The casting of celebrities in major roles on Broadway is a common practice, incentivized
by the large box office draw of film stars. This paper explores how fixed conceptions of good
acting and markers of cultural prestige play into the criticism that celebrity-actors receive.
Looking closely at Daniel Radcliffe’s 2008 performance in Equus, Sir Ian McKellen’s 2013
performance in Waiting for Godot and Marina Abramović’s 2010 performance The Artist is
Present, this paper details how fan-celebrity encounters exist alongside or within performances,
as well as how these celebrities are written about differently by critics. The celebrity’s attempt to
represent a character within a play is complicated by their status as an easily recognizable sign
for either themselves or another character. It is far easier for the celebrity-actor to become part
of the world of the play than the celebrity-character. Ultimately, this paper asks how fancelebrity
encounters can be harnessed as an artistic choice to enhance a performance instead of
being negated and pushed to the periphery as a pre- or post-theatre experience.