Philadelphia may be a train ride away from Broadway and across the country from Hollywood, but the city still has more than its share of rising stars. With a thriving film and theater scene, Philly is host to talented individuals both on the stage and in front of the camera. With cooperation from the Philadelphia branch of the Screen Actors Guild and other local sources, this list of the best upcoming local actors is a who’s who of performers to see before their names become national news.

Chris McMullin

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This Philadelphia-born and raised actor got his start in 1998 in a police training video and has been in a number of films since. McMullin complements his day job of 10 years as a real-life cop with appearances in blockbusters such as “Limitless,” “The Happening,” “National Treasure” and “In Her Shoes,” as well as on TV shows like “Hack”, “The Wire” and “Finders Keepers.” A council member of the Screen Actors Guild’s Philadelphia branch, you can frequently find him involved in projects collaborating with other rising actors, writers and directors on the council.


John Wooten

A graduate of Temple University and now the Philadelphia branch’s Screen Actors Guild President, John Wooten has not strayed far from his Philadelphia roots, with appearances in scenes from “Invincible,” “The Happening,” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” He has acted in over 25 feature films and several TV series, many of them filmed in the Philadelphia area. Wooten frequently works with other Screen Actors Guild council members, like local actor Brian Anthony Wilson, whom he just acted alongside in a 2012 Jason Statham movie called “Safe.” In addition to his roles in others’ films, Wooten is recognized as one of a new breed of actors who frequently create their own projects. Keep an eye out for him in local projects as well as in the national news.

(credit: Laura Marie Duncan /

Steve Pacek
Breaking Bread Theatre Co-founder
Arden Theater
40 North 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922-8900

Native Philadelphian Steve Pacek can be found in the Arden Theatre’s current production of “Clybourne Park,” and during springtime, in the Arden’s children’s theatre production of “Robin Hood.” Other than at Arden, Pacek has played roles in shows across Philadelphia, including at the Walnut Street Theater, the Prince Music Theater and as a part of the 11th Hour Theatre Company, a small musical company that he co-founded in 2003. In addition to the acting that got him nominated multiple times for The Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Pacek directs, choreographs, writes and teaches. Look for him in musicals worthy of the Broadway stages he left behind in favor of the Philadelphia theater scene.

Related: A Guide to Broadway Theaters In Philadelphia

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Alex Keiper

Coming off of two 2011 Broadway World Philadelphia Award nominations for a play and a musical, University of Arts graduate Alex Keiper has continued her streak at Philadelphia theaters. During winter, Keiper performed in Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play “Proof” at the Walnut Street Theater, and in spring and summer, she is transitioning to shows with the Arden Theatre Company, The Prince Music Theater and Life Theatre Company. Along with a host of cabaret experiences under her belt, Keiper has some specials skills beyond acting and singing to bring her to the top: her Judy Garland impression and ability to recite all 50 states in one breath.


Krista Apple

Another leading actress in “Proof” at the Walnut Street Theatre this winter, Krista Apple has appeared in plays across Philadelphia since 2007. She won a Barrymore Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for her 2011 work at the Wilma Theater as a part of “In The Next Room,” and has recently graced the stages of the Arden, Cape May Stage, Theatre Exile and PlayPenn. Beyond the stage, Apple has also been in front of the camera with appearances in “Law & Order,” “Soceraphobia” and a web-series called “the_source.” The Philadelphia-based actress aspires to be a travel writer in her spare time, and is currently a writer, editor and teacher when not on stage.

Related: Top Acting Studios in Philadelphia

Lindsay Lewis is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at

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