There has been a lot of silly talk in groups on Facebook describing nearly every singer / dancer / actor as West End or Broadway stars, and trashing people they never met. It of course drives me crazy, since the title of “star” should be reserved for the select few that really are, and the jealousy of stage door groupies damaging reputations of some real stars for their personal gain I find offensive.
What Makes a Star?
A Broadway or West End “star”, in my opinion, is reserved for a select few that can sell tickets by their name alone, almost irrespective of the show itself. The living likes of Broadway stars Julie Andrews, Liza Minelli, Angela Lansbury, Carol Burnett, Hugh Jackman and Barbra Streisand come to mind.
The deceased star legends of Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, Judy Garland, Mary Martin, Christopher Plummer, Lauren Bacall, Zero Mostel, and others I list below, remain vibrant in the minds of theatrical audiences.
In my opinion, these days, the term “star” is grossly overused. Just because a name is billed above title, it does not necessarily mean the person is a star.
Many are indeed celebrities, but few are Broadway stars.
I have been fortunate in my career to work with many celebrities (and a few stars), and generally almost all share consistent personality traits of kindness and like-ability that I have observed onstage, offstage, and also by their agents / managers.
What goes up, often goes down.
Some Broadway stars (such as those I mention here) have been able to remain at the pinnacle of stardom for a variety of reasons, but usually, it’s because producers want too keep re-hiring them, since often, the bigger the star power, the nicer they (and their agents) are.
This however, cannot be said for all. On their way up from celebrity to star status, particularly if achieved quickly (usually by film or TV), when there status starts waning, the more arrogant & mean they become, likely as a result of unforgiving desperation.
I created this diagram to help understand my thinking…