Arts in Austin: The Stars Onstage are Big and Bright, Deep in the Heart of Texas

With Summer Stock Austin over and the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards still a few months away (though don’t be fooled- planning is already well underway), we’re clearly in need of a Broadway fix.

With a slew of amazing shows kicking off the 2015-2016 season on the Great White Way this month (and musicals Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical and The Wizard of Oz gearing up for the Long Center this season), we decided to dive into the wonderful world of Google and see which theatre talents originated right here in the Lone Star State. Below are some of our favorites.

Kevin McHale

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Born in Plano, McHale is best known for playing the sassy Artie Abrams on FOX’s Glee, where his catalog included “Dancing with Myself,” “The Safety Dance,” and Britney Spears’ “Stronger.” But nobody can be forget  his star-making performance as the lead in “Sit Down, You’re Rockin the Boat.”

Michael Urie

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Hailing from Dallas, Urie made his Broadway debut in the 2012 revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. In 2013, he originated the role of Alex More Buyer & Cellar (premiering at ZACH Theatre this season), a comedy about “the oddest of odd jobs: ‘an underemployed Los Angeles actor going to work in Barbra Streisand’s Malibu basement.'”

Phoebe Strole

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Born and raised in Fort Worth, Strole is best known for starring in the critically acclaimed Broadway musical Spring Awakening in 2006. She’s also made a 2-episode guest appearance on Glee

Matt Bomer

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After growing up in Spring, Texas, Bomer did everything from daytime soap operas (Guiding Light), to slasher films (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), to Magic Mike and White Collar. He made his Broadway debut in the 2011 play 8, and appeared in the Broadway-adapted TV movie The Normal Heart (winning a Golden Globe in the process), with a stint as Blaine Warbler’s big brother on Glee.

John Cameron Mitchell

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The original “internationally ignored song stylist” was born in El Paso, Texas. After trekking to the Great White Way, Mitchell made his Broadway debut in Big River in 1985, and went on to perform in The Secret Garden and off-Broadway’s Hello Again. He donned the iconic wig as the world’s first Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 1998, reprising the role first in the 2001 feature film and again on Broadway in 2015 (receiving a special Tony Award for his return).

Mark Salling

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The Dallas native is best known for portraying resident bad-ass Noah Puckerman on FOX’s Glee, where his discography included “Sweet Caroline,” “Only the Good Die Young,” and “Fat Bottomed Girls.”

Jennifer Holliday

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Hailing from Houston, Holliday is best known as the Tony Award-winning actress from 1981’s Broadway smash Dreamgirls, in which she played Effie Melody White. Her version of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” peaked as number-one on the Billboard R&B chart, and is considered a Broadway classic to this day. Holliday most recently appeared right here in Austin in ZACH Theatre’s Sophisticated Ladies.

Nick Jonas

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Now before you say, “What? Huh? Nick Jonas is considered musical theatre material?” let us explain. Dallas-born Jonas not only made his Broadway debut as Tiny Tim in 2000’s A Christmas Carol and came back to the Great White Way for 2001’s Annie Get Your Gun,” but his theatre credits also include Beauty and the BeastLes Miserables, and Paper Mill Playhouse’s The Sound of Music. He then stepped into the role of J. Pierrepoint Finch in the 2012 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying revival.

Jeremy Jordan

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Born and raised in Corpus Christi, the Tony Award nominee Jordan has pretty much raised the bar on musical theatre gigs. After making his debut in Rock of Ages in 2009, he went on to star as the Tony alternate in West Side Story, Clyde Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde, and Jack Kelly in Newsies. On the big screen, he starred opposite Anna Kendrick in the off-Broadway-adaption of The Last Five Years, and played the role of Jimmy in the NBC primetime musical drama SMASH.

Jamie Foxx

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Oscar winner Jamie Foxx hails from Terrell, Texas, located 32 miles east of Dallas. Foxx’s musical credits include starring as Ray in the autobiographical film documenting the life of Ray Charles, in addition to starring as Curtis Taylor, Jr. in the Dreamgirls movie, and William Staxx (the modernized version of Daddy Warbucks) in the 2014 Annie remake.

Debbie Reynolds

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El Paso, Texas broke the mold when they made the legendary Debbie Reynolds. From starring in the 1952 classic Singin’ in the Rain, to garnering her first Tony Award nomination for 1973’s Irene revival, Reynolds is one of the most well known actresses of our time. She toured nationally with Annie Get Your Gun, and returned to Broadway in 1983 in Woman of the Year, and again in 1989 with The Unsinkable Molly Brown (and a special shoutout to the Halloweentown movies).

We may not be way up north or way out west, but when it comes to the Lone Star State, we think it’s safe to say we have our fair share of stage talent all the way down here.

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