Tony Todd, Kathy Bates and 8 other horror stars who have done theater

SECAUCUS, NJ - APRIL 30: Tony Todd attends the 2017 East Coast Comic Con at Meadowlands Exposition Center on April 30, 2017 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, NJ - APRIL 30: Tony Todd attends the 2017 East Coast Comic Con at Meadowlands Exposition Center on April 30, 2017 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images) /

Tony Todd and Kathy Bates aren’t the only stars in the horror genre to have started their careers in theater. Here are 8 other celebrities who have also acted on stage.

Tony Todd loves performing on stage and he makes no secret of his love for theater. In 2017, the iconic Candyman actor starred in Sunset Baby at TheaterWorks in Hartford, Connecticut. From 1999-2000, he toured with King Hedley II in the lead role.

He is not the only icon in the horror genre to have appeared in front of a live audience. Here are some other celebrities that have spent time in front of the footlights.

Tony Todd

Thespians that are theater trained can easily make the shift into other mediums such as television and motion pictures. Tony Todd has proven that he can do it all.

At the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles, Todd portrayed Johnny Williams in the revival of the 1969 play, No Place to Be Somebody. The action occurs during the Civil Rights era and is about a bartender who attempts to outwit the Mafia. His other theater credits include Zooman and the Sign, August Wilson’s esteemed play, Fences and Black Odyssey.

Kathy Bates

Everyone’s favorite number one fan and American Horror Story utility player, Kathy Bates is a veteran of Broadway and Off-Broadway where she started treading the boards in 1975. Before Michelle Pfeiffer played Frankie in the movie version of Frankie and Johnny, Bates originated the role on the Great White Way as the unlucky in love waitress who meets the man of her dreams in Johnny, the short order cook at the diner where they work.

She also starred in the original Broadway production of ‘night, Mother as Jessie Cates which later became a feature film starring Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft. In this particular work, the actress is a severely depressed woman who tells her mother that she is going to kill herself. Harrowing and heartbreaking, this was a tour de force for Ms. Bates.

Patrick Wilson

Known for portraying real-life demonologist Ed Warren, in The Conjuring series, Patrick Wilson got his start in musicals on Broadway. Yes, the handsome horror hunk is a song and dance man.

In 1996, he toured the US with the revival of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel. Of course, he played the lead, Billy Bigelow. This is a tragic story of star-crossed love and redemption as Bigelow attempts to make things right after a botched robbery attempt.

Wilson has also appeared in The Gershwins’ Fascinating Rhythm, Finian’s Rainbow, The Full Monty, Dreamgirls, Brigadoon and Oklahoma!

Robert Englund

Freddy Krueger is one of the most flamboyant characters in horror history. This comes as no surprise because the man behind the beloved A Nightmare on Elm Street character is a trained Shakespearean actor.

Englund is a natural storyteller which makes him a compelling watch on the big screen. He honed that skill doing stage work. For years, the thespian did repertory theater and was cast in Two Gentlemen of Verona and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. Robert was also the understudy for Iago in Othello.

Christopher Walken

If you are a fan of Fatboy Slim, then you are well aware that this actor is light on his feet as evidenced by his performance in Weapon of Choice. He began his career as Ronnie Walken on the 1953 TV series, The Wonderful John Acton. From there, he utilized his years of dance lessons to become a background dancer for Burlesque performer, Monique van Vooren.

It didn’t take long for him to appear on The Great Way in the premiere of The Lion in Winter as King Philip of France. He acted in numerous Shakespeare plays like The Merchant of Venice and The Tempest. The actor also went on tour in James Joyce’s The Dead playing the part of Gabriel Conroy. His most recent venture was Captain Hook in NBC’s Live Televised Production of Peter Pan in 2014.

Other celebrities in the horror genre that have appeared in theater productions:

  • Vincent Price: Became a stage darling on Broadway in 1935 portraying Prince Albert opposite Helen Hayes in Victoria Regina. Also, Price was a member of Orson Welles’ renowned Mercury Theatre.
  • Bruce Campbell: Acted in numerous local theater productions in the Detroit area specifically at St. Dunstan’s Theatre Guild in Cranbrook. There the actor performed in classic musicals like The King and I and South Pacific. After high school he apprenticed at Cherry County Playhouse in Northern Michigan.
  • Sarah Paulson: This American Horror Story alum has acted in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway productions including Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, Crimes of the Heart and Talley’s Folly.
  • Robert Pattinson: Before The Lighthouse, the matinee idol and future Batman was cast in The Woman Before at the Royal Court Theatre. Unfortunately, he was terminated before the play opened.
  • Jeff Goldblum: The genial actor and perennial fan favorite has been in The Moony Shapiro Songbook, The Play What I Wrote, The Pillowman, Seminar and Domesticated on Broadway and Off-Broadway.

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Did you know about the theater pasts of Tony Todd and these other horror icons? Let us know in the comments.