Fall TV ’09: The Broadway Invasion

broadway(L to R): Graham Phillips, Frank Dolce & Jesse Tyler Ferguson

For years, New York Theatergoers have bemoaned the invasion of television stars and reality TV castoffs that have become ubiquitous on Broadway marquees. From the likes of ex-IDOL’s such as Clay Aiken (Spamalot) and Josh Strickland (Tarzan) to many of our favorite TV stars such as GILMORE GIRLS’ Lauren Graham (Guys and Dolls) and GREY’S ANATOMY’s Chandra Wilson (Chicago) savvy Broadway producers have learned all to well that nothing sells tickets like the phrase, “as seen on TV.”

That said, a funny thing happened to this TV Addict as he started watching sneak peaks of what will soon be some of your favorite new Fall shows. We began to notice that the times, well, they are a changin’ And this fall, some of Broadway’s best and brightest will becoming not to a theater, but rather a small screen near you (and no, we’re not just talking about virtually the entire cast of GLEE which include the remarkable talents of Lea Michele (Spring Awakening), Jenna Ushkowitz (Spring Awakening) and Matthew Morrison (Hairspray)) Here are three actors who this fall will have traded Broadway in for the sunny beaches of Hollywood California.

Meet Graham Phillips, who at sixteen years old not only has a Steve Carell movie to his credit (Evan Almighty) but has parlayed a lead in the now-defunct Jason Robert Brown musical Thirteen into a supporting role as Julianna Margulies computer-savvy son in the upcoming CBS’ drama THE GOOD WIFE.

Frank Dolce may have lost out on a Tony nomination for his show-stopping-stand-on-your-feet-and-cheer turn as Michael in the Award Winning Broadway Musical BILLY ELLIOT, but don’t cry for him. Seriously. His ‘consolation’ prize is a starring role as the pivotal middle son (think a less geeky Malcolm, from MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE) in FOX’s soon to be hit mid-season comedy SONS OF TUCSUN.

And finally, there’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Who after his under-appreciated CBS sitcom THE CLASS got dismissed and audiences decided to take the title of his follow-up FOX sitcom DO NOT DISTURB literally, has landed — much like the character he originated in the hilarious Broadway spelling bee send-up The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee — on his feet in what we’re already ready to proclaim is the funniest new comedy of the season. Playing one half of an out and proud couple in ABC’s MODERN FAMILY, we hope Ferguson picked up a thing or two from his time on Broadway and knows how to spell E-M-M-Y-N-O-M-I-N-A-T-I-O-N.