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The Cast of Pitch Perfect and Their Bitchin’ Stage Roots

Pitch Perfect is just that. It’s quotable and laugh-out-loud funny. It has winning musical numbers and a cast that hits all the right notes, both literally and figuratively. Of course we’re going to aca-love any movie that has an a cappella version of “Party in the U.S.A.” The movie is in select theaters now, widely released this Friday. And wouldn’t you know it – it’s filled with actors we’ve seen on stage before.

Anna Kendrick (Beca)

Where You’ve Seen Her On Stage Before: 1998’s High Society, in which a 12-year old Anna Kendrick was the only good thing about that show. It was her first major acting role, and it earned her a Tony nomination for Featured Actress in a Musical. Not only was that one of two Tony nominations High Society got that year, it also made her the second youngest Tony nominee ever. She was also in The New York City Opera’s 2003 production of A Little Night Music.

Where You’ve Seen Her On Screen Before: Let’s see… Rocket Science, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Company You Keep, End of Watch, 50/50… Oh, or the Twilight films, where Kendrick plays Jessica Stanley. There’s also that little film called Up in the Air, which earned Kendrick a 2009 Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. But the true theater kids out there remember Kendrick from her scene-stealing turn as Fritzi Wagner in 2003’s Camp. Tell us – has anyone ever done a better “Ladies Who Lunch” since? We think not.

Why We Love Her: She’s smart, she’s beautiful, she’s talented, and she’s almost always chosen smart, interesting work (we’re going to overlook What to Expect When You’re Expecting and, well, all the Twilight movies). Line her up with her contemporaries and you’d be hard pressed to find a more dynamic actress.

Our Favorite Clip of Her: We’re giving you two – not just because Kendrick is the star of Pitch Perfect, but also because we can’t pick a favorite. Here’s a 12-year-old Kendrick, in her High Society character, doing “Life Upon the Wicked Stage” with the Kit Kat Girls from Cabaret at a benefit…

…and Kendrick’s “Ladies Who Lunch” from Camp. Because duh.


Skylar Astin (Jesse)

Where You’ve Seen Him On Stage Before: Spring Awakening introduced us to Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff, and John Gallagher, Jr. Now you can add Skylar Astin to the list of Spring Awakening actors who aren’t just ours anymore. He played Georg. You remember, the one obsessed with his piano teacher and her breasts? L.A. people, you might have seen him as Mark Cohen in the Neil Patrick Harris-directed Rent at the Hollywood Bowl opposite Aaron Tveit.

Where You’ve Seen Him On Screen Before: Astin has some film credits, including Hamlet 2 with fellow Spring Awakening alum Phoebe Strole. He was also in his underwear in Girls. Sadly, none of those roles gained him a mainstream following. We’re guessing that’s going to change now that he’s the romantic lead.

Why We Love Him: He can sing, he can dance, he’s damn cute, and he’ll always be the guy with the funny hair in Spring Awakening to us.

Our Favorite Clip of Him: Here’s a throwback for you. The cast of Spring Awakening, featuring Skylar, singing “Touch Me” on The View in February 2007. Look at how young they all are!


Anna Camp (Aubrey)

Where You’ve Seen Her On Stage Before: Remember when Camp played Jill Mason in Equus opposite Harry Potter? Yeah, we didn’t either until we looked it up, but she was the naked person in that show who wasn’t Daniel Radcliffe. (What can we say? Our eyes weren’t really focused on her.) Before that, Camp was on Broadway in The Country Girl with Morgan Freeman, Peter Gallagher, and Frances McDormand. More recently, she was the bright spot in that awful Zach Braff-penned play All New People. She was hilarious, but man, that show sucked.

Where You’ve Seen Her On Screen Before: Everywhere. On film, she played Jolene French in The Help. On TV, she’s had memorable guest arcs on almost every awesome show out there. True Blood, Mad Men, The Office, Glee, Covert Affairs, The Good Wife, etc. Currently, you can catch her as a regular on Fox’s The Mindy Project.

Why We Love Her: Camp may look like a real life Barbie doll, but she brings a level of sophistication and intelligence to all her roles that makes her beauty all that more interesting. And damn if she’s completely different in each one of them, too! Simply put, she’s an actress that demands your attention.

Out Favorite Clip of Her: Nothing out there of her stage work, so let’s just watch this clip of her hot appearance on True Blood. Neither of us sleep with women and even we’d hit that.


John Benjamin Hickey (Dr. Mitchell)

Where You’ve Seen Him On Stage Before: Most recently? As Felix Turner in 2011’s The Normal Heart, which won Hickey a Tony Award for Featured Actor in a Play. But Hickey’s had a slew of other roles. 2009’s Mary Stewart (Earl of Leicester). 2002’s The Crucible (Reverend John Hale). 1998’s Cabaret (Clifford Bradshway). He even originated the role of Arthur Pape in 1995’s Love! Valor! Compassion!

