Julianne Moore, Christine Ebersole, and Martin McDonagh are just some of the people who made this year's list

By EW Staff
Updated June 23, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

JULIANNE MOORE
MUST FIRST-TIMER

AGE 45
WHY HER The four-time Oscar nominee, who started her career on the New York stage (most notably at the Public Theater, where Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline had become local gods), finally makes her Broadway debut in November in Sam Mendes’ production of the new David Hare play The Vertical Hour. And don’t think she didn’t notice those scathing Julia Roberts reviews. ”You can work a smaller venue and it’ll be a lower-profile kind of thing,” she says. ”When you open a Broadway show, it’s everywhere. So it’s pretty terrifying.”
SCHOOLYARD SALE ”Initially they were planning on doing this play this spring in a smaller venue, and I couldn’t do it. I was deeply disappointed and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Sam and I both have kids at the same nursery school and he cornered me there. He was literally standing outside and was like, ‘Julie, may I talk to you? If you can commit to Broadway right now, we can move the play.’ And I was like, ‘ What? Okay!”’
CAREER HIGHLIGHT ”Far From Heaven. As an experience, it has not been matched, just in terms of the absolute pleasure I took every way in being there. And also as a final product, I was incredibly proud of it.”
WORST JOB ”Checking IDs at the local pool in Virginia. All the beautiful girls would come by in their bikinis, and I was this skinny, freckly girl in shorts. It was humiliating.”
BEST THEATER PERFORMANCES SHE’S EVER WITNESSED ”John Malkovich in Burn This and Mary-Louise Parker in Prelude to a Kiss.”
NEXT In the can are the romantic comedy Trust the Man, directed by her husband, Bart Freundlich (Aug. 18), and the futuristic thriller Children of Men with Clive Owen (Sept. 29). She’s just wrapped the Nicolas Cage action flick Next and is about to start Savage Grace, about the scandalous ”Baekeland murder” of 1972.

CHRISTINE EBERSOLE
Must ‘Grey’ Lady

AGE 53
WHY HER Ebersole’s sensational turns as ”Big” Edie and ”Little” Edie Beale in Off Broadway’s Grey Gardens — based on the 1975 doc about an eccentric mother and daughter — garnered sold-out houses, rave reviews (The New York Times called her performance ”one of the most gorgeous to ever grace a musical”), and a Broadway run this fall.
AGE AGAINST THE MACHINE The SNL alum (class of ’81- 82, with Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo) and TV vet (Rachel Gunn, R.N., anyone?) began to get some sobering news from Hollywood types seven years ago. ”I was ‘over-the-hill,”’ recalls Ebersole. ”But I still believed I had something to contribute.” So the onetime stage star (she was Guenevere to Richard Burton’s Arthur in Camelot) rediscovered her theatrical roots and won a 2001 Tony for 42nd Street — in which she played (irony alert!) an over-the-hill actress.
ANIMAL HOUSE Ebersole lives in Maplewood, N.J., with her husband Bill Moloney, three children (Elijah, 12, Mae-Mae, 9, and Aron, 9), three cats, four guinea pigs, two gerbils, one fish, and three rescued dogs, including Spot Bouvier Beale Moloney. ”I get presents from people living on the other side of the veil.” What now? ”This animal had a name — Spot. And [the Beales] had one dog…named Spot. I think they sent him to me.”
NEXT Grey Gardens moves into the Walter Kerr Theatre Oct. 3.

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