“In these times, Broadway producers are striving to create ‘must-see’ events. Hollywood star casting has become one of the ways they try to meet this need,” he says in an email.
“Unfortunately, in some cases the Hollywood stars are not able to deliver on-stage, eight shows a week.”
Broadway relies more and more on Hollywood stars to sell tickets, says Catherine Rodgers, Professor of Theatre, Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, especially for non-musicals. “As brilliant as Jude Law's "Hamlet" and Denzel Washington's portrayal in “Fences” are, they are cast to fill the seats at a time when Broadway ticket prices are soaring. This is more and more the trend of the London stage, also, particularly on the West End where Law originated his leading role in Hamlet last year,” she says by email.
When Broadway uses Hollywood stars in stunt casting, as it has with with musicals like Grease, where now even reality stars are getting plucked to appear, that's one thing,” says playwright Charles Evered, an assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside. But, he writes in an email, “when theatre actors who happened to have become movie stars come back to the great white way, that is a good thing."