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Broadway stars

Big name actors and actresses on Broadway isn’t something new, necessarily; Humphrey Bogart, Liza Minnelli, and Nathan Lane are just a few well-known stars who’ve starred in a Broadway show (or many) and still maintained Hollywood celebrity status.

But this year feels extra star-studded. There’s something kind of exciting about seeing your favorite celebrities take on the stage. For one thing, they’re right there instead of on a television or movie screen. For another, live acting has its challenges, and people always wonder how stars will fare.

Check out some of the Hollywood stars we’re excited to see on Broadway in 2013.

Tom Hanks

About the actor: Show me a person who doesn’t like Tom Hanks, and I’ll show you a liar. It’s not enough that he’s been in some of the most classic romantic comedies of all time, like "You’ve Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," he’s also been in movies like "Big," "Forrest Gump," "Saving Private Ryan," "The Green Mile," and "Cast Away." That’s right — Tom Hanks made us feel for a beaten up volleyball because he’s that good. Oh, and, he was also Woody in the "Toy Story" franchise. No big deal.

Broadway Show: Lucky Guy

Synopsis: It's a Nora Ephron play, so it'll probably be good. Tom Hanks plays real-life journalist Mike McAlary, who worked for the New York Daily News police beat. His involvement with police work didn't stop there, as he went on to write a book, contribute to a movie script, and even won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for his coverage of police brutalization. The show documents McAlary's life up through his untimely death in 1998.

Justin Timberlake music

Based on the Tennessee Williams Pulitzer Prize winning play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens Jan. 17, following nearly a month of previews. The star? Scarlett Johansson.

It’s not her first time venturing onstage, as her role in the 2010 revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge garnered Johansson some of her best acting reviews to date. She's also been in a number of films, including her role as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff in "Iron Man 2" and "The Avengers," a character she’s slated to revive in several other Marvel films. Just a day in the life, I guess.

In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Johansson plays Maggie — the gorgeous heroine, a hard woman, who’s seductive and calculating. Sound familiar? Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow, is famously beautiful, smart, heroic, and often uses her deliriously good looks to get what she wants.

So if Maggie the Cat is a suitable, even appropriate, role for Black Widow, what about the other Avengers? What would they play if they starred on Broadway?

The Hulk

Obviously The Hulk would star in Shrek. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Aside from that whole green-skin thing, the two are enormous, have thick eyebrows, huge hands, and wear weird pants (Shrek dons some sort of tights/leggings hybrid, while The Hulk rocks some cut-off purple pants he probably brought for an absurd amount of money at Hollister or Abercrombie & Fitch). Sure, Hulk couldn't actually deliver any of Shrek’s lines, but he’d definitely capture that whole menacing-and-angry aura. For the sappy parts, The Hulk could just gaze off into the distance or possibly transform into Bruce Banner. It could work. Other options for The Hulk include Jekyll and Hyde, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Stomp, or maybe even Wicked (green and misunderstood, anyone?). I see a very lucrative Broadway career in Hulk’s future.