the highest paid actors in television, Kutchner has had starring roles in That 70s Show and Two and a Half Men. He attended high school in Iowa at both Washington High School and Clear Creek Amana High School. At the latter he appeared in plays like Little Shop of Horrors.
Chris Colfer — before getting paid to play a high school musical star, Colfer was a high school stage star. He performed at Clovis East High School where he not only acted in productions like Man of La Mancha, but also began writing and directing his own plays.
Here are some other stars who had notable high school performances:
- Debra Messing — Greenwich High School, title role in Annie
- Dianna Argon — Burlingame High School, Marty in Grease
- Gennifer Goodwin — Lausanne Collegiate School, Olivia in Twelfth Night
- Bill Murray — Loyola Academy, Caine Mutiny
- Lady Gaga — Sacred Heart (Manhattan), Adelaide in Guys and Dolls
- Rainn Wilson — New Trier Township High School, title role in The Frog Prince
- Sean Hayes — Glenbard West High School, Harvey in Bye Bye Birdie
- Woody Harrelson — Lebanon High School, Li’l Abner
Teachers looking to inspire tomorrow’s stars can find lesson plans for speech and communications at www.lessonplanet.com/lesson-plans/speech-and-presentations.
Watch a Behind the Scenes Look of Man of La Mancha and see if you can spot Chris Colfer:
March 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm Comments (0)