‘Stranger Things’ actors on Broadway and in the West End
With an adorable yet formidable young cast, sci-fi thrills, and plenty of ’80s nostalgia, Stranger Things turned the streaming world upside down in 2017 and hasn’t stopped since. The show sees a group of young friends uncover supernatural mysteries — including a whole alternate dimension called the Upside Down — in their small town of Hawkins, Indiana. The first half of its fourth season premieres on Netflix on May 27, with the other half coming out July 1.
But that’s not the only way this bitchin’ TV show is taking the world by storm in 2022. This summer, Stranger Things cast members return to their theatre roots by appearing in shows on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean: Gaten Matarazzo in Dear Evan Hansen in New York and David Harbour in Mad House in London. But they’re not the only Stranger Things actors with stage experience.
To celebrate the Stranger Things season 4 release and the actors’ returns to the stage, we rounded up all the Broadway credits of the show’s stars. Check them out and then get your tickets, or else you’re a mouthbreather!
Gaten Matarazzo’s Broadway history isn’t quite a never-ending story (yet), but he’s a theatre kid through and through. Matarazzo made his Broadway debut in 2011, when he was only 8 years old, as Benji in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. He followed it up by playing Gavroche (pictured) and Petit Gervais in the 2014 revival of Les Misérables, a role he reprised on the show’s 25th anniversary North American tour.
He’s been away from Broadway for a while — granted, he’s been busy starring as Dustin, one of the four main boys on Stranger Things, since 2017 — but not for forever. He hopped to the West Coast in 2019 to play Jack in Into the Woods at the Hollywood Bowl, and eight years since his last Broadway appearance, Matarazzo is set to play Jared Kleinman in Dear Evan Hansen beginning July 19, 2022.
Tons of new audiences were introduced to David Harbour when he joined Stranger Things as the tough yet fatherly police chief Jim Hopper. But theatre fans know he was an reliable Broadway staple for more than 10 years. He appeared in eight shows between 1999 and 2013, including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as Nick (earning a 2005 Tony nomination), The Merchant of Venice as Bassanio, and most recently, Glengarry Glen Ross as John Williamson. Imagine if he had played Baylen, the police detective, in that play instead — what foreshadowing that would have been!
Across the pond, Harbour will star in the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s latest play, Mad House, at the Ambassadors Theatre in London from June 2022.
He just can’t wait to be king — of our TV screens! Before joining the Stranger Things cast as Lucas Sinclair, another one of the core four friends of the series, Caleb McLaughlin appeared in one Broadway show: The Lion King, as Young Simba in 2012. We theatre fans are filled with pride at how far he’s come!
Can you guess what this redheaded actress’s Broadway-debut show was? If you guessed Annie, you’re right — she was the understudy for the title orphan (and a bunch of the other orphans) in the 2013 revival and later alternated the role full-time with another young actress. A couple years later, in 2015, she played Young Elizabeth in the play The Audience, but she hasn’t been on Broadway since then. That’s probably because she’s been busy in the Upside Down, starring as Max Mayfield on Stranger Things since season 2.
Will Chase appeared in seasons 2 and 3 of Stranger Things as Neil Hargrove, the abusive father of Billy Hargrove and stepfather Max Mayfield. His Stranger Things role is a far cry from his Broadway resume, which includes a list of imperfect but charming leading men: Roger in Rent, Shakespeare in Something Rotten! (pictured), Fred Graham/Petruchio in Kiss Me, Kate, Chris in Miss Saigon, and Radames in Aida. And that’s not even half his stage credits! Chase also appeared in the Broadway-centric TV show Smash as Debra Messing‘s old flame.
You may recognise Matthew Modine as Dr. Martin Brenner, the government official who regularly tested on Eleven and accidentally opened a new dimension. Brenner’s Stranger Things fate is currently unknown, so there may be more evil on our way. Thankfully, Modine’s Broadway career isn’t anywhere near as evil. He starred in the 2010 revival of The Miracle Worker at the Circle in the Square Theatre alongside Alison Pill and Abigail Breslin.
Jamie Campbell Bower
Campbell Bower joins the Stranger Things ensemble in season 4 as Peter Ballard. Not much is known about his character just yet, but we’re expecting big things after his West End turn in Bend It Like Beckham.
Winona Ryder (in spirit)
Winona Ryder herself hasn’t actually performed on Broadway, but the stage is still her candy store anyway. With Beetlejuice currently on Broadway and Heathers currently in London’s West End, she’s represented in spirit on both sides of the pond by the musical adaptations of two of her breakout hit films. No matter who’s playing Lydia or Veronica on stage, we can’t help but think of how Ryder made icons of both those roles in the ’80s.
Maybe once she’s done playing Nancy Byers on Stranger Things, she’ll come to Broadway. Her repertoire would make her a great fit for Elizabeth in Girl From the North Country or one of the Dear Evan Hansen moms — but Nancy’s a mom who’s already gone through enough, so Ryder deserves something wacky and fun, like Sarah Jessica Parker in Plaza Suite. She’d be a fantastic Jean in POTUS someday.