Where You’ve Seen Him On Screen Before: A billion small parts in big things (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Taking of Pelham 123, Flags of Our Fathers, Flightplan, The Ice Storm, etc). Most notable starring roles including the film version of Love! Valor! Compassion!, a recurring guest gig on Law & Order and The Good Wife, and a supporting role on The Big C (he plays Sean, Laura Linney’s character’s brother).

Why We Love Him: Because we can still remember every second of his passionate, brilliant performance in The Normal Heart. He’s also got that sexy smart nerd thing going for him, which we can’t get enough of. Plus, he’s an openly gay actor working in Hollywood who’s not typecast out of the straight roles. And fun fact: he may be in a longtime relationship with Modern Family scribe Jeffrey Richman, but did you know he used to date Bravo’s Andy Cohen? That’s kind of hot, no?

Our Favorite Clip of Him: Sometimes we watch John Benjamin Hickey’s Tony win and acceptance speech and tear up. Just listen to the way Viola Davis says his name and try not to do the same thing.


John Michael Higgins (John)

Where You’ve Seen Him On Stage Before: Higgins may only have one Broadway credit (2001’s La Bête), but he’s had a few off-Broadway parts, including Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice (at the Second State Theatre) and Paul Rudnick’s Jeffrey way back in 1994.

Where You’ve Seen Him On Screen Before: He’s part of that Christopher Guest crew, so changes are you’ve seen him in those films (Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration). He’s also been in 100 other comedies, including Yes Man, We Bought a Zoo, Fed Claus, Evan Almighty, etc. You may have also caught him on his TV Land sitcom Happily Divorced (the one with Fran Dresher), or on NBC’s short-lived version of Kath & Kim. But true Higgins fans will remember back to 1996, when he played David Letterman in HBO’s The Late Shift. Ridiculous.

Why We Love Him: Because he’s hysterical, duh.

Our Favorite Clip of Him: Too many to choose from, but we’ll go with this scene from Walk Hard because you probably haven’t seen it before. Plus, his dancing at 2:50 is outstanding.


Utkarsh Ambudkar (Donald)

Where You’ve Seen Him On Stage Before: Since Animals Out of Paper was at Second Stage Uptown, you might have missed it, but if you did see it, Utkarsh Ambudkar probably won your heart. It also starred another Craptacular favorite Jeremy Shamos and was written by Rajiv Joseph. You can actually see UTK on stage right now at Second Stage, where he’s starring in Jon Kern’s Modern Terrorism through November 4.

Where You’ve Seen Him On Screen Before: He’s done some TV and film work, including Rocket Science with Anna Kendrick and Spinning Into Butter with Sarah Jessica Parker.

Why We Love Him: He’s totally engrossing to watch on stage. He can do comedy and drama. And he’s adorable.

Our Favorite Clip of Him: UTK is also a member of the improv hip-hop troupe Freestyle Love Supreme with other people you’ve probably heard of, including Lin-Manuel Miranda. Check out UTK with FLS at Broadway in Bryant Park.


David Del Rio (Kolio)

Where You’ve Seen Him On Stage Before: If you caught In The Heights back in 2010 (that’s the Corbin Bleu era), chances are you saw David Del Rio as Sonny.

Where You’ve Seen Him On Screen Before: We missed this, but apparently he starred as Felix in the Nickelodeon series The Troop. You probably missed it too – The Troop only had one season.

Why We Love Him: We don’t know much about him yet, but he’s pretty darn cute. And whatever, we’re suckers for guys named David.

Our Favorite Clip of Him: Check out Del Rio and the cast of In the Heights on The Wendy Williams Show.


Freddie Stroma (Luke):

Where You’ve Seen Him On Stage Before: Probably nowhere. He studied at the National Youth Theater, so we’re going to assume he did some theater in the UK. But we’ll just take this opportunity to ask some producer to bring him and his abs to the New York stage.

Where You’ve Seen Him On Screen Before: He was the best part of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as Hermione’s love interest Cormac McLaggen. He also appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and starred in A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song.

Why We Love Him: His abs. His pretty face. He also has a neuroscience degree, so he’s smart and sexy.

Our Favorite Clip of Him: Skip to 0:32 in this scene from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for the single greatest moment in any Harry Potter movie.

That’s a lot, huh? Any we missed?

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • kay December 31, 2012, 3:36 pm

    skylar is so cute i love him he is totally my future husband you know when i am 25

  • Anna January 22, 2013, 3:59 pm

    Is skylar gay? He’s so cute so I hope he isn’t..that way he can be mine!;) jk but is he?

    • Jenn January 26, 2013, 7:03 am

      Nope, he isn’t (:

  • LA Theater Critic February 19, 2013, 5:23 pm

    Oh, that’s why it’s such a great movie! It has legit (theater) actors.

  • Elizabeth Smith March 15, 2013, 9:03 pm

    What about Chloe??!!

  • Silly Funny June 4, 2013, 12:31 pm

    Love this movie! Everyone does such a great job in it.

  • ruby September 2, 2014, 7:14 pm

    I love utkarsh ambudkar he’s cute.. and I just liked him immediately I saw him.. he’s UNIQUE… and Anna I think the part suits her… she was all dark and spooky… she nailed it… love you utkarsh (Donald)

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