You loved our photo flashback of the stage vets of True Blood, so we decided to raid the theater archives again to spotlight the stars of TV’s hottest drama, Mad Men. Nominated for 17 Emmy Awards, the show is enjoying a sizzling fourth season as impossibly handsome ad exec Don Draper copes (badly) with his newly single status and hustles for clients at his new agency, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. All four of those dapper dudes are part of our photo feature, so mix a martini, scroll down and enjoy!
We couldn’t unearth the photo we really wanted, of Jon Hamm and his longtime sweetheart Jennifer Westfeldt in her 1997 off-Broadway comedy Lipschtick. So we went even further back, when Hamm was a star of the theater department at the University of Missouri. The lovely folks at MU sent us a treasure trove: Hamm as Cliff in Cabaret, as peddler Rutherford Selig in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and a 1993 cast shot of Sondheim’s Assassins (above), in which the future Don Draper played Leon Czolgosz, who shot and killed William McKinley. Note the enigmatic smile that Draper devotees know so well…Jon, Broadway awaits!
He steals every scene as Mad Men’s silver fox ad man Roger Sterling, and John Slattery’s throwaway charm was honed on the stage. His Broadway roles have ranged from Neil Simon (1993’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor) to Harold Pinter (the 2000 revival of Betrayal) to David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole in 2006. But our favorite Slattery stage performance was in the 1997 off-Broadway premiere of Richard Greenberg’s Three Days of Rain (above, with Bradley Whitford), in which he was heartbreaking in the dual roles of a stuttering, remote architect and the character’s emotionally damaged son.
If senior partner Bertram Cooper had gone to the theater with a client during the second season of Mad Men, he’d probably have chosen the hit musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The show starred impish comic actor Robert Morse (above, with Bonnie Scott), who won a 1962 Tony Award as J. Pierrepont Finch—went on to play Bert Cooper almost 50 years later. Morse, who made his Broadway debut in 1955 in The Matchmaker, amassed three other Tony nominations (for Say, Darling; Take Me Along; and Sugar, the musical version of Some Like It Hot). He won a second Best Actor Tony for his tour-de-force performance as Truman Capote in the 1990 solo show Tru.
A second generation stage star (he’s the lookalike son of Richard Harris), Jared Harris has settled into Mad Men as Lane Pryce, the agency’s priggish but oddly sympathetic bean counter. His British accent is, of course, impeccable, but Harris is a Duke graduate who spent much of the 1990s working off-Broadway, including an Obie-winning ensemble performance in Mike Leigh’s Ecstasy and two juicy Shakespearean roles at the Public Theater, Hotspur in Henry IV and Edmund in F. Murray Abraham’s 1996 King Lear (above, with Rob Campbell). In a recent interview, Harris expressed regret at never co-starring with his famous father in their dream stage project, Long Day’s Journey Into Night.
Former child actress Elisabeth Moss has appeared onstage in New York twice, both times in roles that eerily echo her whip-smart Mad Men character, copywriter Peggy Olson. At 19, Moss played an innocent teen who dreams of living in Greenwich Village in Richard Nelson’s coming-of-age drama Franny’s Way (above, with Jesse Pennington). Six years later, with Mad Men already a hit, Moss tackled the notoriously difficult role of Karen, the office temp who upends the career of a movie studio exec in the 2008 Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow. (Fun fact: Peggy’s new pal, Life photo editor Joyce, is played by Mamet’s daughter Zosia.)
Honey, honey! When we see buttoned-down account exec Ken Cosgrove (who didn’t join Don’s new agency but is back on the scene sniffing around for work and engaged to a rich girl), we can’t help humming an ABBA tune. We remember Aaron Staton as groom to-be Sky in the megahit Broadway musical Mamma Mia! (above, with Sara Kramer). Off-Broadway, the Carnegie-Mellon drama grad starred in Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2006 production of The American Pilot as the mysterious title character, who falls from the sky on foreign soil during an unnamed civil war and faces the possibility of torture.
We know, we know: Brylcreemed art director Salvatore Romano got the boot (unfairly!) from Sterling Cooper last season. But we couldn’t possibly do a Mad Men salute without including Bryan Batt, whose Broadway career began almost 25 years ago in the skating extravaganza Starlight Express (above). Who else has acted in Cats, then given a smashing comedic performance poking fun at Cats (in Paul Rudnick's hit play and movie Jeffrey)? These days, Batt keeps busy as a New Orleans shopkeeper and decorator, but we’re hoping to see this super-versatile actor on stage in New York soon—and back on Mad Men, too!