5 'Orange is the New Black' Stars Who Got Their Start in Theater


Netflix's newest original series, Orange is the New Black stars an eclectic group of actors posing as a clique of prison inmates and employees. These rising stars have something in common: their experience in theater acting.

1. Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman

Taylor Schilling, known to viewers as Piper Chapman, got her first taste of acting during her middle school years, when her school put on a production of Fiddler on the Roof, an all-time American classic. She continued perform on stage during her college years at Fordham University and New York University. After receiving her bachelor's degree in acting, Schilling debuted in her first movie, Dark Matter.

2. Laura Prepon as Alex Vause

Laura Prepon plays the former lesbian lover of Piper Chapman. After graduating from high school in New Jersey, Prepon studied with Caroline Thomas at the Total Theater Lab in New York City, and acted in plays including A Woman of Property and Ascension Day. She made her Hollywood break with her most famous role, that of Donna Pinciotti in That '70s Show. 

3. Michael Harney as Sam Healy

Legendary actor Michael Harney directed and acted in over 80 plays (including Broadway's On the Waterfront) before landing his role as detective Mike Roberts on NYPD Blue. During his youth, Harney studied with celebrated acting teachers William Esper and Phil Gushee, both of whom are associated with teaching phenomenon Sanford Meisner and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. Harney went on to run his own studio, the Michael Harney Acting Studio, for eight years. 

4. Natasha Lyonne as Nicky Nichols

Natasha Lyonne was born to act. As a young child, she was a Ford model, and at the age of six, she appeared on Pee-wee's Playhouse. She went on to star in almost 30 films in just 10 years. In 2008, Lyonne finally found time to make her stage debut in New York City, when she starred in Mike Leigh's Two Thousand Years. Fittingly, Lyonne's most recent stage appearance was for a benefit performance of Women Behind Bars.

5. Pablo Schreiber as George "Pornstache" Mendez

Although he's best known as The Wire's Nick SobotkaPablo Schreiber is an impressive actor who has played a wide variety of roles on stage and screen (it turns out that George "Pornstache" Mendez once played Julius Caesar at the New York Shakespeare Festival). Schreiber started as a theater actor in New York City. In 2006, he made his Broadway debut with Awake and Sing!, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. Schreiber has continued to perform in an array of Broadway and off-Broadway shows, and won a Drama Desk Award for his role in Reasons to be Pretty.