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Now we know many celebrities have done Broadway and some even got their start in it. But there are more actors than you think that went nude on stage — like, fully nude. Seriously, quite a few actors have decided to be super daring and strip down for the theater over the years. And while it’s super cool of these actors to have gone outside their comfort zone and pushed the envelope for a brilliant role, it’s not cool at all for audiences to sneak unplanned photographs of those actors at their most vulnerable and leak them to the outside world, as recently happened to Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams.
Williams recently made his Broadway debut for the show Take Me Out, which includes a fully naked moment. One audience member not only took a photo of the boundary-pushing scene, but also leaked that photo to the entire internet — which, in case you needed a reminder, is even more not okay!) Sadly, Williams isn’t the only star to have this happen to them over the years, and he’s also far from the first to strip down on stage — so maybe everyone could just calm down a little bit and stop invading his privacy?
Despite a few bad eggs, many people respect the theater and the nude actors on stage. Some actors go full-frontal and others do a quick strip down, but either way, it’s something no one forgets seeing — and something that should be an in-the-moment experience only. Read on for all the stars who have taken the brave step of stripping down on stage below.
Grey’s Anatomy Jesse Williams recently had his Broadway debut in the play Take Me Out, where he had to perform nude at one point. After receiving a Tony nomination for his stellar role, a member of the audience leaked a nude picture of him on stage. Since then, Forbes reported that security will be beefed up to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Back in 2008, Daniel Radcliffe went entirely nude for his debut Broadway role in the show Equus. The Harry Potter actor got a mountain of praise for his role, with many critics saying he outshone the production, per Reuters.
For Nicole Kidman‘s Broadway debut in Dec. 1998, she made headlines for her role in The Blue Room. Along with that, she stripped down multiple times during the show’s 10 vignettes.
Glee alum Lea Michele spoke fondly about her “tasteful” nude scene in the rock musical Spring Awakening. She told the now archived magazine Now Magazine per Digital Spy in 2010, “I just think it was done so tastefully. It wasn’t until I came back to see the show [once I’d left] that I was like, ‘Oh my God, I did that every single night.'” Michelle starred alongside Glee alum Jonathan Groff in the smash-hit Broadway play.
The legendary Sir Ian McKellan went full-frontal nude in the 2007 Broadway production of King Lear. Per Vulture, McKellan is nude for a brief moment with his face hidden by his shirt.
Back in 1971, legendary actress Diana Rigg starred in the original Broadway show Abelard and Heloise. She and actor Keith Mitchell stripped down for a passionate love scene, but Rigg received a lot of flak for it. She told Daily Mail, “I was the first major actress to get my knickers down. The reaction was horrible. I did one of the first nude scenes and I got one of the meanest, nastiest notices ever known.” She also added that a critic had the nerve to comment on her breasts, ‘An American critic wrote ‘Diana Rigg is built like a brick mausoleum with insufficient flying buttresses.'”
Audra McDonald starred in the Broadway play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune 2019 and in the opening scene, she and Michael Shannon performed a nude simulated sex scene. However, an audience member took a flash photography snapshot of the sex scene while the show took place. McDonald tweeted a now-deleted tweet per Page Six, “To whoever it was in the audience that took a flash photo during our nude scene today: Not cool. Not cool at all.”
In a previous interview with the LA Times, Oscar-nominated actor John Lithgow talked about his Broadway debut in The Changing Room. “My first job on Broadway was The Changing Room in 1973, and it all took place in the locker room of a rugby team. And I had a long scene stark naked on stage. I won a Tony award for that, so I look for every opportunity to take my clothes off ever since. People don’t always necessarily want me to, of course.”
Before his superstardom hit, Jude Law starred in the Broadway play Indiscretions where he had to be completely nude in a bathtub for one scene per Broadway World.
Patrick J. Adams
Along with Jesse Williams, Suits alum Patrick J. Adams also went fully nude for his Broadway debut in Take Me Out. Adams spoke highly of the play for ETOnline, saying, “This has gotta be the smartest play that involves nudity. There’s something about it, it’s so fully integrated into the play.”
Back in 2002, per Playbill, Kathleen Turner appeared full-frontal nude for her role in The Graduate.
In 2013, towards the beginning of Phoebe Waller-Bridge‘s career, she starred in a play called Mydidae. The Fleabag star was scared of going nude for the play but quickly felt at ease. She told the BBC, “Jack [Thorne] was commissioned to write a play set in a bathroom so I knew something would be taken off and exposed. He is incredibly classy when it comes to nudity, so I felt very safe in it.”
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris (and former How I Met Your Mother co-star Josh Radnor) performed a nude scene for the play The Paris Letters, per Variety.
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