Helen Hunt, Scott Wolf and other TV stars take to the stage

Other TV stars looking for a summer job take note: Feature films aren’t the only alternative. There’s also the theater. “You get to start and finish something when you do a play,” says Ally McBeal‘s Greg Germann, who just finished a run in Manhattan’s Ensemble Studio’s annual marathon of one-act plays (another prime-timer recently on stage in New York: Frasier‘s Peri Gilpin, who starred in the Off Broadway hit As Bees in Honey Drown). “It’s like taking a deep breath and exhaling,” adds Germann, “as opposed to little short breaths.” Some other celebs waiting to exhale:

Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock From the Sun) costars with ex-Roseanne man John Goodman in Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth (at New York’s Delacorte Theater June 12-July 12). The thoughtful farce about a family’s ongoing battle with catastrophes “has all the big issues,” says Johnston, “floods, the Ice Age, locusts.” As for Goodman, the best part about being back on stage after several years away is “flexing your fear muscles,” he says. “It’s good to get the s— scared out of you every few years.”

Party of Five‘s Scott Wolf will take a stab at theater in a play called Far East, in the far reaches of Massachusetts at the Adams Memorial Theatre in Williamstown (July 15-26). On stage “you get a chance to really work,” the novice thesp says of hitting the boards. “On a film, you never get the feeling that it’s a fluid process.”

Caroline in the City‘s Malcolm Gets plays a surgery-bound songwriter who reevaluates his life in A New Brain, which opens at New York’s Lincoln Center June 18 and is codirected by theater vet James Lapine.

Mad About You‘s Helen Hunt, in her first major role since winning the Oscar, plays Viola in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, beginning June 19, also at Lincoln Center. The gender-confusion comedy costars Kyra Sedgwick as Olivia and Paul Rudd as Orsino. The production reteams Rudd with his Object of My Affection director, Nicholas Hytner. “It’s like a companion piece to Affection,” says the actor, because, like that film, all the characters “want somebody they can’t have.”