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Why Hollywood stars turn to theater

Stars of the silver screen graced the red carpet of the 68th annual Tony Awards last week, but they weren't there to support their theatrical compatriots -- many were nominees themselves.

Bryan Cranston, star of the TV hit "Breaking Bad," even won best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play for his portrayal of former President Lyndon B. Johnson in "All the Way." Although "All the Way" marked his Broadway debut, Cranston actually got his start on the live stage, doing local and regional theater following college.

"There's nothing else like working onstage because you can feel the audience, moment to moment, and it affects your performance," he told CBS News.

The power of live theater came up again and again among the TV and movie stars walking the red carpet.

Hugh Jackman, known as Wolverine in the "X-Men" series, hosted the Tony Awards this year and has had a few turns on Broadway himself -- in "The Boy From Oz" and "A Steady Rain." While he enjoys acting in films, Jackman says theater is extra special: "I love films as well, I've been very blessed. But most actors at some point -- they owe everything to the stage, and I love it."

Movies pay well, but when the cameras stop rolling, many actors return to the stage.

Brian J. Smith, an actor who's appeared in such TV shows as "Defiance" and "Person of Interest," calls theater a "high-wire act."

This year, he was nominated for a Tony for his role in "The Glass Menagerie." "Working in the theater is, is where you grow," he said. "It's where you get challenged the most, you find out the most about yourself. It's a safe laboratory to fail and succeed."

Dule Hill, meanwhile, has taken on challenging TV roles such as a presidential aide on "The West Wing." But he says theater is harder: "When the curtain goes up you have to do it, the real art is there's no cuts, theres no retakes the only retake is tomorrow and that's actually a new take."

And theater can open new doors, as it did for James Iglehart, a 1970s movie star who just won a Tony Award for best feature actor in a musical in the Broadway production of "Aladdin."

"Theater is breaking down the barriers and showing film, 'Listen, let's go back to the history books and start doing things the way it was, not the way we think it is,'" he said.

Following the 2014 Tony Awards, Broadway has experienced an uptick in revenue. "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" had its best week ever at the box office after scoring the Tony Award for best musical of the year.

After the Tonys, "All the Way," which took home best play, took in $288,909 more than the previous week.

"I think it will always be a part of my life," Cranston said about theater. "I've so enjoyed this experience coming to Broadway and doing a really well written play like 'All the Way.'"

All the way from Hollywood, back to Broadway.

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