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Stage stars head to small screen
Posted 9/25/2012 7:09 PM ET
This month and in the coming season, a number of TV series are featuring noted Broadway stars in new roles. Some of these troupers already have a good deal of television and/or film experience under their belt, but all are known and loved for their work in theater. USA TODAY's Elysa Gardner offers a quick look at several prominent names:

Andrew Rannells

Series: The New Normal (NBC), new sitcom about a successful gay couple who decide that they want a child, and hire a single mom as surrogate.

Role: Bryan, a bright-eyed young TV producer who dreams only of being a father.

Related stage experience: In the Broadway megahit The Book of Mormon, Rannells introduced the role of Elder Price, a young missionary who dreams only of going to Orlando.

Laura Benanti

Series: Go On (NBC), new sitcom/drama starring Matthew Perry as Ryan King,a sportscaster grappling with the loss of his wife.

Role: Lauren, the leader of a support group that Ryan attends; though not a licensed therapist, she has been a spokesperson for Weight Watchers.

Related stage experience: In the 2009 Broadway debut of Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play, Benanti played Catherine Givings, wife of an adventurous Victorian-era doctor. Though not a licensed therapist, Catherine helped lead her husband to a new sense of body awareness.

Nathan Lane

Series: The Good Wife (CBS, starts Sept. 30), legal drama that has cast a number of stage stalwarts in principal and recurring roles, including Alan Cumming, Christine Baranski and Denis O'Hare.

Role: Recurring character Clarke Hayden, the law firm Lockhart-Gardner's appointed trustee as it goes through Chapter 11 restructuring.

Related stage experience: Lane earned one of his Tony Awards as The Producers' Max Bialystock, a down-on-his-luck Broadway mogul who takes a creative (if not entirely ethical) approach to avoiding financial disaster.

Colin Donnell

Series: Arrow (the CW, starts Oct. 10), new action drama based on the adventures of DC Comics superhero Green Arrow.

Role: Tommy Merlyn, a rich playboy who is best friend to the Green Arrow's alter ago, Oliver (Stephen Arnell), but sleeps with his girlfriend when they both think Oliver has died. As fans of the comic books know, Merlyn will become Arrow's arch nemesis.

Related stage experience: In the 2011 Broadway revival of Anything Goes, Donnell played Billy Crocker, a dapper ladies' man who falls for the fiancée of his buddy Reno Sweeney's crush.

Lily Rabe

Series: American Horror Story: Asylum (FX, starts Oct. 17), second installment of American Horror Story anthology, introducing a new set of characters at New England's Briarcliff Asylum, overseen by Jessica Lange's uncompromising Sister Jude.

Role: Sister Mary Eunice, Sister Jude's right-hand woman.

Related stage experience: Details about Mary Eunice are being kept under wraps, but we can hope that she'll be as intriguingly neurotic as Kate, the aspiring writer Rabe played in Theresa Rebeck's 2011 Broadway play Seminar â?? and that she'll look as smart in a habit as Rabe's Portia, in a 2010 revival of The Merchant of Venice, did in her lawyer's robes.

Jeremy Jordan

Series: Smash (NBC, starts in January), drama documenting the creation of a Broadway musical, now in its second season, with theater notables Christian Borle and Megan Hilty among among returning cast members.

Role: Jimmy Collins, a brooding, talented young composer whose next musical poses a risk for everyone involved.

Related stage experience: Jordan earned acclaim in the 2011-12 Broadway season as a brooding, talented murderer in Bonnie and Clyde and Jack Kelly, a newsboy who leads his colleagues in taking risks in Newsies.

Josh Gad

Series: 1600 Penn (NBC, midseason entry), new comedy focusing on fictional American president Dale Gilchrist (Bill Pullman) and his family. (Gad also serves as co-executive producer.)

Role: First Son Skip Gilchrist, whose awkward attempts to win his dad's respect often don't pan out.

Related stage experience: In Mormon, Gad co-starred with Rannells as Price's less photogenic fellow missionary Elder Cunningham, whose awkward attempts to win his colleagues' respect don't always pan out.

Posted 9/25/2012 7:09 PM ET
Andrew Rannells gained fame on Broadway in 'The Book Of Mormon,' and now he's starring on NBC's 'The New Normal.'
Araya Diaz, Getty Images
Andrew Rannells gained fame on Broadway in 'The Book Of Mormon,' and now he's starring on NBC's 'The New Normal.'

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