Over the next 12 months, an eclectic group of top stars is expected to tread the boards on Broadway and, in a few cases, abroad. Some have substantial stage experience; others, well, don't. None are guaranteed rave reviews — ask Julia Roberts or Denzel Washington — or massive ticket sales. USA TODAY asks celebrity columnist and culture vulture Michael Musto to assess various celebs' chances.
Project: Mrs. Tom Cruise makes her Broadway debut co-starring in a revival of Arthur Miller's post-World War II drama "All My Sons," set to open Oct. 16. The ensemble cast features John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest and Patrick Wilson.
•Prospects: "I never thought that "Dawson's Creek" and Arthur Miller would be a good match," Musto quips. But Holmes, 29, has proven herself to be a "game actress" in a variety of films, he adds, and it will be "interesting to see if she has the chops" that Nicole Kidman, Cruise's former wife, demonstrated a decade ago in London and Broadway productions of David Hare's "The Blue Room."
Project: The "Harry Potter" star, 19, will reprise his role as a less-than-stable stable boy in a revival of Equus, which was a hit on the "West End" last year. Tony Award winner Richard Griffiths ("The History Boys") also returns as his psychiatrist in the Broadway production, which opens Sept. 25.
• Prospects: Musto thinks Potter's enduring popularity, combined with the "sensationalism of being naked" — Radcliffe's character appears in the buff in one scene — "will be irresistible to fans of a certain age."
Project: Nick's kid bro, 31, and fellow boy-band alum, who made his Broadway debut in Rent a few years back, stepped into Spamalot in June.
• Prospects: "The younger Lachey might not be Sir Ian McKellen," Musto says, but ""Spamalot" has already established itself as not being above teen-idol stunt casting. So having 'the brother of the guy who was married to Ashlee Simpson's sister' won't be that much of a blemish on its rep."
Kristin Scott Thomas
Project: The Royal Court Theatre revival of Chekhov's classic "The Seagull", also a London transfer, earned Scott Thomas, 48, an Olivier Award (the Tonys' British cousin) in 2007. The Broadway cast, who will open on Oct. 1, includes Peter Sarsgaard.
• Prospects: Scott Thomas is "a wonderful actress, and she's already done beautifully in this role," Musto says. "And (the production)'s already been a success and has esteem. It'll be a must-see ticket."
Project: "Entourage's" Ari Gold will play another showbiz insider, producer Bobby Gould, in a revival of "Speed-The-Plow", David Mamet's even more biting portrait of the film industry, opening Oct. 26.
• Prospects: Musto notes that Piven, 43, "did very well" a few years ago in "Fat Pig", an off-Broadway hit penned by Neil LaBute, one of Mamet's most successful successors. "And Ari always seemed written by David Mamet anyway, so this clearly sounds like a comfortable fit."
Project: Law, 35, will tackle drama's great Dane in a new production of Hamlet presented by London's esteemed Donmar Warehouse, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starting performances next May.
• Prospects: Law, who as a newcomer in 1995 earned a Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award in Broadway's Indiscretions, "is a real actor with wonderful stage presence," says Musto. "This will be both a media event and a credible theatrical experience. And there's always an appetite for a new (Hamlet)."
Project: The film idol steps into Tom Cruise's shoes in a new London stage adaptation of the 1988 film "Rain Man", in which a self-absorbed guy played by Cruise takes a cross-country trip with his mentally challenged brother, played by Dustin Hoffman. The show opens Aug. 28.'
•Prospects: Hartnett, 30, is "a dreamy matinee idol, but I don't think this is the project that will prove he's the new Olivier," Musto says. "He brings a little cachet, though — and on a scale of Tom Cruise adaptations, I'd rather see this than "Legend" or "Days of Thunder"."