By Marc Snetiker
Updated May 23, 2014 at 06:00 PM EDT

Every actor has to start somewhere — and when it comes to theater performers, their roots are often similar, right down to the roles they cut their teeth on or the songs they first used at an audition.

Rocky star Andy Karl has roamed the Broadway musical boards for years, from playing the sexy UPS guy in Legally Blonde to Wicked‘s Fiyero and Jersey Boys‘ Tommy DeVito. It’s only natural, then, that Karl becomes the second star in Entertainment Weekly’s Firsts & Worsts series, which charts the early theater stories of some of your favorite stage actors. (Lady Day‘s Audra McDonald kicked things off last week.)

In his new, Tony-nominated gig as the fighting underdog in Broadway’s technically astounding musical Rocky, Karl has accumulated a handful of tales from the stage — including his first run-in with Sylvester Stallone, and an incident with a fan who had a mouthful to say to the singing-and-swinging boxer.