‘The Gilded Age’: 21 Broadway Legends Making HBO Show Must-See TV

Audra McDonald Christine Baranski Donna Murphy The Gilded Age
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If you’re a theater lover, The Gilded Age is for you. The cast of the HBO period piece is filled to the brim with some of Broadway’s biggest stars. In fact, nearly every single cast member is a stage actor.

From theater veterans (including one of the most awarded stage actresses in history) to Broadway and the West End’s younger faces, The Gilded Age is like The Avengers of theater. And as it turns out, fans can thank the COVID-19 pandemic for the stacked cast. Co-creator Julian Fellowes said the theater shutdown opened up a lot of availability for these actors.

“Michael Engler, who’s one of the producers and one of the two directors of the first series, reminded us that because of COVID, the whole of Broadway was dark and all these marvelous actors were sitting at home in New York where we were,” Fellowes told ELLE.

“There was no immediate prospect of the theaters reopening so we looked to the Broadway actors for our supporting cast and a wonderfully rewarding number of them said yes,” he continued. “We had these stars of Broadway, and I think they’ve enriched the show wonderfully. I think they’re a marvelous group of players. We’re the winners on that one.”

Carrie Coon Nathan Lane Kelli O'Hara in The Gilded Age

Alison Cohen Rosa/HBO

While Marian Brook actor Louisa Jacobson hasn’t made her Broadway debut, she is a stage actor. Jacobson attended Yale School of Drama like her mother, Meryl Streep. And she has performed in multiple productions since. The Gilded Age is her breakout TV role.

Other stage actors in the cast include Blake Ritson as Oscar Van Rhijn, Kelley Curran as Turner, Jack Gilpin as Church, Sullivan Jones as T. Thomas Fortune, and Taylor Richardson as Bridget.

Ahead of the new episode on March 7, here are Broadway’s famous faces in HBO’s The Gilded Age and what they’re known for in the theater world.

Christine Baranski The Gilded Age
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Christine Baranski as Agnes van Rhijn

Baranski won a Tony Award every time she was nominated. She won for the first time in 1984 and again in 1989. She also has a slew of movie musicals under her belt. Mama Mia, of course, is a fan-favorite.

Cynthia Nixon The Gilded Age
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Cynthia Nixon as Ada Brook

Most people know Nixon for Sex and the City, but she also has two Tony Award wins and four nominations under her belt. In fact, Nixon got her first Tony nomination three years before Sex and the City debuted. She won in 2006 and 2017.

Audra McDonald The Gilded Age
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Audra McDonald as Dorothy Scott

McDonald is the Broadway legend. She has won six Tony Awards, has been nominated for nine, and is the only person in Tony history to win every single acting category. She won for Carousel in 1994, Master Class in 1996, Ragtime in 1998, A Raisin in the Sun in 2004, Porgy and Bess in 2012, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill in 2014.

Donna Murphy The Gilded Age
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Donna Murphy as Mrs. Astor

Murphy is a five-time Tony nominee and two-time winner. She won for Stephen Sondheim’s Passion in 1994 and The King and I in 1996. She also was the speaking and singing voice of Mother Gothel in Disney’s Tangled.

Kelli O'Hara The Gilded Age
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Kelli O'Hara as Aurora Fane

O’Hara is a seven-time Tony nominee and one-time winner. She and Murphy both played Anna in The King and I on Broadway and won Tonys for their performances.

Nathan Lane The Gilded Age
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Nathan Lane as Ward McAllister

Lane is a six-time Tony nominee and three-time winner. He won Tonys in 1996, 2001, and 2018. He was part of the original Broadway cast of The Producers, which holds the record for most Tony wins in history. Hamilton has the most nominations in history, but it didn’t beat the Mel Brooks musical’s win record.

Carrie Coon The Gilded Age
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Carrie Coon as Bertha Russell

Coon has appeared in a handful of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions in her career. She was nominated for a Tony in 2013 for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Morgan Spector The Gilded Age
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Morgan Spector as George Russell

Spector made his Broadway debut in 2010 in the revival of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge. He co-starred with Scarlett Johansson, Liev Schreiber, and Jessica Hecht. He’s appeared in a handful of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows since.

Denée Benton The Gilded Age
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Denée Benton as Peggy Scott

Benton made a splash of a Broadway debut in Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 opposite Josh Groban. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance. She played Eliza Hamilton in Hamilton from October 2018 to December 2019.

John Douglas Thompson The Gilded Age
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John Douglas Thompson as Arthur Scott

Thompson is a seasoned Shakespeare actor and has appeared in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. He was nominated for his first Tony Award in 2017 for August Wilson’s Jitney.

Katie Finneran The Gilded Age
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Katie Finneran as Anne Morris

Finneran won a Tony Award for Noises Off in 2002 and Promises, Promises in 2010.

Linda Emond The Gilded Age
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Linda Emond as Clara Barton

Emond has appeared in famous shows like Cabaret, Death of a Salesman, and Life (x) 3. She received a Tony nomination for her performance in each of those productions.

Simon Jones The Gilded Age
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Simon Jones as Bannister

Jones’ stage credits go back to 1977. He’s appeared in a long string of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows since. His credits include Trouble In Mind, Farinelli and the King, Blithe Spirit, and more.

Bill Irwin The Gilded Age
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Bill Irwin as Cornelius Eckhard

Bill Irwin is an actor, playwright, and director. He’s a five-time Tony nominee and won in 2005 for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He won a Special Tony Award in 1999 for Fool Moon, and got four nominations for writing, directing, choreographing, and starring in Largely New York in 1989.

Douglas Sills The Gilded Age
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Douglas Sills as Monsieur Baudin

Sills has been in the original Broadway productions of The Scarlet Pimpernel (for which he was Tony-nominated), Living on Love, and War Paint. He was also in the Little Shop of Horrors revival in 2003.

Celia Keenan-Bolger The Gilded Age

Celia Keenan-Bolger as Mrs. Bruce

Keenan-Bolger recently won her first Tony Award in 2019 for playing Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird opposite Jeff Daniels’ Atticus Finch. She was previously nominated for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Peter and the Starcatcher, and The Glass Menagerie.

Claybourne Elder The Gilded Age
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Claybourne Elder as John Adams

Elder is currently in the Broadway revival of Sondheim’s Company starring Patti LuPone. He was also in the original Broadway cast of Bonnie & Clyde and was part of Sondheim’s Sunday In the Park With George revival starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford.

Michael Cerveris
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Michael Cerveris as Watson

Cerveris is a two-time Tony Winner and six-time nominee. He won in 2004 for Sondheim’s Assassins and in 2015 for Fun Home. He also starred in the 2006 revival of Sweeney Todd.

Debra Monk
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Debra Monk as Armstrong

Monk has a slew of stage credits to her name and four Tony nominations. She won a Tony in 1993 for Redwood Curtain and was most recently nominated in 2007 for Curtains.

Patrick Page as Richard Clay

Page got his first Tony nomination in 2019 for his performance as Hades in the Tony-winning Hadestown and has a knack for playing famous villains. He played Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Scar in The Lion King.

Kristine Nielsen
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Kristine Nielsen as Mrs. Bauer

Nielsen has been working on Broadway since the 1980s. Her credits include You Can’t Take It With You, Present Laughter, and more. She co-starred with Lane in Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus in 2019, for which she received her second Tony nomination. Her first was in 2013.

The Gilded Age, Mondays 9 pm ET, HBO