The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel took home eight 2018 Emmy Awards for its debut season, including one for Lead Actress in a Comedy for Rachel Brosnahan and Casting for a Comedy Series for Cindy Tolan and Meredith Tucker, and Jeanie Bacharach.
Coming from the Broadway realm—having cast such hits as Avenue Q and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time—Tolan often draws from the pool of great theatre talent when casting for film and television. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel stacks its cast with actors from the stage.
Most obvious to theatre fans is Maisel’s Tony Shalhoub, who won a Tony Award this past June for The Band’s Visit. But did you know that his onscreen wife, played by Marin Hinkle, and leading lady Brosnahan herself began their careers on the stage?
Here we flag the other theatre favorites to look out for when Season 2 premieres December 5 as new characters and guest stars on the Amazon original series.
1. Rachel Brosnahan, Miriam “Midge” Maisel
The show’s leading lady, Brosnahan plays a Jewish Upper West Side housewife in the 1950s who has always supported her husband’s stand-up comedy career. But when he leaves their “classic six” life, she is the one who ends up getting the laughs from behind the mic. Brosnahan has been performing in musicals since her high school days, growing up in Highland Park, Illinois, and earned her BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She made her professional stage debut in Up at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre in 2009. She made her Broadway debut as Dixie Evans in the 2013 Roundabout Theatre Company production of The Big Knife alongside Bobby Cannavale, Marin Ireland, and Richard King. Just after that, the television world began to take notice; she earned bit parts onscreen in Gossip Girl and The Good Wife before graduating in 2012. Her part as “Call Girl” on House of Cards grew into a full-fledged Emmy-nominated guest spot from 2013–2015. Brosnahan stepped onto the Off-Broadway stage in 2016 as Desdemona in New York Theater Workshop’s Othello opposite David Oyelowo, and has also been part of the New York theatre community's activism—as one of the original participants of the Covenant House Broadway Sleepout.
2. Tony Shalhoub, Abe Weissman
Shalhoub is Midge’s father, the epitome of the anal Jewish man. The actor won his first Tony Award for his work as Tewfiq in The Band’s Visit, having been nominated in 1992 for Conversations With My Father, in 2013 for Golden Boy, and in 2014 for Act One. He boasts eight Broadway credits, having made his debut in 1985 in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. He's also appeared in the original The Heidi Chronicles, Lend Me a Tenor, and The Price. Long before Broadway, Shalhoub spent four years working at the American Repertory Theater in Massachusetts. He’s also performed in numerous Off-Broadway productions like Richard II and Henry IV at the Delacorte (1987), Zero Positive at the Public at the Public (1988), Rameau’s Nephew at Classic Stage Company (1988), For Dear Life at the Public (1988), and The Scene at Second Stage (2007).
3. Marin Hinkle, Rose Weissman
She made her Broadway debut in the 1995 revival of The Tempest directed by Tony winner George C. Wolfe, followed by A Thousand Clowns in 1996 directed by eight-time Tony nominee Scott Ellis, and then starred in the 1998 production of Electra directed by five-time Tony nominee David Leveaux. Over the years, Hinkle appeared Off-Broadway in Tony winner Pam MacKinnon’s Dinner With Friends as well as in Luce at Lincoln Center Theater, The Fourth Sister at the Vineyard, A Dybbuk at the Public, and many more, not to mention her dozens of regional credits working at the Geffen Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and more.
4. Michael Zegen, Joel Maisel
Zegen plays the man who puts the plot of Maisel in motion, Midge’s husband. Unlike Joel, Zegen holds comedy chops and is a member of the New York sketch comedy troupe Hottie$ Galore. He made his New York stage debut in Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews at Roundabout Off-Broadway in 2012. He’s also been seen onstage in Oliver Parker! at the Cherry Lane Theatre, and in The New Group’s The Spoils. Just before Maisel, Zegen made his Broadway debut in Ivo van Hove’s revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge as Marco, one of the Italian boys that move in to live with Eddie Carbone and his family.
5. Caroline Aaron, Shirley Maisel
On the other side of Midge’s family is her mother-in-law Shirley, played by Aaron. Aaron made her Broadway debut in the 1985 production of The Iceman Cometh as Cora. She was then the standby for Marlo Thomas and Joanna Gleason in Social Security in 1986. In 1991 she returned to Broadway in I Hate Hamlet, then appeared in Off-Broadway's An Imaginary Life at Playwrights Horizons in 1993, and after a long hiatus came back to Broadway for Relatively Speaking in 2011.
6. Alex Borstein, Susie
The actor best known for her voice work on Family Guy trained in improv at ACME Comedy Theatre. But she soon left live stage performance for MADtv and her career in Hollywood launched from there. Now, she plays Midge’s wannabe agent, helping her hone her act and book stand-up gigs throughout New York.
7. Zachary Levi, Benjamin
The second Tony nominee on this list joins Maisel for Season 2. A musical theatre kid from the start, Levi performed in regional productions like Grease, The Outsiders, Oklahoma!, Oliver!, The Wizard of Oz, and Big River at the Ojai Art Center. Levi made his Broadway debut in 2013’s First Date opposite Krysta Rodriguez. He had already made a name for himself in television on the detective show Chuck, but producers must have realized his musical chops after he voiced Flynn Ryder in Disney’s animated musical Tangled in 2010. He returned to Broadway for the 2016 revival of She Loves Me playing Georg, and earned his first Tony nomination for the role. Levi will play a prospective love interest for Midge when Season 2 of the Amazon comedy begins.
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8. Will Brill, Noah
The Broadway actor previously worked alongside Shalhoub in Act One in 2014. Later that year, he bowed in the revival of You Can’t Take It With You. He’ll appear in four episodes of Season 2.
9. Megan McGinnis, Loula
Beloved for her roles on Broadway—including Dorothy Brown in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and Beth in Little Women—McGinnis is one of the 1950s gals in Maisel. Aside from her starring roles on the Main Stem, she also appeared in the ensembles of Parade, Les Misérables, and was the standby for the Hilton sisters in the most recent production of Side Show. She originated the role of Jerusha in Off-Broadway's hit musical Daddy Long Legs.
10. Jane Lynch, Sophie Lennon
Lennon was one of the few successful female comics of Midge’s era, as we saw in Season 1. Now she’s back for more in her Season 2 guest arc. Lynch, of course, played P.E. teacher and cheer coach Sue Sylvester in Glee but made her Broadway debut as Miss Hannigan in the 2014 revival of Annie.
11. Brandon Uranowitz, Buzz Goldberg
TV viewers are about to fall in love with this two-time Tony nominee. After graduating from NYU Tisch, he appeared in numerous regional productions, such as Evita at Paper Mill Playhouse and Brighton Beach Memoirs/Broadway Bound at the Old Globe. Uranowitz made his Broadway debut in Baby It’s You in 2011 before his breakout featured role in An American in Paris, which won him his first Tony nomination. He then starred opposite Stephanie J. Block as Mendel in the 2016 revival of Falsettos. He played numerous roles in the recent Hal Prince revue Prince of Broadway and now stars in The Band’s Visit as Itzik. Next up, Uranowitz will appear in Burn This, starring Keri Russell and Adam Driver. He’ll appear in three episodes of Maisel this season.
12. Andrew Polk, Fred
A member of the original Off-Broadway company of The Band’s Visit, Polk transferred with the show to Broadway. A new character on Season 2 of Maisel, he’ll appear in three episodes.
13. Cynthia Darlow, Mrs. Moskowitz
Darlow made her Broadway debut as a replacement in the original production of Grease in 1972. Her other Main Stem credits include 1988’s Rumors, 1990’s Prelude to a Kiss, 1996’s Sex and Longing, 2000’s Taller Than a Dwarf, 2006’s Rabbit Hole, and 2007’s Old Acquaintance. Most recently, she appeared on Broadway in 2009’s Accent on Youth and in the first national tour of Billy Elliot as Grandma. She will appear in three episodes this season: “Mid-way to Mid-town,” “Look, She Made a Hat,” and “All Alone.”
14. Katrina Lenk, Cosma
Another Band’s Visit Tony winner, Lenk captivated audiences Off-Broadway as Dina before making her Tony-winning transfer. But long before the Tony Award, Lenk made her Broadway debut in The Miracle Worker as the understudy for Annie Sullivan in 2010, played Arachne ins Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, replaced as Reza in Once, and wowed audiences in Indecent. Lenk will be back as Cosma in Season 2 for one episode.
15. Laura Dreyfuss, Deecy
Before Dear Evan Hansen alum Dreyfuss appears in upcoming Netflix series The Politician, she’ll be seen as Deecy in two episodes of Season 2. Before playing Zoe in Evan Hansen, Dreyfuss made her Broadway bow in Hair and also replaced as Girl in Once.
16. Christopher Fitzgerald, Bobby
Broadway’s go-to funnyman Fitzgerald pops up on Maisel this season. Many know him best as Wicked’s original Boq, but he did have one Broadway role before that: Bertrand in Amour. After Wicked, Fitzgerald played Igor in Young Frankenstein and earned his first Tony nomination. He then took on Og in the 2009 revival of Finian’s Rainbow, earning his second Tony nomination. The actor appeared in two consecutive straight plays—The Merchant of Venice and Act of God—before earning his third and most recent Tony nomination as Ogie in Waitress, a role that won him the Drama Desk Award.
Update December 18, 2018:
17. Jacob Kemp, Samuel
We didn’t catch it at first, but Jacob Kemp is also in Season 2. (Thanks, Rachel Brosnahan for the heads up!) Kemp originated the role of Davey in Disney’s Newsies on the national tour. He starred in Mark Brokaw’s production of Parfumerie and appears in three episodes of Maisel: “We’re Going to the Catskills!,” “Midnight at the Concord,” and “Let’s Face the Music and Dance.”